Reciprocal feeling of attraction— in a broad sense— that generates an encounter between beings or between beings and certain entities. In the words of Alexandra Kollontai, one could say that it’s a “powerful factor of Nature, that is not merely a biological force but also a social factor.” There are loves that are sexualized or not, familiar love, community based loves, love for art, science, thought… For Spinoza, it’s happiness accompanied by the idea of an exterior cause and implies an increase of our potential to act and think. For Emmanuel Levinas, it means loving the very quality of difference to the extent that subjectivity is exposure to les otres (others). Love affirms the independent quality of the human being, our need for affection and attachment, despite the fact that individualism tries to block this radical relational reality.
For Max Scheler, love is a “movement” that makes “flash like lightning” the highest value of what is loved, that makes us sensitive to the value that it holds, something that can happen unpercieved by others. One directs themselves to what singular quality the loved has. Although this it can apply to a great variety of situations, the general feeling is tended to be confused with one of its forms, sexualized love, whether it be in a couple or polyamory, a confusion that produces disconnection from the world, from the commons, closing off singularity to certain relationships, which ends up being another form of monogamy, a restrictive and toxic ideology of love.
Alain Badiou considers love to be one of the four “conditions of philosophy”— art, science, politics, and love— that makes possible the experience of the world as Two and not as One: as opposed to romantic love, which emphasizes on merging, monogamous ecstasy, or commercial or legal love, which is safe, contractual, and capitalistic, love is an experience of difference, it implicates an exit from the onanism of identity. In addition, it assumes a commitment to convert something contingent, like an encounter, into a loyalty to a shared project, a commitment to say “yes” to coexisting with difference and break with the isolation of the “subject” in order to assume the ecstatic, relational condition of “singularity.” In this conceptual universe, jealousy is an “artificial parasite” that is the enemy of love, as it places the “I” ahead of difference in a way that is antithetical to the stage of Two. A good love de-privatizes affection, it sows an openness to difference, it opens the doors to a freedom that grows in the coexistence with otres. The stage of Two has to elevate itself to the “nth” power
Following this thread, in Commonwealth. El proyecto de una revolución del común, Toni Negri and Michael Hardt consider love to be a process of communal production and of the production of subjectivity, on par with an end in itself. It’s because of its potential to produce affective networks aptitudes of corporation and social subjectivities, an economic potential. And conceived as such, it becomes an action, not something passive, rather it becomes an event that is planned and takes place in common.
We owe feminism for unmasking the supposed universal and ahistorical character of love in order to reveal love as a historical, cultural construction, from soul mates and compatibility to couples of irreconcilable opposites, whether it be at the hand of middle-class romantic love— merging, salvation, and transformation and happiness through love between a couple that culminates in a family— or at the hand of postmodern romanticism. Following that thread, based in criticism of hetero-patriarchical love and monogamy, interesting collective spaces of thought and debate are constructed, such as Golfxs, that try to deepen good love practices, like polyamory in the ethical sense, attentive to not converting polyamorous practices into a mere consumption of bodies and subjectivities in the style of “emotional capitaliasm,” studied by Eva Illouz.
References Golfxs Con Principios. 2012, https://www.golfxsconprincipios.com/. Kollontai, Alejandra. "¡Abran paso al Eros alado!: Una carta a la juventud obrera.” 1923. Spanish translation by Daniel Gaido. Marxists Internet Archive, agosto 2017. https://www.marxists.org/espanol/kollontai/1923/0001.htm.