Love: A New Understanding of an Ancient Emotion by Simon May
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Overview: What is love’s real aim? Why is it so ruthlessly selective in its choice of loved ones? Why do we love at all?
In addressing these questions, Simon May develops a radically new understanding of love as the emotion we feel towards whomever or whatever we experience as grounding our life–as offering us a possibility of home in a world that we supremely value. He sees love as motivated by a promise of "ontological rootedness," rather than, as two thousand years of tradition variously asserts, by beauty or goodness, by a search for wholeness, by virtue, by sexual or reproductive desire, by compassion or altruism or empathy, or, in one of today’s dominant views, by no qualities at all of the loved one.
After arguing that such founding Western myths as the Odyssey and Abraham’s call by God to Canaan in the Bible powerfully exemplify his new conception of love, May goes on to re-examine the relation of love to beauty, sex, and goodness in the light of this conception, offering among other things a novel theory of beauty–and suggesting, against Plato, that we can love others for their ugliness (while also seeing them as beautiful).
Genre: Non-Fiction > Faith, Beliefs & Philosophy > Humanism Philosophy