I Heart Indies

Saturday, November 12, 2011

L, l The Alphabet Project

L, l: From the Canaanite lamed “ox goad.” A liquid consonant, formed sensuously by pressing the underside of the tongue to the alveolar ridge.

Love: With roots reaching to the Proto Indo-European lewb, love arguably means something different each time it is used. Aristotle believed words have essential meanings, so love is the same whether we say, “I love bacon,” “I love my wife,” or “God is love,” a problematic idea because Aristotle himself had four different words for love: storge, "familial love," eros, "sexual love," philia "love of friends," and agape, "unselfish pure love." Wittgenstein, to the contrary, posits that a word’s disparate meanings are no more than family resemblance. If so, love offers in-laws and multi-removed cousins to perplex the most patient genealogist. Overview of Neurology (Arthur Limongello, MD, MD. Kakos Publishing, New York: 2009) defines love as “the release of endorphins and oxytocin, creating sensations of well-being and promoting emotional bonding.” But the definition seems insufficient. Surely we love even when we release hormones for anger or fear. Does it overstretch Wittgenstein’s familial similarity to say animals with other hormones than ours feel a version of love? Do chickens, who display motherly concern for their chicks, feel storge? Do turtles, companionably sharing a floating log, have a sense of philia? Do they love the sunshine on their backs? Is a chicken closer than a turtle to understanding the essential meaning of love? Are we closer than a chicken? Can God, who, if He exists at all, has no limbic system or hormones whatsoever, love us?

Coming November 31st, the RETURN OF THE STOOPID CONTEST

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