As suggested by sex is near, love is far, it seems that we don’t directly feel romantic love. Instead, we rather abstractly interpret our feelings as being love or not, depending on whether we think our relation fits our abstract ideal of love:
Limerance is pretty unmistakable if you feel it. It looks like a lot of people don't.
I find it very hard to believe that these six things should be categorically distinct, as opposed to different regions in a space with a number of continuous dimensions.
You may be correct, but you can find research purporting otherwise at http://en.wikipedia.org/wik... . The "colors of love" concept is that there are really six distinct archetypes of romantic love.
I think the archetype of romantic love - limerence - is a clearly circumscribed complex mental state, which is qualitatively different from other kinds of favorable dispositions towards people.
However, it's my impression - I haven't seen much research about this, if anyone knows of some, I'd be very interested to hear about it! - that many people don't experience limerence, so what they call "love" may well be only quantitatively distinguished, and then it will have borderline cases, people may cross the "border" without noticing, and will generally have to do some reasoning and experience confusion about whether they should say that this is or isn't love.
It's also worth noting that some people are asexual (as in, do not desire sex), but do have romances. And there are other people who form platonic couples. I don't think anyone can operationalize what the difference is. (I've never seen an explanation I could use to figure out which relationships are in which category, that is.)
I mean to say that the physical manifestations that define "who you are" are produced in comparable measure both by what's inside your bag of skin (the stuff we typically call the "individual human" and consider to be 100% of what the "individual human" is) and by what's outside your bag of skin (typically called "the environment").
"You" are not that unique individual that was going to throw a fit of anger yesterday at 12:47 no matter what, just because "you" (the particular contents of that bag of skin) are who "you" are and not someone else. No, "you" threw that fit of anger yesterday at 12:47 both because of the way the contents of your bag of skin function AND because that schmuck cut you off in traffic at that exact time. So your manifestation (i.e. the only tangible kind of thing that defines who "you" are) was a co-product of what's inside and what's outside your bag of skin.
Identity doesn't end at your skin, it's fuzzy and it's spread out over a larger, irregular and dynamic portion of physical reality. And, naturally then, so are the relationships between such identities - fuzzy and spread out and dependent on a lot of things beyond the two particular bags of skin in question.
Reading about this confused me. I do tend to think of myself as being in love with people. (I am also female, like the interview subjects.) But now that I think about it more, some of my female friends tend not to use that language.
This could be a difference in vocabulary, or a difference in the actual feelings. Maybe people avoid describing their experiences as falling in love because they think it makes them sound too sentimental, or something like that. Or they may interpret what "falling in love" means differently than I do. My experience with relationships/love/attraction/etc. has been unusual in a few ways, though, so it could just be that. (The difference that seems most relevant is that I always fall for people who either don't want to be in a relationship with me, or can't start a relationship /yet/.)
Love not being an atomic emotion makes sense, though. My mental model is that it's a state, for which certain clusters of emotions are evidence that you're in it. I've never thought too hard about how accurate this is, though.
Define what you mean by this, please. What do you mean by saying humans are not individuals?
I draw the distinction between (near) occurrent thought ("opinion") and (far) belief. (See subsection "Belief andopinion: Two kinds of judgments" http://tinyurl.com/ke2oj98 )
"I thought I was in love with him..."
Maybe this could be a section of a post called "Knowledge is an Interpretation" (maybe rephrased so as not to offend the Bayesian crowd). It's easy to treat all knowledge this way, behaving as if actually knowing something is a different internal state than thinking you know something.
Such ideals are complex, as I said.
And they are also largely unconscious. (cf Freud's unconscious super-ego.)
But this issue reminds me of the controversies concerning Schachter and Singer's 1962 experiment on emotion ( http://faculty.uncfsu.edu/t... ), which tested their two-factor theory of emotion. (See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wik... ) According to the two-factor theory, emotion consists of interpreted general arousal: in CLT terms, arousal is near and emotion is far.
The two-factor theory was once enormously popular among social psychologists, The theory has become less popular due to the work of Tomkins, Izard, and Eckman, who find human-wide facial expressions corresponding to given emotions.
Still, it might be said emotion is farther than general arousal (or that love is farther than sexual attraction).
Just because you don't think loving a guy from prison fits with your ideals of love doesn't mean the women who love such guys don't decide that based on their differing ideals of love. Such ideals are complex, as I said.
Often you don't realize how much you will miss someone until they are gone. Far indeed.
There are more than enough doomed love and loving the bad-boy and loving the guy in prison you only know through letters stories to realize that it is not a rational "complex ideal of a relation." If its not rational, what is it? Has to be a set of feelings doesn't it?
We are mammals with an emotional system that predates and lies below our rational systems. We have insight in to what our emotions are and how they interact with each other and with other parts of the world, but that insight is not one of our rational mind KNOWING what our emotions are and what they are doing, but one of our rational mind observing our emotional selves at almost as much remove as we would examine other external phenomena.
I think this explanation fits the observation that women speak in a confused way about love: love is a phenomenon of the emotional brain and women are as hard pressed as anybody else to deduce and describe a rational model for how those emotions work.
Of course anything you find uncomfortable is "just words", no matter how well supported by the evidence. And of course all you have in response is mockery.
A somewhat more depressing interpretation is that there is a feeling called love, but that many people simply never experience it. Of course no one can afford to admit this socially, and so the unfortunate ones are stuck referring to love in far mode.