Love is life’s biggest virus of the mind. We live and die for it. Make major decisions because of it. And completely don’t understand it. “It’s complicated” is an understatement. We’re handed a script about what love really means and should be from the time we’re children. Our fairytales are pretty clear: you’ll meet someone and be swept off your feet, have babies and live happily ever after. But by the time you’re in y our 30s if this hasn’t happened for you, people think you’re misdirected or in the closet. Then by your 40s, the jury is out and clearly something’s wrong with you. Even if you did get married, where the hell are the kids? Let’s face it, we’re all following the same recipe for love— even if it doesn’t fit.
For some reason, our society can scrutinize all sorts of once-sacred things, like monarchies, the laws of the universe, human rights, god— once we objectively analyzed and understood these things, it allowed us to control our own decisions and today we have room for a spectrum of different practices. But when it comes to romantic love, that’s an unquestionable magic that should never be put under a microscope.
Or should it? This week’s guest thinks so. Carrie Jenkins is a Professor of Philosophy and author of What Love Is: And What It Could Be which unpicks the conceptual, ideological, and metaphysical tangles that get in the way of understanding what love is. We talk about how dangerous the single, normalized view of romantic love really is as well as how we may be in the brink of a social movement around new, less traditional relationships like polyamory. Could it be the next great social movement? Either way, I know you’ll have a different point of view about the big L word after listening to this episode.
Music credit: Billy Grammer - The Kissing Tree
Illustration credit: Joanna Gniady
Photo credit: Jonathan Ichikawa