Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Love as a Metaphor

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

Love as a Metaphor

Article excerpt

"Love" is a very big word. It is also one of the most confusing words. It can mean many different things. When you say you "love" someone, what are you really saying? When the other person replies that they "love" you too, do they mean the same thing?

I think that the word "Love" is a metaphor, but a particular kind of metaphor. It is a personal metaphor--a big word we fill with our own meanings. When we use big words such as "love," we need to check with others to see what they mean to them. We also need to check with ourselves to see what it means to us.

When I was younger I did not use the word "love" much, but looking back, I would say that I filled the word with different meanings at different times. I loved my parents and my sister, and grandma and grandpa, and uncles and aunts ... That was fine; they loved me; I was just a youngster, and love was part of the experience of family life. (I now realize how fortunate I was to have this.) But I didn't really know what "love" was and couldn't really define it.

Then in adolescence, "love" came to be part of relationships with young women. Suddenly, it was not taken for granted. It became complicated. I now understand that I was filling the word with meanings that were heavily tinged with lust. This was different from love for my family. This was driven by hormones. This "love" had much drama, uncertainty, and occasional payoffs. It was powerful and real, but I am not sure I could have defined it well.

And then there is all this religious talk about "love." God loves us; we should love our neighbors. These are central messages from Christianity. …

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