Love is one of the most powerful emotions that a person can experience. The most surprising thing is that no one knows what Love is. In my opinion, people use and abuse the word Love to express specific sets of feelings. For instance, the word love can express affection towards a person. In this case, one could say, ‘I am in love with you. Besides, the word Love is used by some people to express the act of pleasure, for example, ‘I love chocolate.’
According to Merton, one cannot evade the question of Love. Whether or not one claims to be interested in it, from the moment you are alive, one is concerned with Love because Love is not just something that happens but a specific way of feeling alive (Merton, 25). On the other hand, Love is used as a human virtue and is based on acts of kindness, compassion, and affection. Therefore, love intensifies life, our true destiny, it is regarded as a deal, and lastly, it reveals a person’s meaning, identity, and value.
The beginning of Love is the will to let those we love to be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our image (Merton, 28). This ultimately means that when we love a person and the people around us, we see and think differently about the world. We do not think from the ‘self’ standpoint, in other words, what we do not like or dislike, but instead, we engage in broad terms from a large set of perspectives and considerations. When a person says they love but refuse to take on the bad about themselves and address it, then it means that they are not loving.
Jonathan Franzen, in his book Liking, is for cowards. Go for what hurts is centered on the notion that human beings live worldwide where the most critical relationships in our lives are superficial and short-lived when we have our technological devices. Most people indeed hide in the world of techno-consumerism. We usually portray a version of ourselves that we think people will like. Therefore, technology is taking over people’s lives; it is affecting how we relate with people and manipulating our habits, on the other hand. Franzen, in the book, is trying to distinguish where the life between liking and loving someone or something lies.
Franzen also suggests how the technology field is disturbed by the issue of Love. Franzen identifies the differences between the narcissistic tendencies that come with technology and true Love’s problem. He describes how people constantly use electronic gadgets and fall in love with them. People enjoy the design, the functionality, and the opportunity to answer any question they need to be answered. The technology market successfully and widely uses the outset of Love like a product. On the other hand, the author argues that the word ‘like’ works as a substitute for Love in a commercial world.
The two authors raise fundamental questions about Love, just like Franzen says, it is good when a person wants to be perfect, but then we cannot be likable to everyone because people are very different. Both authors argue that there is freedom when people love each other. This means that they ignore their shortcomings and see what is beneficial to the lover. In other words, what is most important in a relationship is allowing one another to be themselves. Human beings need to love because it is a specific way of feeling alive, just as Merton states.
Franzen, Jonathan. “Liking is for cowards. Go for what hurts.” The New York Times 28 (2011).
Merton, R. K. “Merton.” (1957).