Love is a facilitator of relationships. It fulfils the needs of mutuality and fellowship. Justification for love is often not possible. One can love a stranger. In this, he finds the thrill of the unknown. One can love someone whom he knows quite well. In this, he finds the delight of knowing. Care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge are the four pillars of love. Love is freeing the other from the clutches of expectations and ideas.
Erich Fromm says, care and responsibility would be blind if they are not guided by knowledge. Knowledge would be empty, if not motivated by concern. Fromm believed, love for mankind is the most fundamental kind of love. ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ implies that respect for one’s integrity and uniqueness cannot be separated from respect, love, and understanding for another individual. The more you love yourself, the more you love others, and if you only love others, but not yourself, then you are incapable of love.
The paradox of love is that it requires both ‘union’ and ‘autonomy’. The sense of isolation is as essential, as is sense of integrity. Love, primarily, is giving. The most important kind of giving is not of material things but the self to others. Love is self-expenditure. When one is in love with himself, he wants to give something to himself. The act of giving oneself makes one powerful. The power of giving heightens one’s vitality and potency. The overflowing experience that one gets by giving makes one feel alive and joyous. Fromm writes, “In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power.”
The deepest need of man is the need to overcome his solitude. He doesn’t like loneliness. Love unites. When one enters into a relationship with someone, it is not a relationship between two persons only. The relationship encompasses many other relationships. By loving someone, one doesn’t forfeit the right to loving others. If two people are so deeply in love that they don’t feel the need of loving anybody else, and in the process make others feel redundant when present amidst them, such love separates people from others. People who have this tendency lack self-confidence. Their experience of union is an illusion. They remain separated from each other and alienated from themselves. To fill the gap of separation they become more absorbed in each other. Confidence teaches people the true art of loving. George Bernard Shaw said, “Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.”