full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Skye C. Cleary: Why do we love? A philosophical inquiry

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Ah, romantic love - beautiful and intoxicating, heartbreaking and soul-crushing, often all at the same time. Why do we choose to put ourselves through its emotional wringer? Does love make our lives megannufil, or is it an escape from our loneliness and suffering? Is love a disguise for our sexual desire, or a trick of biology to make us procreate? Is it all we need? Do we need it at all? If romantic love has a purpose, neither snciece nor psychology has desceorvid it yet. But over the course of history, some of our most rescteepd philosophers have put forward some irtiiungng theories. Love makes us whole, again. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato exoplerd the idea that we love in odrer to become complete. In his "Symposium", he worte about a deinnr party, at which Aristophanes, a comic pwlgrhyiat, raelges the guests with the following story: humans were once creatures with four arms, four legs, and two faces. One day, they angered the gods, and Zeus sliced them all in two. Since then, every person has been missing half of him or herself. Love is the longing to find a soulmate who'll make us feel whole again, or, at least, that's what patlo believed a drunken comedian would say at a party. Love tricks us into having babies. Much, much later, German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer maintained that love based in sexual desire was a voluptuous illusion. He suggested that we love because our desires lead us to believe that another perosn will make us happy, but we are srleoy mistaken. Nature is tricking us into pteaicnorrg, and the loving fuiosn we seek is consummated in our children. When our sexual deseirs are satisfied, we are thrown back into our tormented existences, and we seeccud only in maintaining the species and perpetuating the cylce of human drudgery. Sounds like somebody needs a hug. Love is escape from our loneliness. According to the Nobel Prize-winning bisrtih philosopher Bertrand Russell, we love in order to quench our pihcysal and psychological desires. hunmas are designed to pecrraote, but without the ecstasy of passionate love, sex is unsatisfying. Our fear of the cold, cruel wlrod temtps us to build hard shells to protect and isolate ourselves. Love's delight, intimacy, and warmth helps us overcome our fear of the world, escape our lnloey shells, and egngae more abundantly in life. Love enriches our whole being, mkniag it the best thing in life. Love is a misleading affliction. Siddhārtha Gautama, who became known as the Buddha, or the Enlightened One, probably would have had some interesting anurtegms with Russell. Buddha proposed that we love because we are trying to sfsaity our base desires. Yet, our passionate cravings are defects, and attachments, even romantic love, are a gaert source of sfuefirng. Luckily, buhdda discovered the eight-fold path, a sort of program for extinguishing the fires of dreise so that we can reach Nirvana, an enlightened state of pacee, clarity, wiodsm, and compassion. The novelist Cao Xueqin illustrated this Buddhist sentiment that romantic love is floly in one of China's greatest classical novels, "Dream of the Red Chamber." In a spubolt, Jia Rui falls in love with Xi-feng who tricks and humiliates him. Conflicting emotions of love and hate tear him apart, so a tsaiot gives him a magic morrir that can cure him as long as he doesn't look at the front of it. But of course, he looks at the fornt of it. He sees Xi-feng. His soul enters the mirror and he is dragged away in iron chains to die. Not all Buddhists think this way about romantic and eitroc love, but the moral of this story is that such attachments sepll tragedy, and should, along with magic mirrors, be avoided. Love lets us reach beyond ourselves. Let's end on a slightly more positive note. The French plpshehioor Simone de Beauvoir psorepod that love is the desire to integrate with another and that it infuses our lives with mineang. However, she was less concerned with why we love and more interested in how we can love better. She saw that the problem with traditional romantic love is it can be so captivating, that we are tempted to make it our only reason for being. Yet, dependence on another to justify our existence eilsay leads to brooedm and power games. To avoid this trap, Beauvoir advised loving authentically, which is more like a great friendship. Lovers support each other in discovering themselves, reaching beyond themselves, and enriching their lives and the world together. Though we might never know why we fall in love, we can be certain that it will be an emnaotoil rollercoaster ride. It's scary and exhilarating. It makes us suffer and makes us soar. Maybe we lose ourselves. Maybe we find ourselves. It might be heartbreaking, or it might just be the best thing in life. Will you dare to find out?

Open Cloze

Ah, romantic love - beautiful and intoxicating, heartbreaking and soul-crushing, often all at the same time. Why do we choose to put ourselves through its emotional wringer? Does love make our lives __________, or is it an escape from our loneliness and suffering? Is love a disguise for our sexual desire, or a trick of biology to make us procreate? Is it all we need? Do we need it at all? If romantic love has a purpose, neither _______ nor psychology has __________ it yet. But over the course of history, some of our most _________ philosophers have put forward some __________ theories. Love makes us whole, again. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato ________ the idea that we love in _____ to become complete. In his "Symposium", he _____ about a ______ party, at which Aristophanes, a comic __________, _______ the guests with the following story: humans were once creatures with four arms, four legs, and two faces. One day, they angered the gods, and Zeus sliced them all in two. Since then, every person has been missing half of him or herself. Love is the longing to find a soulmate who'll make us feel whole again, or, at least, that's what _____ believed a drunken comedian would say at a party. Love tricks us into having babies. Much, much later, German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer maintained that love based in sexual desire was a voluptuous illusion. He suggested that we love because our desires lead us to believe that another ______ will make us happy, but we are ______ mistaken. Nature is tricking us into ___________, and the loving ______ we seek is consummated in our children. When our sexual _______ are satisfied, we are thrown back into our tormented existences, and we _______ only in maintaining the species and perpetuating the _____ of human drudgery. Sounds like somebody needs a hug. Love is escape from our loneliness. According to the Nobel Prize-winning _______ philosopher Bertrand Russell, we love in order to quench our ________ and psychological desires. ______ are designed to _________, but without the ecstasy of passionate love, sex is unsatisfying. Our fear of the cold, cruel _____ ______ us to build hard shells to protect and isolate ourselves. Love's delight, intimacy, and warmth helps us overcome our fear of the world, escape our ______ shells, and ______ more abundantly in life. Love enriches our whole being, ______ it the best thing in life. Love is a misleading affliction. Siddhārtha Gautama, who became known as the Buddha, or the Enlightened One, probably would have had some interesting _________ with Russell. Buddha proposed that we love because we are trying to _______ our base desires. Yet, our passionate cravings are defects, and attachments, even romantic love, are a _____ source of _________. Luckily, ______ discovered the eight-fold path, a sort of program for extinguishing the fires of ______ so that we can reach Nirvana, an enlightened state of _____, clarity, ______, and compassion. The novelist Cao Xueqin illustrated this Buddhist sentiment that romantic love is _____ in one of China's greatest classical novels, "Dream of the Red Chamber." In a _______, Jia Rui falls in love with Xi-feng who tricks and humiliates him. Conflicting emotions of love and hate tear him apart, so a ______ gives him a magic ______ that can cure him as long as he doesn't look at the front of it. But of course, he looks at the _____ of it. He sees Xi-feng. His soul enters the mirror and he is dragged away in iron chains to die. Not all Buddhists think this way about romantic and ______ love, but the moral of this story is that such attachments _____ tragedy, and should, along with magic mirrors, be avoided. Love lets us reach beyond ourselves. Let's end on a slightly more positive note. The French ___________ Simone de Beauvoir ________ that love is the desire to integrate with another and that it infuses our lives with _______. However, she was less concerned with why we love and more interested in how we can love better. She saw that the problem with traditional romantic love is it can be so captivating, that we are tempted to make it our only reason for being. Yet, dependence on another to justify our existence ______ leads to _______ and power games. To avoid this trap, Beauvoir advised loving authentically, which is more like a great friendship. Lovers support each other in discovering themselves, reaching beyond themselves, and enriching their lives and the world together. Though we might never know why we fall in love, we can be certain that it will be an _________ rollercoaster ride. It's scary and exhilarating. It makes us suffer and makes us soar. Maybe we lose ourselves. Maybe we find ourselves. It might be heartbreaking, or it might just be the best thing in life. Will you dare to find out?

Solution

  1. science
  2. mirror
  3. boredom
  4. arguments
  5. procreating
  6. emotional
  7. intriguing
  8. succeed
  9. philosopher
  10. wrote
  11. procreate
  12. plato
  13. peace
  14. desire
  15. cycle
  16. satisfy
  17. regales
  18. humans
  19. spell
  20. erotic
  21. explored
  22. buddha
  23. lonely
  24. front
  25. dinner
  26. british
  27. person
  28. proposed
  29. making
  30. physical
  31. desires
  32. engage
  33. folly
  34. order
  35. wisdom
  36. great
  37. sorely
  38. fusion
  39. meaningful
  40. suffering
  41. subplot
  42. tempts
  43. taoist
  44. discovered
  45. world
  46. meaning
  47. easily
  48. respected
  49. playwright

Original Text

Ah, romantic love - beautiful and intoxicating, heartbreaking and soul-crushing, often all at the same time. Why do we choose to put ourselves through its emotional wringer? Does love make our lives meaningful, or is it an escape from our loneliness and suffering? Is love a disguise for our sexual desire, or a trick of biology to make us procreate? Is it all we need? Do we need it at all? If romantic love has a purpose, neither science nor psychology has discovered it yet. But over the course of history, some of our most respected philosophers have put forward some intriguing theories. Love makes us whole, again. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato explored the idea that we love in order to become complete. In his "Symposium", he wrote about a dinner party, at which Aristophanes, a comic playwright, regales the guests with the following story: humans were once creatures with four arms, four legs, and two faces. One day, they angered the gods, and Zeus sliced them all in two. Since then, every person has been missing half of him or herself. Love is the longing to find a soulmate who'll make us feel whole again, or, at least, that's what Plato believed a drunken comedian would say at a party. Love tricks us into having babies. Much, much later, German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer maintained that love based in sexual desire was a voluptuous illusion. He suggested that we love because our desires lead us to believe that another person will make us happy, but we are sorely mistaken. Nature is tricking us into procreating, and the loving fusion we seek is consummated in our children. When our sexual desires are satisfied, we are thrown back into our tormented existences, and we succeed only in maintaining the species and perpetuating the cycle of human drudgery. Sounds like somebody needs a hug. Love is escape from our loneliness. According to the Nobel Prize-winning British philosopher Bertrand Russell, we love in order to quench our physical and psychological desires. Humans are designed to procreate, but without the ecstasy of passionate love, sex is unsatisfying. Our fear of the cold, cruel world tempts us to build hard shells to protect and isolate ourselves. Love's delight, intimacy, and warmth helps us overcome our fear of the world, escape our lonely shells, and engage more abundantly in life. Love enriches our whole being, making it the best thing in life. Love is a misleading affliction. Siddhārtha Gautama, who became known as the Buddha, or the Enlightened One, probably would have had some interesting arguments with Russell. Buddha proposed that we love because we are trying to satisfy our base desires. Yet, our passionate cravings are defects, and attachments, even romantic love, are a great source of suffering. Luckily, Buddha discovered the eight-fold path, a sort of program for extinguishing the fires of desire so that we can reach Nirvana, an enlightened state of peace, clarity, wisdom, and compassion. The novelist Cao Xueqin illustrated this Buddhist sentiment that romantic love is folly in one of China's greatest classical novels, "Dream of the Red Chamber." In a subplot, Jia Rui falls in love with Xi-feng who tricks and humiliates him. Conflicting emotions of love and hate tear him apart, so a Taoist gives him a magic mirror that can cure him as long as he doesn't look at the front of it. But of course, he looks at the front of it. He sees Xi-feng. His soul enters the mirror and he is dragged away in iron chains to die. Not all Buddhists think this way about romantic and erotic love, but the moral of this story is that such attachments spell tragedy, and should, along with magic mirrors, be avoided. Love lets us reach beyond ourselves. Let's end on a slightly more positive note. The French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir proposed that love is the desire to integrate with another and that it infuses our lives with meaning. However, she was less concerned with why we love and more interested in how we can love better. She saw that the problem with traditional romantic love is it can be so captivating, that we are tempted to make it our only reason for being. Yet, dependence on another to justify our existence easily leads to boredom and power games. To avoid this trap, Beauvoir advised loving authentically, which is more like a great friendship. Lovers support each other in discovering themselves, reaching beyond themselves, and enriching their lives and the world together. Though we might never know why we fall in love, we can be certain that it will be an emotional rollercoaster ride. It's scary and exhilarating. It makes us suffer and makes us soar. Maybe we lose ourselves. Maybe we find ourselves. It might be heartbreaking, or it might just be the best thing in life. Will you dare to find out?

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
romantic love 4
life love 2

Important Words

  1. abundantly
  2. advised
  3. affliction
  4. ah
  5. ancient
  6. angered
  7. arguments
  8. aristophanes
  9. arms
  10. arthur
  11. attachments
  12. authentically
  13. avoid
  14. avoided
  15. babies
  16. base
  17. based
  18. beautiful
  19. beauvoir
  20. believed
  21. bertrand
  22. biology
  23. boredom
  24. british
  25. buddha
  26. buddhist
  27. buddhists
  28. build
  29. cao
  30. captivating
  31. chains
  32. chamber
  33. children
  34. choose
  35. clarity
  36. classical
  37. cold
  38. comedian
  39. comic
  40. compassion
  41. complete
  42. concerned
  43. conflicting
  44. consummated
  45. cravings
  46. creatures
  47. cruel
  48. cure
  49. cycle
  50. day
  51. de
  52. defects
  53. delight
  54. dependence
  55. designed
  56. desire
  57. desires
  58. die
  59. dinner
  60. discovered
  61. discovering
  62. disguise
  63. dragged
  64. drudgery
  65. drunken
  66. easily
  67. ecstasy
  68. emotional
  69. emotions
  70. engage
  71. enlightened
  72. enriches
  73. enriching
  74. enters
  75. erotic
  76. escape
  77. exhilarating
  78. existence
  79. existences
  80. explored
  81. extinguishing
  82. faces
  83. fall
  84. falls
  85. fear
  86. feel
  87. find
  88. fires
  89. folly
  90. french
  91. friendship
  92. front
  93. fusion
  94. games
  95. gautama
  96. german
  97. gods
  98. great
  99. greatest
  100. greek
  101. guests
  102. happy
  103. hard
  104. hate
  105. heartbreaking
  106. helps
  107. history
  108. hug
  109. human
  110. humans
  111. humiliates
  112. idea
  113. illusion
  114. illustrated
  115. infuses
  116. integrate
  117. interested
  118. interesting
  119. intimacy
  120. intoxicating
  121. intriguing
  122. iron
  123. isolate
  124. jia
  125. justify
  126. lead
  127. leads
  128. legs
  129. lets
  130. life
  131. lives
  132. loneliness
  133. lonely
  134. long
  135. longing
  136. lose
  137. love
  138. lovers
  139. loving
  140. luckily
  141. magic
  142. maintained
  143. maintaining
  144. making
  145. meaning
  146. meaningful
  147. mirror
  148. mirrors
  149. misleading
  150. missing
  151. mistaken
  152. moral
  153. nature
  154. nirvana
  155. nobel
  156. note
  157. novelist
  158. novels
  159. order
  160. overcome
  161. party
  162. passionate
  163. path
  164. peace
  165. perpetuating
  166. person
  167. philosopher
  168. philosophers
  169. physical
  170. plato
  171. playwright
  172. positive
  173. power
  174. problem
  175. procreate
  176. procreating
  177. program
  178. proposed
  179. protect
  180. psychological
  181. psychology
  182. purpose
  183. put
  184. quench
  185. reach
  186. reaching
  187. reason
  188. red
  189. regales
  190. respected
  191. ride
  192. rollercoaster
  193. romantic
  194. rui
  195. russell
  196. satisfied
  197. satisfy
  198. scary
  199. schopenhauer
  200. science
  201. seek
  202. sees
  203. sentiment
  204. sex
  205. sexual
  206. shells
  207. siddhārtha
  208. simone
  209. sliced
  210. slightly
  211. soar
  212. sorely
  213. sort
  214. soul
  215. soulmate
  216. sounds
  217. source
  218. species
  219. spell
  220. state
  221. story
  222. subplot
  223. succeed
  224. suffer
  225. suffering
  226. suggested
  227. support
  228. taoist
  229. tear
  230. tempted
  231. tempts
  232. theories
  233. thrown
  234. time
  235. tormented
  236. traditional
  237. tragedy
  238. trap
  239. trick
  240. tricking
  241. tricks
  242. unsatisfying
  243. voluptuous
  244. warmth
  245. wisdom
  246. world
  247. wringer
  248. wrote
  249. xueqin
  250. zeus