12 Jan 2015

1. Is love beyond language?

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To me, this is a fundamental question, as a human being and as a philosopher. So, this string of reflections is an invitation to give your own answer.

I wish to solicit many reactions but, also, I do hope no one will think we’re looking for a “final definition”. I’m just eager to share thoughts. Actually, in launching this string of reflections I wish to give room to new questions, rather than daring answers on one of the most discussed and – for me - less explicable issues of life. And that is how it should be, because I think that on deep issues, questioning is often more important than answering. But, before trying to suggest an answer, let us reflect on this: the word "love" indicates no specific object (as a noun), no specific action (as a verb), not even a specific state of mind, nor a simple mood or emotion. And yet it is a meaningful word. Or we wouldn't have it.

On which basis do we, human beings, assign and recognise this meaningfulness? The difficulties I find when trying to give an answer are not theoretical, but linguistic. Behind the word “love” there is hardly a concept, for me. It's an experience too deep enrooted into the existence and essence of a human being to be effectively translated in words. Something we can talk about, but never explain, hardly conceptualise, scarcely giving an idea of what it really is.

We can show what love is with facts, acts, actions (and reactions); we just graze its surface with words. And normally this words come out as metaphors, and are often called "poetry". I'm convinced that any word, in whatever language, hardly does justice to that feeling, that attitude, that way of life


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Laura Capogna

I am a philosophical practitioner living and working in Rome. I am a member of Phronesis, the Italian Association for philosophical counselling (www.phronesis-cf.com).

I entered Phronesis (in 2011) for two reasons: to learn if and how it was possible to put philosophy into practice again, at the service of common people in everyday life, like Socrates and the ancient Greeks did; and to meet, and become part of a community of modern, living philosophers, with whom I could share, compare, and “put on trial” my vision of the world. I accepted Ran Lahav’s proposal to work on the Agora project for these same reasons.