There’s a lot of confusion in societies around the world when it comes to the word love and its meaning. Probably everyone has their own idea about what love is, and as I’ll show below, most people simply confuse lust with love. This makes it very difficult to have a consistent discussion when it comes to topics concerning love. I often write about love and related topics, and in order to keep a level of consistency in my posts on this subject, I want to establish my definitions for love and lust based on my personal research so far.
Love is the desire for wellbeing
When you love something or someone, what that essentially means is that you desire for them to be in a state of wellbeing. And the strength of this desire depends on the strength of the relationship that you have with them. For example, you might have a desire for the wellbeing of a fellow human being, but this desire can feel much stronger when it’s about someone that you have a much closer relationship with, such as a friend or family member.
Now if we go a little deeper, when it comes to loving an individual the desire for their wellbeing eventually translates to respecting their right to life — a right that every individual is born with and that is automatically granted by nature. The mere fact that an individual is alive gives them the desire and the right to live their lives.
But what does respecting the right to life of an individual really mean? Although it sounds so simple, it does have very far reaching implications. I’ll discuss a few examples below.
When you respect an individual’s right to life, then this automatically means that you acknowledge and respect their basic needs as a human being. 1 This is because an individual can only live a comfortable, healthy and happy life if they can satisfy those basic needs. Understanding this, you realize that you cannot interfere in any way with an individual’s desire to satisfy their basic needs. This means respecting their freedom in the broadest sense of the word — including their autonomy, free will, freedom of expression and freedom of disposition — so that they are free to satisfy their needs and live their life in a state of wellbeing. 2 In other words, it means respecting their sovereignty. Imposing any kind of restrictions on an individual’s freedom would mean interfering with their right to life, and that would be inconsistent with loving them.
So if you truly love someone, you will never restrict them from being free and independent, even when it means the freedom for them to intimately spend time with other people; on the contrary you will allow them to be free human beings who’re able to give and receive love from as many people as they like. In fact, not only will you not interfere with, or restrict, their freedom in any way, but if you truly love them, you will even help them to stay free and independent whenever possible.
Furthermore, when you respect an individual’s right to life, this also includes being honest to them, because feeding deceptive information to them will most certainly have a negative impact on their life, will introduce difficulties in their life and may even put their life in danger in extreme cases. So if you truly love someone, you simply won’t lie to them or mislead them in any way.
Respecting an individual’s right to life also means valuing their time. We all have a limited amount of time to live our lives. When someone decides to spend time with you, they are giving you a part of their life that they can never get back. So if you respect their right to life, you’ll be very careful not to waste their time (which is essentially wasting their life). This translates to things like being on time on your appointments, being honest, direct and upfront with people in order to efficiently use their time, etc.
Many people today profess to love others, but really have no idea what true love actually entails. Just look around you at the romantic relationships that we have in societies today. All the people involved in those relationships would probably claim to love their partner, and yet, almost all of them restrict their partner’s freedom in many ways. Instead of letting their partner stay a free and independent individual, people try to control and own their partner and make them dependent, while even getting jealous if their partner has the desire to (intimately) spend time with others, or is loved by others. On top of that, many lie to their partner on a regular basis and are unfaithful.
And then you have those who claim to love their fellow human beings, but are strongly interfering with their right to life on a daily basis. For example, the rich are hoarding resources like money, land and food, and are consequently denying a large portion of the global population the satisfaction of their basic needs. Indeed many are even being robbed on a daily basis by the very people who claim to love them. The fact is that if you truly love your fellow human beings, you’ll never want to get rich; you’ll understand that you can only get rich by denying others their wellbeing, which means that you can only get rich by not loving others.
Lust is the desire for new experiences
Learning is one of our basic needs as human beings and is necessary for us to be able to grow and evolve. And we can only learn by experience; like Albert Einstein said, “the only source of knowledge is experience.” As I’ve mentioned in the past, from the moment we’re born, we’re filled with curiosity and want to explore the world and learn. Children want to touch and taste everything in their environment. They can desperately want and play with one toy for a week, but then get bored and look for a new one. Adults are grown up children. So even as adults we remain curious and continue to seek new experiences all the time.
This desire for new experiences in order to learn and grow is really what lust is. The problem that we have in societies around the world these days is that most people confuse lust with love. For example, contrary to what society teaches us, the feeling of “being in love” has nothing to do with love; it’s just the strong desire to spend time with a person in order to experience them, most often intimately but also intellectually or otherwise. The feeling of “being in love” is really just “being in lust.” And lust isn’t just limited to the desire to experience a person; as I’m sure you know, apart from people we can also lust after food, clothes, gadgets and other things in life that we would really like to experience.
But once we’ve experienced everything there is to experience in a given situation we want to move on to new experiences. Just like I mentioned earlier, a child can desperately want and play with a specific toy for a week, but once they have experienced all there is to experience with it, they get bored and start looking for new things to experience. The desire to continue to have new experiences, to learn from them and to evolve, is fundamentally programmed into the basic firmware of life that drives us.
Imagine how boring life would quickly become if we could only have a very limited amount of things we could experience. This, for example, includes being limited to a single partner in traditional relationships based on exclusivity. It may be hard to accept for most people, but yes, we do get bored if we spend too much time with a single person. Even if this person is the kindest, sexiest, most wonderful person on the planet, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll get bored — especially if you’re stuck with them in an exclusive relationship and (have to) spend lots of time with them day in and day out. This is because after a certain amount of time, you’ve basically experienced all there is to experience with a single person and it simply starts to get old and boring; eventually there’s nothing left to be curious about anymore; there’s nothing new left to experience. Marriage and exclusive relationships prevent people from being able to have a variety of (intimate) experiences in their lives, and eventually things get boring and this becomes the cause of a lot of problems as discussed in another post.
Based on the above definitions of love and lust, it’s clear that lust is something that doesn’t last for a long time. As soon as we’ve completely had the experience we desired, we want to move on to new experiences in order to continue learning and growing. On the other hand true love, as described above, lasts forever. The desire for the wellbeing of an individual, once had, lasts forever — even when the feeling of lust eventually wears out and you don’t desire to spend time with that individual anymore. 3 If the love you had for a person doesn’t last, then it wasn’t true love to begin with.
Like I mentioned in the past, when you truly love someone, you’ll always love them and want the best for them. Even if they hurt you, you’ll want to take action in order to protect yourself, but you’ll never wish anything bad for them. You’ll continue to respect their right to life, while in the first place respecting your own right to life (and thus your own wellbeing; loving yourself comes first!). 4 When it comes to lust however, the desire to experience a person that hurts you starts to decrease pretty fast until it becomes non-existent.
Based on my personal observations, it’s sad to have to conclude that most people living in societies around the world today have never really loved, and simply do not understand what true love actually entails. For example, when it comes to the traditional exclusive relationships that we have in societies around the world, it’s mostly all about lust — and a very selfish kind of lust at that, not only involving the desire to experience someone, but to also possess and control them and as a result limit their freedom. And this, as I’ve explained above, has absolutely nothing to do with love. On the contrary, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it has everything to do with maintaining an environment of artificial scarcity, in order to be able to more easily control, manipulate and enslave every individual in society.
I encourage you to take the time and think about what it means to truly love an individual (to desire their wellbeing, and to respect their right to life). Chances are that you’ll discover that you really haven’t loved people around you as much as you thought you did. And when you do come to such a realization, don’t blame yourself; we’ve all been purposefully misled about the true meaning of love (among many other things) by the social system that we grew up in. What matters is the following question: When you realize what true love really is, will you change your own behavior accordingly?