Romantic Love

These days my mind is full of Romeo and Juliet, Westside Story, and Romiette and Julio. I plan to teach all three to my grade 9 class during internship this fall. Ancient feuds, philosophies of love, the fine line between love and hate, unrequited, forbidden, complicated love, ….these are some of the themes I’ve been tossing around in my brain. Deep stuff for 14 year olds!

Some romantic notions of love, such as Plato’s ideas that love is a spiritual longing to possess beauty, and Aristotle’s ideas that love occurs when two hearts and one soul meet, are still common beliefs today, thus the expressions “platonic love” and “soul mates.”

What is your philosophy of romantic love? Is it a choice? Is it simply a series of actions and preferences? Is it a chemical/physical/emotional response to another person? Some, (especially Woody Allen) believe that love occurs when you meet your own ideal self, embodied in an “other”. (Complete narcissism! Self-love is all we are capable of in this view) Others believe that love occurs simply because we respond to beauty? When is it appropriate to express love, when is it inappropriate? Why does the English language only have one word for “love” when there are so many types of love, and so many expressions appropriate to these types of love? Do you think there is confusion about love and appropriate expressions of love in our society?

What do you make of Sedgwick’s theory of the “homoerotic triangle” in which women are only the object that draws men closer together? Are men only capable of erotic love? Is all love based in eros?

Feel free to comment…


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