Speaker expresses theories on love

By Karli Morello
December 1, 2006

Meghan Hurley

Love is a feeling rather than an emotion were the words of Robert C. Soloman. But what is the difference? Solomon gave a lecture about love and how he feels that it is an emotion rather than a feeling. He called his lecture “Is love a second-hand emotion?”

“You hear platitudes that love is wonderful and beautiful and so-on, but that is not what I am going to give you,” Solomon said. Instead, he talked about what love actually is and what we feel when we have love and how we know we have it. First, he went into detail about the differences between feelings and emotions.

“Feelings are simple and instinctual,” Solomon said, meaning that they just come about. We do not work our way up to feeling angry or sad, they just happen in a moment, according to Solomon. “Emotions are physical disturbances which lead to a sensation which in-turn is an emotion.”

Solomon explained that feelings are stages of emotions. An example that Solomon used was when a person is in traffic and a fellow driver calls them an “idiot,” that person gets mad, not upset. But if a person that one is close to calls them an “idiot,” it hurts and turns into an emotion. First, a person would be hurt and sad that their loved one could call them names, then, they would feel angry towards them and wonder what happened for them to be so cruel.

As Solomon talked more about the differences between feelings and emotions, he explained how love is an emotion, not a feeling. “Love is a process,” he said. “It goes on and takes time to establish; much like emotions.”

In Solomon’s words, “Love doesn’t happen to you. You make it happen. You are responsible.” A person does not simply fall in love one day, but they build up their emotions towards someone and eventually “fall in love.

Many people do not have a voice about love and Solomon could give them a good grasp on what it might mean to one or more people. Senior history and political science major Bill Elder said, “I think explaining love as a process, by comparing it with the grieving process, was the best explanation of love I have heard.”

Solomon compared grief as an emotion with love as an emotion and said that grief takes time to build and has a lot of mixed feelings that go with it. “There are stages of emotions,” Solomon said. “One goes through anger, denial and sadness while they are grieving and then goes through another process to heal. It takes time.” As does love, as explained previously.

Elder also said, “Solomon’s ideas and supporting arguments were very clear. I think people left the lecture with their own ideas but took a little extra away, based on Solomon’s perspective.”

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Karli Morello

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