What is love? Even in this advanced age of science, when people conquer space, do the shopping via the Internet, clone animals and transplant organs, they still don’t fully understand the nature and purpose of love. There are numerous definitions of love. For example, the dictionary defines love as ‘a strong feeling of fondness for another person, especially between members of a family or close friends’. Love is a mixture of complex and extremely powerful feelings. It is a major theme in philosophy, literature, music, poetry and cinematography.
A great number of scientists and psychologists have been trying to understand the essence of love. Robert Sternberg, an American psychologist, has proposed a triangular theory of love. To his mind love is made of some combination of intimacy, passion and commitment. According to Robert Sternberg, intimacy ‘encompasses feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness’. Passion ‘encompasses drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, and sexual consummation’. Commitment is ‘the decision to remain with another, and in the long term, the shared achievements and plans made with that other’. Robert Sternberg has affirmed that ‘passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still’. Different stages and types of love can be explained by different combinations of these three elements. Robert Sternberg has also distinguished such types of love as nonlove, liking or friendship, infatuated love (pure passion), empty love (commitment without intimacy or passion), romantic love (emotional and physical bonds), companionate love (intimate, non-passionate love), fatuous love (passion without intimacy), consummate love (perfect love).
Scientists affirm that love has a chemical basis. Recent studies in neuroscience have shown that when people fall in love, the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals that stimulate the brain’s pleasure center and cause increased heart rate, loss of appetite and sleep, and an intense feeling of excitement. This stage generally lasts from one and a half to three years. So it is not unusual that passion which characterizes the first stage of love disappears with the passing of time and other feelings such as respect, tenderness and affection set in. Only true love stands the test of time. People who are truly in love and who have been together for years don’t grow apart but draw closer to one another.
Studies have also indicated that brain scans of people who are in love resemble to those with a mental illness. Scientists say that love deactivates the brain regions associated with negative emotions, with social judgment and with judging other people’s intentions and emotions. That is why people in love are often unable to make critical judgments and they look at their partner through rose-coloured spectacles.
What is the secret of long-term relationships? Why do some couples live long and happily together while others separate? Maybe the secret is to try to understand and forgive each other and to feel the responsibility for your partner’s life. Shared interests unite people while sincerity and mutual understanding form emotional closeness. And of course it is very important to have confidence in each other as in true love there is no room for doubt and jealousy.
1. Complete each sentence (A-H) with one of the endings (1-8): A. Love is a mixture of
B. To Robert Sternberg’s mind, love is made of some combination of
C. Different stages and types of love can be explained by
D. Robert Sternberg has also distinguished such types of love as
E. Scientists affirm that love
F. Passion which characterizes the first stage of love
G. Studies have also indicated that brain scans of people infatuated by love
H. People who are truly in love and who have been together for years don’t grow apart but
1. draw closer to one another.
2. disappears with the passing of time.
3. nonlove, liking or friendship, infatuated love, empty love, romantic love, companionate love, fatuous love, consummate love.
4. resemble to those with a mental illness.
5. different combinations of these three elements.
6. complex and extremely powerful feelings.
7. has a chemical basis.
8. intimacy, passion and commitment.
2. Give the definitions of the following words – fondness – romance
– intimacy – affection
– passion – relationship
– commitment – jealousy
3. Read and translate the following proverbs and sayings and find their Russian equivalents. Explain their meaning – All is fair in love and war.
– Faults are thick where love is thin.
– Love conquers all.
– Love laughs at locksmiths.
– Love and cough cannot be hid.
– He that loves the tree, loves the branch.
– Love makes the world go around.
– Love is not found in the market.
– Love is blind.
– No herb will cure love.
– When poverty comes in at the door, love flies out at the window.
– Old love does not rust.
4. Agree or disagree with the following statements. Explain your point of view – Lt is no use trying to understand the essence of love. Love is not science. It is magic.
– Opposites attract.
– Love is just chemistry.
– Love is a natural feeling like hunger or thirst.
– Love can’t last forever.
– We often look at our partner through rose-coloured spectacles.
– Only true love stands the test of time.
– In true love there is no room for doubt and jealousy.
5. Answer the questions 1) Why is love a major theme in philosophy, literature, music, poetry and cinematography?
2) What can you say about the triangular theory oflove? Do you agree with it?
3) What is the difference between intimacy, passion and commitment?
4) What do scientists say about the essence oflove?
5) What are the symptoms of love?
6) Why can’t we say that passion and love are synonyms?
7) Why do people who are in love often seem to be mad?
8) What is the secret of long-term relationships to your mind?
9) Why is love important in people’s life?
10) Do you agree that ‘all we need is love’? Explain your answer.
6. Read the quotations about love. Choose any statement and comment on it ‘All love shifts and changes. I don’t know if you can be wholeheartedly in love all the time.’ (Julie
‘Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.’
‘Life is the flower for which love is the honey.’ (Victor Hugo)
‘Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love
is a growing up.’ (James A. Baldwin)
‘Love does not dominate; it cultivates.’ (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
‘Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be
loved; we love to love.’ (Leo Buscaglia)
‘When love is not madness, it is not love.’ (Pedro Calderon de la Barca)
‘Take away love and our earth is a tomb.’ (Robert Browning)
‘True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about and few have seen.’ (Francois de La Rochefoucauld)
Read some poems about love and discuss them. Recite your favourite poem about love and analyze the poet’s attitude to love. O, my Love’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June:
O, my Love’s like a melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my Bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till all the seas gang dry:
Till all the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
‘While the sands of life shall run.
And fare thee well, my only Love!
And fare thee well a while!
And I will come again, my Love,
Though it were ten thousand mile.
by Robert Burns
SONNET 148 О mе, what eyes hath Love put in my head, ‘Which have no correspondence with true sight! Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled, That censures falsely what they see aright? If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote, ‘What means the world to say it is not so? If it be not, then love doth well denote Love’s eye is not so true as all men’s ‘lip.’ Mow can it? O, how can Love’s eye be true, That is so ve^d with watching and with tears? 9(p marvel then, though I mistake my view; The sun itself sees not till heaven clears. О cunning Love! with tears thou keep’st me blind, Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find.
by William Shakespeare
Love? Its really only a matter of the reaction of a trained mind to a neurological stimulus, brought about by the signals from the senses and the increased hormone content of the blood, that makes love ■ ‘But all the same I like it.
by Peter Spence
A. There are a lot of definitions of love. Read what other people say about this wonderful feeling and give your own definition. – Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination. (Voltaire)
– Love is a game that two can play and both win. (Eva Gabor)
– Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. (Peter Ustinov)
– Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired. (Robert Frost)
– Love is being stupid together. (Paul Valery)
– Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life. (Leo Buscaglia)
– Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop. (H. L. Mencken)
– Love is the beauty of the soul. (Saint Augustine)
– Love is the poetry of the senses. (Honore de Balzac)
B. Read the text ‘Love Is Life’ to learn more about love.