Enjoy, Comprehend, Love

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About the Book

We often think about love, but rarely talk about it. We dream of meeting love, but we almost never consciously go to it. We try to understand love, but we understand only the futility of our efforts, and that “this mystery is great.” The book Enjoy, Comprehend, Love addresses those who would like to talk about romantic love with famous thinkers and poets, to open their minds to the perception of the fullness of love, to comprehend its many facets, and if they dare, to choose their own path of conscious love.

The reflections on love are supplemented with excerpts from famous literary works, and the descriptions of certain psychological patterns of love relationships are illustrated by schemes. Thus, the author invites the readers to their own reflections on love, arming them with elegant metaphors and initial logical links.

We have chosen the image of a journey through the spaces of love as the linking framework for the book, and spatial metaphors are used to describe complex, paradoxical manifestations of love relationships. You can start your journey with any chapter of the nine sections of this small but intense book, depending on what interests you the most at the moment. For example, one might start with Courtly Love, interested in the mentioning of Plato, move on to Platonic Love, then, having cleared up its delicate points in the chapter The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, proceed to Building a Love Boat.

The readers are also given the opportunity to independently conduct simple tests and experiments in their own love relationships, allowing them to feel its new bright facets. And for those interested in the secrets of famous love stories, an analysis of the pure love relationships in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot and the metamorphosis of enchanted love in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita is offered.

The Spaces of Conscious Love

Dedicated to my lovely children Egor, Darya, Ilya, and Anna

Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

William Shakespeare, sonnet 116

The immense spaces of love are gradually covered somewhere with already well-trodden paths, and in some places with only barely noticeable lost paths. There are no, and, perhaps, there will never be highways. You can find out how to navigate here by studying ancient myths and legends, by getting acquainted with fascinating stories about journeys to the love land of experienced writers, or by referring to modern popular guidebooks that guarantee an easy fun ride on the boats of love along turbulent currents with steep rapids and sharp turns.

Lost in the spaces of love, sometimes they resort to the help of a stalker, in the role of a psychotherapist. Well, one intuition is good, but two, of which the second one with scientific background, is better. And yet, all or most of this path, everyone goes alone, learning from their own mistakes, finding a way out of deadlocked relationships, making their own fundamental discoveries, or accumulating a solid baggage of small but hard-won life lessons by the time the path has already led in a quiet and comfortable harbor. Since ancient times, travelers to uncharted lands left behind maps, so that those following them could see the whole picture of the path, calculate their strength, learn about the dangers that lie in wait, and not go astray at the forks.

In Enjoy, Comprehend, Love, we did the preparatory work and sketched out a schematic map, outlined landmarks and danger warnings, collected advice from wise pioneers. I hope this book will be your good companion. But you, dear reader, should not forget that you are going your own way (or off-road), because only you know what beckons you and waits there, far ahead.

Routes of Conscious Love

The author is convinced that love can be made friends with the mind, make it conscious and meaningful, while not losing the emotional richness and vivid impressions of love.

With Enjoy, Comprehend, Love you can see the stages of maturation and the versatility of love from different perspectives, as well as explore those paradoxes, riddles and traps that often lead love to a dead end and create insurmountable barriers to the conscious experience of this feeling. It will probably be difficult to learn from the book the lessons of love for all occasions, but everyone will be able to adopt two or three invaluable considerations on how to get out of difficult situations in a relationship with a loved one. Lovers are encouraged to take a fresh look at the crises of love and learn to understand them before they have to face disappointments and the fading of love.

The book contains quotes and excerpts from literary works, which, when thoughtfully read, give rise to reflection on your own path of love. And if the readers decide to turn to the full texts of the cited works, then they will again be able to plunge into the multifaceted world of grace-filled love.

Yury Tomin


Yea, if she knows not love, soon shall she feel it
Even reluctant.

Sappho. Hymn to Aphrodite

In love relationships, we, unfortunately, are accustomed to relying on feelings, the voice of reason is weak and meager. And how can it say a weighty word, if in the field of knowledge about love, significant gaps are visible from century to century.

And indeed, is there knowledge of love? Despite the common skeptical “hardly”, it is possible to give a completely positive answer. It is only this kind of knowledge that is dispersed, broken into many brilliant, but still fragments.

Therefore, before anyone who strives for conscious love, a difficult task arises – to extract and systematize knowledge, putting it in the right pyramid of many blocks of different quality, different sizes, sometimes not rubbing against each other. In other words, you need to collect these particles of knowledge into a flawless mirror for an undistorted reflection of loving human souls that are eager to look into themselves.

In the foreword, we will warm up the mind and try to prepare the readers for a journey through the spaces of conscious love. Let’s start by considering the following question:

Why do we think a lot but speak little about love?

It has been noticed that people tend to imagine more, and in truth, to dream, than to speak, and even more so to reason, that is, to think about love. What could explain this imbalance?

The philosopher Rene Descartes became famous for the fact that, questioning all the pillars of reality, he settled on the only one - a person’s own thinking.

We dare to assert that the ability to love inherent in a person is the core of his personality to the same extent as the ability to think. Why are these basic human qualities, as a rule, located at different poles? And if we make them friends, then we will most likely find that true thinking is unthinkable without love, and real love cannot be without mind.

We have yet to plunge into the philosophical jungle of love, but for now let's talk about it as a constant human thirst.

Our unrelenting thirst for love, said Leo Tolstoy, is due to the fact that “there is something special in the feeling of love, capable of resolving all the contradictions of life and giving a person that complete good, in the pursuit of which his life consists.”

Then it is not surprising that love becomes one of the main rulers of our aspirations, painful thoughts or blue dreams.

But why do we talk (converse, think) about love so little? Perhaps we lack confidence in our experiences and ideas about love, in understanding where this feeling comes from, what it does to us and why it stirs our soul.

Should we talk about love at all, that is, exchange thoughts about this elusive subject? Here you can find different, sometimes opposing points of view. Let’s get acquainted with the most striking of them.

Any reasoning about love destroys love.

(one of Leo Tolstoy’s common quotes)

In love one does not talk about love, one simply loves.

(considered the Soviet writer Konstantin Fedin)

To talk about love is to make love.

(claimed the French novelist Honore de Balzac)

Until now, only one indisputable truth has been said about love, namely, that “this mystery is great,” everything else that was written and said about love was not a solution, but only the posing of questions that remained unresolved.

(so the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov thought in the words of one of his heroes)

And in our time, there is a myth that the analytics of love is killing it. But this opinion is not substantiated in any way and relies on direct distortions of meanings and delusions.

Let us take Tolstoy’s saying that “every reasoning about love destroys love.” It is usually understood in the sense that if a lover begins to share his lofty feelings, then most likely he encounters irony, cynicism, and misunderstanding. In other words, they are afraid of jinxing or belittling love. In fact, Tolstoy’s phrase from the work On Life is taken out of context and means discomfort for love emanating from an “animal personality”, saying that one should not reason, but indulge in love – reasoning only interferes with the love of such a personality. Explaining true love, Tolstoy emphasizes:

The beginning of love, its root, is not an outburst of feeling that obscures the mind, as is usually imagined, but is the most reasonable, bright and therefore calm and joyful state characteristic of children and reasonable people.

Those who are familiar with the work of Leo Tolstoy can even see with the naked eye that behind the descriptions of love in his novels lie deep reflections on the nature of this feeling. So, the clarification that these words should be understood “just the opposite of how they are usually understood” is quite applicable to the biting quote about the destruction of love by reasoning, which he said about another statement that “one must not marry for love, but certainly with calculation”, in the sense: not “according to the calculation where and how to live, but according to the calculation, how likely it is that the future wife will help, and not interfere with living a human life.”

Therefore, if we are reasonable people, then it should be natural for us to open love to the mind, and not to reconcile ourselves to its secrets, and even more so to the eclipses of the mind. However, the intrusion of reason into the sphere of love was and is not easy.

Anton Chekhov was a tireless researcher of love and at the same time a deep skeptic. One of the heroes of his story About Love gives the following arguments about the insolubility of love issues:

First, love must be individualized, so the explanation in one case is not suitable for others. Secondly, we, Russians, only decorate our love with questions, while choosing the most uninteresting questions that irritate and remain unexplained.

The first stumbling block – the uniqueness of each of the many human lives arising from the common principles of being – was well known to ancient philosophers, so we will take their experience into service.

As for the second, we should muster up the courage to raise only interesting questions about love and persevere not to leave even the most fatal of them unanswered.

Paradoxically, most of Chekhov’s stories, novellas and plays are devoted to love, in which the author himself sought to delve into these “fatal questions”. Moreover, an astute reader can find in his works something that is associated with Chekhov’s hope for love and happiness.

But what should the answers to questions about love look like in general - will we be satisfied with Tolstoy's brilliant intuition or Chekhov's timid hope?

Here we cannot avoid at least a minimal idea of knowledge and the ways of its assimilation. To do this, let’s make a small digression to describe the nature of the human psyche.

There are different views on the structure of our psyche (in the European tradition they talk about the soul, in Buddhism – about consciousness). The ancient Greeks had a rather deep and comprehensive idea of the soul, in which they singled out its lustful and rational parts, as well as a furious spirit (Plato). In the Jewish tradition, 5 levels of the soul are defined, of which 3 are in a person: the animal soul (nefesh), the human qualities of the soul expressed by emotions (ruach), and the mind (neshama). After the works of Freud in the human psyche, it is customary to single out the conscious and the unconscious. A deeper analysis shows that there are various areas of the unconscious, and in addition, we have fantasies, imagination and premonition – all that are so activated in love. For example, Carl Jung singled out the collective unconscious, and the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan proposed his own three-component structure of the psyche: real, imaginary, symbolic.

Based on these provisions, we will further use the following model of the psyche, depicting it as a pyramid, at the base of which lie instincts, feelings and the subconscious, in the middle – imagination and reason, and in the upper part – the mind.

Accordingly, we can talk about different levels of knowledge according to the degree of awareness of our idea of love and the possibility of its verbal expression. Pay attention to the mutual influence of different levels of knowledge on each other and, most importantly, the periodic abrupt renewal of the entire pyramid when receiving new knowledge, which serves as a trigger for the transformation of our worldview and can come to us at any of the levels: in the form of new experiences and feelings, stunning fantasies, logical conclusions, rational conclusions or insights.

This or that level of knowledge is also the basis of our assessments, decisions or programs that determine behavior and regulate actions. At the same time, they work in different ways: dreaming is easy and safe, instincts work automatically, reasoning requires effort and following logic, and thinking is inseparable from doubts about the truth of existing knowledge.

Our love impulses are made up of a complex combination: first, instincts, feelings and structures of the subconscious, secondly, imagination, dreams, fantasies and other “light” forms of mental activity, thirdly, rational clearly articulated ideas, regardless of whether they are true or false, but subjectively accepted as true; fourthly, comprehension (wisdom) – understanding that goes beyond pure rationality.

What is the opponent of such a rather complex branching knowledge?

First, the generally accepted opinion (doxa), firmly established in the minds of the vast majority of individuals. Secondly, self-conceit as confidence in one’s own, albeit awkward, but rightness. Thirdly, common sense as a way of preferring something concrete, obvious and useful, which is “deaf to the language of philosophy”.

Then, if we begin to study love, then we will have a multi-level, with cyclical updates, consistent progress from “everyday truths” - knowledge A to harmonized knowledge B.

As for the truth of knowledge B, it is rather difficult to judge this, as it has been known for two millennia since the interrogation of Jesus of Nazareth by procurator Pilate. Let's leave this difficult nut to the philosophers.

However, let us take into service the following rule, if not of absolute truth, then of the authenticity of the required knowledge. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger (“On the Essence of Truth”) showed that the essence of truth is freedom, understood as openness to what in life opens up to meet us. If this is so, then we should be extremely attentive and careful to what is revealed to us in love. Looking ahead, let’s say that ignoring and insensitivity to the messages of love become one of the main reasons for its extinction.

In addition, it is necessary to take into account two more aspects of the quality of knowledge about love.

First, while gaining knowledge, one should remember that there is a criterion for the difference between knowledge and understanding - when a person not only has accumulated something inside himself, but can also pass it on and teach it to others. Secondly, we are talking about the geometry of our knowledge - the relative length of its constituent segments (Plato used such a visual image) or, using another image, the ratio of the layers of the pyramid of knowledge in our psyche. The super-task that a reasonable person can strive for in his life is to build and fill his own pyramid of knowledge about love according to an ideal model and thereby make love a full-blooded conscious content of life.

Summing up the reasoning and answering the question of why we talk little about love, we admit that conversations, as a rule, do not go beyond the exchange of opinions or prevalent thoughtful judgments and the best that is achieved in them is common sense. But everyone internally knows that you can’t go far in love with common sense and you’re unlikely to be truly happy. For example, today common sense says something about marriage that is completely different from what it said yesterday, say, in the 19th or 20th century, and it is not known what it will prepare for us tomorrow?

We must also warn you about one feature of the study and disclosure of the secrets of love, which can be called “unsafe territory of knowledge.”

The fact is that the study of love relationships, acquaintance with certain theories and practices can radically change your current idea of love, with which, perhaps, you are quite comfortable. What’s more, as psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, author of Love 2.0, argues, you may learn that love is not what people usually think of it, and you may have to change your point of view and live within a different worldview.

Most likely, the journey through the spaces of love offered in this book will change your idea of romantic love. If, for one reason or another, you value your ideas and are afraid of destroying them, then you should not join us. One thing we can guarantee you is that the growth of awareness in love does not lead to a decrease in its emotional richness, on the contrary, you will experience new bright colors and discover the delightful horizons of boundless love.

I would like to wish the brave: good luck and new discoveries on the roads of love!

So, despite warnings about the possible loss of our own, perhaps narrow, but familiar and comfortable world of tender feelings, following the example of great minds, we choose the path of research and reflection on love in the hope of finding the desired full-fledged (high) conscious love. But before we hit the road, let’s check the equipment. Since thought operates with words and language, let’s look at the conformity and serviceability of the tools we use in relation to the knowledge of love.

Lexicon of love. What is love?

With the words of love – it vocabulary – the situation is not at all simple.

Let's start with examples of verbal creativity that goes from heart to heart - the song genre:

How do I dare to tell about it? I walk, not daring to give free rein to the words … My dear darling, guess for yourself!

(sounds in the popular song “Oh, the viburnum is blooming”)

You talk to me about love, but the conversation started in vain. I listen to your words, but they mean nothing.

(reported in the song from the movie “Three Days in Moscow”)

The intrigue in these widely known love songs is connected precisely with the words of love: their absence or their nonsense.

Without pretending to be an exhaustive classification, the following areas of the language of love can be distinguished: poetry, various genres of literary prose, psychology, philosophy, metaphysics, as well as folk wisdom in the form of proverbs and sayings or aphorisms stylized as proverbs.

Separately, there is obscene language. The discomfort caused by it, apparently, testifies to the approach in our innermost to the lower boundary of love, which separates the qualities of humanity and animal instincts. Sex is undoubtedly included in love, but only in forms isolated from obscene language.

It is easy to see that depending on which language we choose, the level, volume, and, most importantly, the possible semantic field of reflection (discourse) about love is set.

The language of Proverbs and Sayings

Each of us has some favorite or otherwise stuck in the head sayings about love. For example:

Love is a ring, and there is no end to the ring.

Love will teach a priest to dance.

Old love is remembered.

The heart is not a stone.

In love, women know everything that they have not been taught.

Love is like glass: if it breaks, it won’t grow together.

Was love invented by troubadours in the 11th century?

Love is a play where intermissions are major than acts.

We accept or reject these sparkling aphorisms, but in any case, they affect our understanding of love. Let’s pay attention to the reflection of rather deep questions in them:

The riddle and the role of first love: Old love is remembered. A little later we will meet the same thought in another language in a brilliant poem by Nabokov.

Mirroring of love or infection with love: The heart is not a stone. Martin Eden, thinking about Ruth’s love for him, finds just such the only reasonable and correct explanation for the fact that she fell in love with him.

How to emphasize the saying about women: In love, women know everything that they have not been taught? 1. Women know everything. 2. They have not been taught and don’t need to, because they know (or think they know). 3. Love is not taught, but women learn faster, educate themselves and then teach men.


Poetic language has a special place in love. It is the closest to her. Allows with its wonderful techniques to convey the rich variety of this quivering feeling. Poetry equips us with metaphors. And our consciousness is arranged in such a way that the images of metaphors in their figurative meaning convey love experiences that are consonant with us faster and more voluminously.

For example, one of Vladimir Nabokov’s filigree poems:

Enclosed together in a crystal sphere,

high in the sky among the stars we flew.

As silently at breakneck speed we’d steer

along the flashing points of blissful blue.

With neither a past nor a goal to chase,

fused by the rapture of eternity,

we flew through heavens in a deep embrace,

as stars smiled, blinding us with their beauty.

Then someone’s sigh smashed our sphere of crystal,

brought our ecstatic travels to an end,

and interrupting our kiss eternal,

apart, as captives, forced us to descend.

Earthbound we’ve forgotten much of our flight,

But sometimes in our dreams we do regress:

We shimmer with the stardust and delight

to the lovely hum and pulse of stillness.

And though we still rejoice and grieve apart,

I’ll always recognize your face, I trust,

among all others, beautiful and smart:

your eyelashes’ ends will glow with stardust.

(translated by Mila Gee)

It would seem that poetry is the ideal language of love. And this consideration is not unreasonably shared by many. Let’s look at the place of poetry in the pyramid of knowledge we use. It is primarily associated with our dreams, fantasies, and imaginations. But in poetry, we also sense something more than what is contained in the words used.

A talented verse carries and conveys to us surprisingly filled meanings that are perceived beyond both imagination and rational thinking. It can be said that our mind, on the wings of poetry, rises to the heights or sinks to the depths of the understanding of love.

The very poetic inspiration coincides in many ways with the thrill of love and the rise of a loving soul. The interpenetration of these experiences is expressed in the chased lines of another poem by Nabokov:

Inspiration is the voluptuousness

of the human self:

a hotly growing happiness, –

a moment of nothingness.

The voluptuousness is the inspiration…

of a body as sensitive as the spirit:

you have seen, you have flashed for a moment, –

and in a tremor you are extinguished.

But when the thunderous pleasure

was gone, and you fell silent,

in the secret place of life arose:

a heart or a verse…

Love Prose or Love Stories

As for love prose, it has the difficult task of choosing between dry or moist words about love, as the psychologist Eric Berne elegantly observed. In terms of reflections on love, many works of fiction and popular science literature belong to the genre of love stories. In our youth, we are fascinated by the dramatic fate of the characters, we empathize with their anxious feelings, and sometimes we put off in our minds the images that have excited us. At a mature age, we are able to follow the vicissitudes of love’s fates with sympathetic understanding, but with unwavering fascination. Talented love stories can provide rich food for thought, but tend to leave us with only a vague, vanishing trace.

In prose, our brain reacts to the plot, the sequences of events, the fates of the characters, and their connections. Perhaps neurobiologists are right to point out that similar structures – sequences of electrical signals and intricate connections of neurons – operate in our minds.

We will make extensive use of outstanding love stories in the subsequent work as the most vivid mental images to illustrate thinking about love.


In the language of philosophy, we turn to the initial, basic concepts of love, generalizing its main properties and deep sources. So, the ancient Greeks, when speaking of love, used the following concepts: Agape - sacrificial unconditional love, Eros - passionate love, Ludus - love-game, Mania - love as an obsession, Philia - love-friendship, Pragma - rational love as mutual services, Storge - love as family affection, Xenia - love as generosity and hospitality.

In the philosophy of love, one can often find the justification of love as an in-depth consideration of one or more of its above-mentioned sides. For example, in 1973, Canadian sociologist John Alan Lee, in his book Colours of Love, proposed considering three basic (Eros, Storge, Ludus), three combined styles of love (Mania (EL), Pragma (SL), Agape (ES)) and nine tertiary, and this classification was confirmed by sociological surveys.

There are other philosophical theories of love that connect it with a single, as a rule, metaphysical source. For example, the supreme good, the cosmic generative force or God. Here, the intellectual efforts of the authors of such theories go beyond conceivable limits to the level associated with prophecy or other superhuman breakthrough of consciousness. Therefore, in our journey through the spaces of conscious love, only when absolutely necessary will we delve into the wilds of this fog-covered realm.

Fortunately, ancient people created quite fascinating ways of describing it allegorically, in modern terms, a virtual visit to metaphysical origins. In this vein, we will touch on the topic of the metaphysics of love.

Metaphysics of love

In this area of our thinking, we seek to discover what precedes the earthly manifestation of love, which is its transcendent beginning, cause and ultimate goal. This is done by resorting to special intellectual constructions, such as myths.

In ancient times, love was represented in the form of mythological creatures: Aphrodite (Venus) – the goddess of love, born either from sea foam, or in a shell and set foot on the ground on the island of Cyprus. Her husband is the lame Hermes (their descendant is Hermaphrodite). From her lover, the god of war Ares, the god of love, Eros (Cupid), was born. Aphrodite was in love with the earthly handsome Adonis, who was killed by Ares incarnated into a boar.

From the union of Ares and Aphrodite, Himeros (god of sexual desire), Eros (love), Anteros (hatred from love), Pophos (god of love longing), Phobos (fear), Deimos (horror) and Harmonia (goddess of consent) were born.

Plato also cites another myth about the birth of Eros from Poros, the god of abundance and wealth (his mother Metida – the goddess of wisdom and cunning) and the nymph Phenia – the deity of nature, a symbol of need and poverty.

For example, in the myth of Eros and Psyche, the soul is represented by the image of Psyche. Accordingly, this myth is an allegory about the path of the human soul in love. You can familiarize yourself with it.

We will draw your attention to the fact that Psyche’s curiosity twice leads her to almost disastrous consequences. Wanting to see her mysterious lover, she burns Eros with oil from a lamp, and he flies to Olympus. Then, fulfilling the task of Aphrodite, she, having received in the kingdom of the dead from Persephone (goddess of fertility) a box with miraculous beauty tools, opens it and falls into eternal sleep.

These episodes can be viewed as a warning against the dangers that await those who seek to penetrate the innermost secrets of love, that is, you and me, dear readers. However, the risks are not fatal – Zeus grants Psyche immortality. Let us take note of this and continue our preparations for the journey through the spaces of love.


The language of science is a tribute to the special turn of the modern mind, which cannot do without scientific confirmation of certain considerations through laboratory experiments or in situ observations. The areas of psychological research on love are vast and varied, from observing facial expressions, measuring the physiological reactions of lovers, and large-scale surveys of men and women about their intimate lives, to analyzing love hormones and scanning the brains of test subjects in different states of love relationships. At the same time, one can hardly point to any new discoveries made in psychology, ethology, social psychology and other scientific disciplines that have turned to the study of love, because love is as old as the world and a lot has already been said.

The achievements of the sciences so far boil down mainly to giving us the opportunity to talk about love in a more modern and sterile language in the hope of understanding and more clearly formulating the innermost mysteries of love known for a long time to a select few.

At the same time, it should be borne in mind that in modern psychology one can find a fairly large variety of approaches to determining the origins of our tender attachments and, accordingly, theories of love.

Here are some definitions of love in psychology:

Love is the highest emotion.

Love is a strong desire for a relationship with a single, specific partner.

Love is an intense feeling associated with sexual arousal, the desire to be one’s own personally significant traits with the maximum fullness represented in the life of another.

Psychologists have tried, but so far cannot satisfactorily resolve the following hard questions of love:

1. Love undergoes a transformation of its states throughout the life cycle. For example, falling in love and mature love.

2. Love is distributed between two lovers and depends on the degree of reciprocity.

3. Love covers different levels and structures of the human psyche.

4. Manifestations of love coincide with the symptoms of mental disorders.

Perhaps we use the same word to describe completely different mental states? In this regard, the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood wittily observed that “the Eskimos have 52 words for snow, because this is important to them. There should be at least as many words for love.”

In what follows, we will dive into sterilized by the logic waters of 5–6 basic concepts of love from the baggage of psychological science.

Summing up our acquaintance with the languages of love, we can conclude that, going on a journey through the spaces of love, one should be prepared to talk about it in different languages. The task is not easy if you do not notice their interrelation. The scientific concepts of the psychology of love stem from philosophical ideas and are rooted in metaphysical insights. Literary images deepen and embellish the psychology of love with the language of everyday or refined prose, as well as with chased formulas of poetic inspiration. Poetry, in turn, often elevates to philosophical generalizations.

Let us now get acquainted with two well-known researchers of the driving forces of love attraction – the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and the psychologist Sigmund Freud, whose delusions are also valuable for comprehending the mysteries of love.

Following the Love Theories Leading Down

Arthur Schopenhauer, at the time of writing his famous essay “The Metaphysics of Sexual Love” in 1844, considered love as “philosophically undeveloped material.” He was not satisfied with the reflections on the love of his predecessors: Plato (myths and legends), Rousseau (wrong), Kant (superficial), Spinoza (naive). He proposed his own original solution to the riddle of love, which consists in the fact that, on the one hand, it is nothing more than “some kind of ghost woven out of thin air,” and, on the other hand, “the most powerful and active of all the springs of being.” Schopenhauer gives a wide range of examples of the power of love. For example, it is “the ultimate goal of almost every human aspiration,” has “a harmful effect on the most important matters and events,” gets “with its notes and curls even into ministerial briefcases and philosophical manuscripts,” takes away “the conscience of the honest and makes a traitor of the faithful.”

The solution to the riddle of love, according to Schopenhauer, is that it has its own special ultimate goal, which is “more important than other goals of human life.” This goal is hidden from lovers by nature and replaced by more reliable stimuli associated with selfish goals of pleasure. It aims to “create the next generation.” In his aphoristic manner, Schopenhauer conveys the main idea of his own theory of love: “the pleasure that the other sex gives us, no matter how objectively it may seem, is in fact nothing more than a disguised instinct, that is, the spirit of a kin, striving to preserve its type.”

According to this theory, when passionate gazes of lovers meet, they are guided by the emerging new life. It is true that Schopenhauer has to admit that the sparks of love “like all embryos are for the most part crushed.” The desire for beautiful women, which, along with the sexual instinct, guides the choice of an object, is also inherent in us by nature, as the attraction of the spirit of the kin to the “norm of human appearance.” The spirit of the kin through the sense of beauty and sexual instinct ignites our reckless passionate love. However, the choice of a marriage partner is made taking into account a number of individual reasonable considerations, such as obtaining qualities that oneself lacks in order to “correct the generic defect.”

In accordance with his theory, Schopenhauer explains some of the paradoxical manifestations of love. He sees a contradiction in poets who dream of endless bliss with a certain woman, but yearn and grieve that ideal love is unattainable. The explanation is that these dreams are not the direct needs of the individual, but the “sighs of the race”, which alone can have infinite desires.

Schopenhauer’s theory of love cannot be denied coherent logic, and most importantly, the exposure of key issues involved in love relationships. We must fully agree that love has its own ultimate goal, which is hidden in a host of turbulent feelings and is not fixed by our consciousness. But the sexual instinct and procreation as the essence of love, with all their significance, still miss something important and are too far from the main thing that everyone directly experiences in love. There is an internal dissonance and a desire to continue the search for another not so mundane center of gravity of love.

It is tempting to exclaim after Vladimir Nabokov: “Oh, love. I’m going back down the ladder of years for your mystery”, and try to get to where “I was only a small comma on the first page of creation.” At the same time, one would hope that this jump back will only be a swing for a throw forward.

Moving down the ladder of years on the love map is indicated by a series of warning signs about slippery roads and dead ends. One of them is located just behind the sign: “Entrance to the territory of the libido of the Great and Terrible Sigmund Freud.” Having wandered here among the embryos of sexual activity in early childhood, the crazy fixations of the libido on various, sometimes bizarre objects, one can leave with the disappointing impression that “love is fundamentally as animalistic now as it has been for centuries. Love inclinations are difficult to cultivate, their cultivation sometimes gives too much, sometimes too little.”

One of the critics of Freud’s theory, the social psychologist Erich Fromm, believed that Freud considered only irrational love associated with the transfer of children’s objects of love, and as a phenomenon of mature consciousness, love for him did not exist.

Despite the fact that in modern psychology Freud’s theory of love occupies an honorable, but rather limited place among other worthy concepts, here and there one can meet straightforward followers of Freudianism. For example, media psychologist Mikhail Labkovsky believes that “love is your childhood experiences about relationships with parents,” and explains all problems in relationships on the basis of neurotic failures of children’s love for their parents.

However, not everything is so hopelessly determined. In the Freudian construction of the psyche, self-libido and object-libido are distinguished. The self-libido stems from childhood delusions of omnipotence and narcissism and develops under the influence of significant others into the sef-ideal. According to Freud, “falling in love consists in the outpouring of the self-libido on the object,” and “the sexual ideal can enter into an interesting relationship of mutual assistance with the self-ideal.” The object of love can even act as a “substitute for the never achieved self-ideal.” Now this is more interesting. So let’s leave the zone of Freudianism, considering how in our subconscious mind the ideal sexual object interacts with the self-ideal, while we are in love with a specific person in the flesh.

It is no secret that the theories of Schopenhauer and Freud, as well as other conceptualizations of love, are a reflection of the individual worldviews and psychological peculiarities of their authors. Recklessly following their logic, we involuntarily fall into the trap of a perception of love predetermined by these features and already chewed. Moreover, the trap that our thinking falls into becomes voluntary for a number of reasons. Having spent a lot of time and effort trying to understand the premises of a popular theory, its new concepts, the logic of reasoning, conclusions or inconsistencies, we involuntarily begin to appreciate what we have acquired for lack of a better one.

It seems that the search for the laws of love exclusively in the wake of concepts that appeal to reason leads either to the camp of sectarians - the witnesses of Freud, Schopenhauer, Spinoza, Feuerbach, Frome and other gurus of love, or to the detachment of eternally wandering from one ready-made theory of love to another.

We will describe the strategy of our path, which consists in combining the phenomenological and structural approaches with the involvement, if necessary, of other tools of thinking, but for now we will complete a short review of theories of love, pointing out the main, in our opinion, sources of the theory of conscious love.

The types and paths of love according to Sigmund Freud

Sources of the Theory of Conscious Love

At the beginning of the 19th century, taking on a boldness bordering on impudence, the French writer Stendhal published his experiments On Love. He foresaw the hard fate of this “ill-fated book” and ten years after its publication “found only seventeen readers.” A hundred years later, the laws of love outlined in the Experiments were chosen as the starting point, the “erroneous” conclusions of which needed to be identified and corrected, to create the insightful Etudes on Love by the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset. By this time, the “ill-fated book” had become “one of the most widely read books.” The author of Etudes notes that it is not only “read with rapture”, but is also an element of the boudoir entourage of “the marquise, actress and society lady”, indicating that “they should understand love.”

These dives into the nature of love, separated by a century, form two poles of intense intellectual efforts of the new time, two bright searchlights that penetrate new shells of illusions and delusions and shed light on the primordial territory of the space of love. It is possible, using a well-known aphorism, to say with confidence that all subsequent theories of love are notes in the margins of Experiments and Etudes.

Stendhal is an example of an interested observer who, in a string of love affairs and turmoil of infatuations, both his own and those of the high society he observes, suddenly discovers amazing regularity and inevitable patterns of love. Ortega y Gasset, in his study of the paradoxes and mysteries of love in contemporary society, relies on the seemingly long-gone ideas of Plato’s love and rediscovers the deep, unshakable true essence of love.

As for Plato’s own dives into the nature of love, which are an invaluable treasure trove of revelations, it should be noted that access to them requires preparation and the use of special methods of thinking. Plato’s love dialogues Lysis, Phaedrus and Symposium, which seem to reveal the mysteries of love, have often been the source of new myths and misconceptions. For example, the myth of exemplary “Platonic love” as a purely spiritual love in isolation from bodily attraction is widely circulated. Another example: the famous Ukrainian philosopher Andriy Baumeister believes that in the dialogue Symposium Plato hides behind the mask of Aristophanes and, accordingly, his speech about the separation of androgynes and their desire to merge with their half reveals the essence of love.

The works of these three authors (Plato, Stendhal, Ortega y Gasset) have become for us the cornerstones of the pyramid of knowledge about the nature of conscious love, and we will further examine their ideas in detail.

For now, as an aside, let’s join join the participants in the table conversation about love, which has become a philosophical tradition, and reflect on a passage from the works of Plato. In the dialogue Symposium, where the lovers of wise speeches decide to talk about the god of love Eros, Agathon (his speech is the fifth) lists what properties Eros has:

Beauty and perfection: young – avoids old age; gentle – dwells only in soft souls and leaves if it meets a harsh temper; flexible forms – enters the soul imperceptibly; handsome – lives among flowers, where everything blooms and smells sweet, does not stay with the pale and faded.

Virtues:: he does not recognize any violence – only voluntary and mutual consent; prudence – the ability to curb desires and passions, and since passions are weaker than Eros, it means that he is unusually reasonable; courage – even takes possession of Ares, the god of war, the lover of Aphrodite, i.e. ready to compete with him.

Wisdom: source of poetry, gives rise to all living things, skill in arts (muses) and crafts (dealing with love).

The ordering of all the affairs of the gods: earlier, the reason for what was created by the gods was Necessity (terrible deeds), with the advent of Eros, deeds began to be done out of love for the beautiful.

And at the end of the speech, he cannot refrain from the sublime poetic syllable:

Tolerant to the good, honored by the wise, beloved by the gods; the sigh of the unlucky, the wealth of the fortunate; the father of luxury, grace and bliss, joys, passions and desires; guarding the noble, and despising the worthless, he is the best mentor, helper, savior and companion in fears, and in torment, and in thoughts, and in languor.

But this seemingly beautiful and exhaustive speech that characterizes Eros is far from the truth, which Socrates reveals, figuring out, for example, that if in love they strive for something, they want to get what they themselves do not possess, what they need, and, consequently, Eros cannot be perfectly beautiful and immensely good, since he strives for beauty and goodness. So the true properties of Eros and the mysteries of love will already be revealed by Socrates in the next speech of the dialogue Symposium.

I hope this example gives you an idea that it is not uncommon to find fascinating, enthusiastic claims of truth about love that are actually superficial and do not reveal the true driving forces of love.

And now let’s try to delve a little into the nature of the influence of love on our life path in big and small ways and consider how self-knowledge and conscious love correlate.

Self-Knowledge and Conscious Love

Here we would like to show the close connection of conscious love with one of the main tasks set (by the ancient gods) for man, expressed in the maxim: “Know thyself.”

An example of exceptional devotion to self-knowledge and life, inextricably linked with its study, is the ancient philosopher Socrates. Legend has it that the Pythia of the Delphic Temple foretold him that he was the wisest of men. Since he was extremely surprised by such a flattering prophecy, this prompted Socrates to look for people who would be wiser than him. Unlike other “wise men”, who were unconditionally confident in their knowledge, Socrates doubted both the solutions offered by others and his own knowledge. He was ready to critically analyze any questions in order to find more substantiated answers closer to the truth in joint reasoning. As a result of such conversations, he came to the conclusion that his small advantage in wisdom lies precisely in his openness to new knowledge. Socrates considered life without its exploration meaningless.

In Plato’s dialogue Symposium, Socrates, as if contradicting himself, declares himself an expert in love affairs: “I affirm that I do not understand anything but love.” But then the contradiction in his statements can be avoided only by concluding that love is the very path he has chosen to study life – a constant search for and approximation to the truth.

As for the personal life of Socrates, he married somewhere at the age of 50 to twenty-year-old Xanthippe and had three children. There are a number of stories about their uneasy relationship. In particular, Socrates, recommending a man to marry, argued this as follows: “If you are lucky and your wife is good, you will become happy, if you are not lucky, you will be a philosopher.” There are also references to his second wife, Mirto. We will talk more about his relationship with his disciple and handsome Alcibiades in the chapter Platonic Love.

As Professor Mitchell Greene of Edinburgh University puts it today, the lesson of Socrates is that without examining our own qualities, experiences, preferences and what really benefits us, we impoverish our own life, make it less meaningful, insufficiently virtuous and incompetent. Choosing the path of exploring our own existence, we insure ourselves against many unpleasant surprises that are possible in life. The main question related to the study of one’s own life, in a modern way, sounds like this:

Is this really what I truly want?

Let’s try in the same vein to ask questions inherent in conscious love. They might look like this:

To what extent have my expectations been met during the actual relationship?

Would I like to make our relationship lighter and brighter?

How conscious am I in my relationship with my partner?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may appreciate the need for a deeper understanding of love and relationships with your chosen one.

With the book Enjoy, Comprehend, Love you will hopefully have an exciting journey through the spaces of conscious love. However, this is not an excursion for the sake of idle curiosity and not a mass tourist route. Developing the ability to love will require your active participation. It will be a joint exploratory trek through the little-explored, full of paradoxical phenomena, spaces of love relationships.


Sacred and Profane Love. Titian, 1514

There is a treasure in my soul

And the key is entrusted only to me!

Alexander Blok. The Stranger

Starting a dive to the origins of love, where things that await us are, according to Ortega y Gasset, “mechanical, formulaic and, in essence, spiritless quality,” it will not be superfluous to re-read the poem by Anna Akhmatova, replacing the word “poem” with “love.”

I wish you knew the kind of garbage heap

Wild verses grow on, paying shame no heed,

Like dandelions yellowing a fence,

Like burdock and bindweed.

An angered yell, the bracing scent of tar,

And walls with runic mildew like a sign…

And soon a tender, testy poem answers

To your delight and mine.

Now, having admired the work of the magic wand of “joy,” we can confess, together with Alexander Pushkin, that when we fall in love, we are glad to be deceived, despite the “sickness of love in my soul.” It has long been observed that in life, as in most literary works, the incomprehensible romantic epic of lovers unfolds in a bizarre combination of the euphoria of joy and the experience of love sickness.

If you do not rush headlong into one extreme or another and do not flounce between them, then you can go in two ways: try to find something special, really sprouting from these poles of the crystal sphere of love, or recognize all this as an illusion, deception, a game with a hidden purpose.

How, then, should one move towards the comprehension of love, which, undoubtedly, is a complex, multifaceted and at the same time an energetically intense and emotionally charged phenomenon?

We propose to start by listening sensitively to the very sensations and experiences of love, and in this we will rely on poets, and then we will try to carefully discern the core, which is a full-fledged single source of the entire diverse palette of feelings of love. And if we guess it, we can determine the assemblage point for filling the pyramid of knowledge about love.

Metamorphosis of the Self

First of all, falling in love with another person means moving into a different state, which is revealed by a new quality of inner sensations and perception of the external world. This new state, a different reality of the Self, permeates and captivates the person in love. All our mental processes (sensations, perceptions, thoughts, decisions, behavior) are enlivened, filled with high energy, bursting beyond their usual boundaries, expanding their horizons, and entering new orbits.

In this state, we admire the object of love, look around differently and at the same time rediscover ourselves: we involuntarily feel a change in our inner tone, we are surprised to discover new traits in ourselves, carefully listen to the emergence of something unusual and at the same time joyful and with satisfaction we plunge into a previously unknown bliss.

A mosaic of new internal processes and previously unfamiliar qualities can fleetingly or for a longer time form into a single picture of some kind of internal harmony so that we kind of begin to see ourselves from the outside, benevolently contemplating our new incarnation, but at the same time not being completely sure that all this is happening to us. Such an unexpected gift of falling in love – a breakthrough into a parallel contemplative state, seeing yourself from a different assemblage point – is similar to the state achieved in the process of meditation, but you experience it not in solitary silence, but in a seething accelerated life stream.

This new self-image, born of falling in love, ghostly and fleeting, and at the same time beautiful and alluring, becomes our new inner reality. It begins to influence all our mental processes. We can no longer evaluate, decide and do something the old way – a more significant, more understanding and more confident inner voice begins to interfere in everything. Our Self begins to transform in the direction of this new image.

In those moments of falling in love, when our consciousness becomes light and airy, we can also feel the fantastic plasticity of the outside world, because under the influence of our thought and will it transforms as we wish. Unfortunately, we cannot stop these moments, they only open the veil of possibility to the innermost desires of our soul.

The following quote is not lines from a fiction book: “he felt completely independent of the body: he moved without muscle effort and felt that he could do anything. He was sure that he would fly up or move the corner of the house, if necessary,” this is the state of love of Konstantin Levin (a rather mature thirty-two-year-old man, the hero of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina).

The phenomenon of going beyond the boundaries of one’s own Self is a surprise not only to the man in love, but also to those around him – his behavior is so unusual, mysterious and inexplicable. Only a few from the inner circle and sages can take to heart and share what happens to a person in love. It is even more difficult to describe it in words or convey it in clear images.

Let’s try to take a closer look at Vladimir Nabokov’s description of Being in Love in the poem of the same name. This poem is remarkable in that the author, having composed it in Russian and passed it on to his beloved in English translation, comments on what he wanted to express in “philosophical love verses.”

The poems I started composing after I met Iris were meant to deal with her actual, unique traits <…> My instrument, however, was still too blunt and immature; it could not express the divine detail, and her eyes, her hair became hopelessly generalized in my otherwise well-shaped strophes <…> On the night of July 20, however, I composed a more oblique, more metaphysical little poem <…> The title of the poem <…> — Vljublennost’, which puts in a golden nutshell what English needs three words to express.

We forget that being in love

is not just the facial angle of the loved one,

but is a bottomless spot under the nenuphars,

a swimmer panic in the night.

While dreaming, dream of being in love,

but do not torment us with awakening,

and reticence is better,

than that chink and that moonbeam.

I remind you that being in love

is not sheer reality, that the markings are not the same

that, may be, the hereafter

stands slightly ajar in the dark.

Looking into himself, the young poet discovers that being in love is not only our fantasies about the charms of the beloved, but first of all it is a special state of our Self and, moreover, “a reality of a different kind,” which is terribly unreliable, but attractive in its boundlessness and mystery.

It is quite shared, but not obvious, the young poet’s fear and his unwillingness to look into the half-opened slit of the future. What is there really to be afraid of the lover? Not at all infernal darkness, as one might think, but the return of the Self transformed by love into ordinary reality, the foretaste of which brings gloomy tones to the vivid picture of being in love.

(Those who are interested in the girl’s reaction to these verses, her questions and the poet’s explanations, I refer to Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Look at the Harlequins!).

The poetic metaphors of Vladimir Nabokov’s Vljublennost’ quite accurately expressed the main directions of the profound comprehension of love.

At almost the same time, Ortega y Gasset published his Etudes on Love, in which the philosopher presented, based on keen reflections on the nature of love, his understanding of the core content of love as going beyond one’s own Self.

In Etudes, he sets out to define and understand what is love between a man and a woman “in itself as such.” What filled the theme of love at the beginning of the 20th century, he considered unsatisfactory. On the one hand, these were numerous “love stories” where the essence of love was blurred by various circumstances. On the other hand, there were obvious mistakes in the “theories of heart feelings” created by the great philosophers. The settled reduction of love to “desire, attraction, striving for something” (Thomas Aquinas) cannot act as the main content of love, since desire dies, and “love is eternal dissatisfaction.” Also, for love itself, one cannot take its positive emotional manifestations, such as “the joy of knowing the object of love” (Benedict Spinoza), since love happens to be sad, hopeless, causing torment and suffering.

Ortega y Gasset sees a completely different core in love and concludes: “In an outburst of love, a person breaks out of one’s Self; maybe this is the best thing that Nature has come up with so that we all have the opportunity to move toward something else in overcoming ourselves.”

Having defined the primary content of love, he emphasizes its essential qualities. The feeling of love “in its innermost intimacy as a manifestation of inner life” is:

— active emotional practice, caring;

— continuous spiritual radiation emanating from the lover and directed to the beloved, enveloping him with warmth, tenderness, and contentment;

— invisible connection, where hearts beat nearby at any distance;

— life-affirmation, creation and nurturing the object of love in the soul.

Ortega y Gasset insists that by following this theory of love, one can separate true love from pseudo-love. At the same time, the emotional composition of true love does not change, despite a long separation and a change in the physical condition or social status of the object of love, since it comes from a new person transformed by this love.

Let’s try to summarize our reasoning about the “frenetic stage” of love. In the state of falling in love our Self discovers and penetrates into another (internal and external) reality, acquires tremendous mental strength, overcoming any burdens, feels the possibility to get closer, and in some ways even gets closer to the Self-ideal and in this new quality enjoys the meeting with the equally ephemeral ideal image of the partner.

Spaces of desire are materialized by the field of action. It is difficult to predict what the result of the process of our inner transformation and change of our position in the world around us launched by falling in love will be, but we can assume that success will depend not so much on our initial abilities to live and love, as on commitment to the image of our boundless Self that has so wonderfully opened up.

There is a rather long period of time before the main test of the Self transformed by falling in love – the collision with reality – which is estimated by psychologists to be from six months to a year. In the meantime, under the influence of these unusual mental transformations, such facets of love as passion and intimacy are surprisingly revealed and filled.

We will now move on to consider these major energies of love, but we will conclude this topic with three additions.

First, let's decorate our reflections with the following quote:

Don’t you see that everyone is looking for himself? – asked the English philosopher Francis Bacon 400 years ago and answered with conviction: – And only the one who loves finds.

Second, let’s explain another participatory thinking technique used in this book. We will periodically return to the main provisions of the theory of conscious love in order to see them from a different angle based on new considerations, to connect them with other levels of their manifestation and to consider the clarifying questions that have arisen. So we will continue to wash the bones, or, more precisely, the gears, of the transformation processes of the Self

Third, I suggest that you independently reflect on the proposed schematic illustration of the transformation of the Self in love.

Now we have to mentally master such a willful part of the psyche as passion.

Transformation of the Self in love: intense internal processes, a new perception of the world, going beyond the limits of the Self, staying in the image of the Self-ideal, interaction with the ideal image of a partner.


Passion, or the irresistible desire to get close to the object of love, has two components: sexual and romantic.

In psychology, sexuality is associated with erotic arousal, involuntary attraction and instinctive behavior towards people of the opposite sex. These physiological and behavioral responses are well studied, and the so-called human sexual response cycle acts as the center of attraction for them.

The characteristic stages of the cycle of sexual pleasure are the arousal phase for certain erotic stimuli, the plateau phase, orgasm, and relief. The average length of the cycle ranges from 3 to 7 minutes. After reading these medical details of sexual intercourse, anyone who has experienced love will feel that something most important has been missed, perhaps because it is difficult to express in words, much less to measure. But what certainly raises suspicion is the adequacy of the scale of psychological stopwatches. The fact is that erotic caresses and the plateau phase in sexual intercourse can be felt as endless pleasure, and physiological cycles can stretch immensely in time or immediately resume. Lovers may involuntarily plunge into a state of subtle vibrations, an analog of which is purposefully achieved in tantric practices.

We will return to the discussion of these and other features of the sexual element of passion in the section Sexual Activity, but now let us turn our attention to the much more interesting, but overshadowed by its erotic counterpart, the romantic component of passion.

The romantic ingredient in passionate attraction is associated with an increased intensity of emotional reactions and a stormy activation of the imagination of partners, inspired by love.

The content of fantasies embracing lovers is filled with the idealization of everything that surrounds them, as well as with heroic images, adventure plots, and sometimes mystical insights. It is no coincidence that lovers are so susceptible to fortune-telling, omens, and other mysterious rituals. The underlying basis of these processes can be described in terms of the concept of archetypes proposed by the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Gustav Jung.

The hidden layers of our psyche, formed by the collective unconscious, open before the inspired Self of the lover. These experiences are reflected in the mind by certain archetypal images and symbols (seeker, warrior, magician, sage, jester, creator, ruler, Don Juan, etc.), which push its usual boundaries and stimulate the expansion of the lover’s personality. Hence follows the various romantic obsessions of lovers: creative inspiration, ardent affection, willingness to eliminate any rival or offender, actions involving unjustified risks, wanderings, and other unusual states and deeds.

Stormy mental processes in a state of romantic attraction in the recent past were mistaken for mania, insanity, mental disorder. This terminology, albeit in a somewhat simplified sense, is still used today to describe falling in love in both fiction and scientific literature.

Let’s take a small digression to look at the approaches proposed by science to the description of the passionate attraction that interests us.

In psychology, the romance of being in love, scientifically speaking, “the tendency of people to establish strong tender attachments with singled out people”, is addressed in attachment theory, which draws on patterns of mother-child relationships, along the lines of obtaining security, support, reassurance and encouragement.

In 1979, American psychologist Dorothy Tennow expanded attachment theory with the concept of limerence to characterize the special romantic state that suddenly fills the minds of lovers. She identified the typical signs of such a state, but she was unable to identify a single pattern (cause-effect relationship) of the emergence of romantic feelings.

In the process of attachment formation, Tennov noted, “emotions of affection and admiration involuntarily arise, accompanied by uninvited obsessive thoughts, feelings, actions ranging from euphoria to despair, depending on the perception of feelings of reciprocity.” The state of limerence pulsates on a balance of uncertainty and hope, and then fades away after the moment of sexual intimacy or engagement. Such a state can be quite long (from 18 to 36 months), but it is unstable and turns into a caringly tender relationship or fades away irrevocably and sadly.

Falling in love continues to be a difficult problem in science, just like the problem of consciousness. In order to be convinced of this and yet discover some of the habits of this willful energy of love, let us follow in the footsteps of its literary images.

The case of the rise and fall of tender affection about two centuries ago was vividly described by Nikolai Karamzin in Poor Liza: “Their dates continued; but how everything has changed! Erast could no longer be content with only the innocent caresses of his Lisa — her glances filled with love — one touch of the hand, one kiss, one pure embrace. He wished for more, more, and, finally, could not desire anything — and whoever knows his heart, who has contemplated the nature of his most tender pleasures, will certainly agree with me that the fulfillment of all desires is the most dangerous temptation of love. Liza was no longer for Erast this angel of purity, which had previously inflamed his imagination and delighted his soul.”

This love story is also significant in that other horizons were opening up for Erast, and he conceived a noble transformation of his Self:

All the brilliant amusements of the great world seemed to him insignificant in comparison with the pleasures that this passionate friendship of an innocent soul nourished his heart. With disgust, he thought of contemptuous voluptuousness with which his senses had formerly reveled. ‘I will live with Liza, like brother and sister,’ he thought, ‘I will not use her love for evil, and I will always be happy!’

Perhaps the case of Erast can be declared a common noun for all those cases when the impulses of the soul in love are noble, but the mind and will of love for the transformation of the personality are too weak. Observing Erast’s case, one can only lament after Nikolai Karamzin: “Reckless young man! Do you know your heart? Can you always be responsible for your movements? Is reason always the king of your feelings?”

In a state of love, questions about understanding oneself, about the ability to curb impulses of passion are more acute than ever, and here either a decisive step is taken towards the ancient calls “Know thyself” and “Nothing beyond measure”, or our Self becomes even more fragmented and settles in the dark corners of consciousness.

Not long before Karamzin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe asked the question of “what is the human heart” in his famous novel The Sorrows of Young Werther.

Goethe paints a heartfelt picture of pure, as Napoleon put it, “great passion”, which grows almost entirely out of the hero’s romantic fantasies, but this does not make it any less suicidal. It is no coincidence that Werther feels a kindred spirit in children and is moved by their “naive persistence of desires.” Perfectly aware of the diabolical power of fantasies, that “people would suffer much less if they did not develop the power of imagination so assiduously”, he nevertheless becomes a victim of his own irresistible passion. Werther is forced to admit: “that grain of reason, which he (man), perhaps, owns, almost or does not matter at all when passion rages and he becomes cramped within the framework of human nature.”

What, then, could be the cause of such exceptional pernicious passion? If one assumes, as Werther’s beloved does, that the very fact of her inaccessibility is the reason for this, then the whole point is in the manic obsession of desire. However, Werther’s incurable suffering lies elsewhere. He finds himself in a double trap: passion strips him of his reason and thus his humanity, but also the diminution of passion would mean the loss of his own unique humanity. For him, it is obvious that the heart is higher than the mind: it is “my only pride, it is the only source of everything, all strength, all joys and sufferings.” At the same time, Werther’s sensitive heart knows that high passion completely subjugates the soul, since “wandering in blissful dreams bestows the highest happiness.” But when “nature cannot find a way out of the intricate labyrinth of conflicting forces”, – “man dies.” In other words, in love the soul acquires the highest happiness, but reason, rules, circumstances force the soul to abandon it, find a substitute and be comforted, and this is tantamount to the death of the soul.

Another extreme manifestation of passion is its overwhelming preoccupation with sexual arousal. However, no matter how exciting the sexual experience, something tells lovers that the sexual component of passion is less connected with the only object of love than the romantic one. Perhaps Konstantin Balmont and Alexander Blok guessed this in their poems:

The one who heard the song of the primordial wave,

Always full of boundless dreams.

We are from the deep bottom, and at that depth

Many virgins, many tender shells.


I do not like slavery. With free gaze

I look into the eyes of a beautiful woman

And I say: “Today is the night. But tomorrow —

A shining and new day. Come.

Take me, solemn passion.

But tomorrow I’ll leave and start singing.”  My soul is simple…

Summarizing our reasoning about passion as the motivational energy of falling in love, we note the mutual influence of its two components — sexual desire and romantic attraction. Moreover, the sexual drive is largely determined and transformed by our imagination, which, in turn, is abundantly nourished by romantic fantasies. But this transformation of sexual passion is only a possibility, the realization of which depends on individual dramatic improvisations. In everyday life, everything is much more prosaic. And as if David Samoilov in his verses tries to warn people against the flat, ordinary intoxication with passion:

Passion is not at all a prototype of adultery.

It neighbors blindness with epiphany,

With immensity — an exquisite measure:

The fusion of God and his creation.

There is no lust in it. It smells no flesh.

There is a spiritual passion. Everything else is a lie.

Passion ingredients: 1) erotic arousal, irresistible desire, sexual response cycle; 2) imagination, fantasies, archetypal images.


In the state of falling in love, the shells of individual self-sufficiency miraculously dissolve and intimate relationships develop.

Lovers begin to experience such emotional experiences as closeness, connectedness, bondedness. We can say that these feelings are united by a sense of shared inner space. In this new realm of experience, warm feelings are born and poured out on loved ones.

In a narrow sense, intimacy comes down to frank relationships and understanding of each other. If we take into account the implicit conditions of intimacy, then it should include acceptance, trust, respect, honesty, support and care.

Intimate relationships play an important role in the transformation of the personality of lovers. They set one of the main vectors guiding the transformation of the Self. It is the process of deepening openness to each other.

Partners share with each other their innermost thoughts, feelings and experiences. Intimacy also reveals such personality traits and qualities that have not yet settled down, are, as it were, in the project. Exposure of the innermost has two sides: it allows you to acquire determination and confidence in the realization of your aspirations according to the principle “called yourself a load – climb into the back”, but it also puts lovers in a vulnerable position – the gap between word and deed can greatly devalue your image in the eyes of the partner, and misunderstanding or indifference on his part can clip the wings of your castles in the air.

Formula of intimacy: shared inner space = [openness + comprehension] * [trust + respect + honesty + support + care]

Intimacy overlaps to some extent with empathy, a deep compassion that can arise in relation to another person. In the state of being in love, the capacity for empathy, in other words, sensitivity to each other’s inner world, involuntarily activates and becomes an important, albeit fragile, tool for deepening intimacy. Experiencing empathy, the lover understands what his partner feels, he begins to mirror and feel similar feelings and foresees what the partner’s actions may be in a particular emotional state.

It’s easy to see that intimacy fuels passion. In extreme cases, for people who live by impulses of the heart, like Goethe’s Werther, the awareness of their high sensitivity to the demands of their beloved’s heart and the ability to “respond to them with all their heart” decisively convinces them that only they understand and therefore only they can constitute happiness for the beloved. From here, there is only one step to the desire for complete merger and undivided possession of a partner, which only inflames an already raging passion.

In enjoying intimacy, it is important to be aware that this energy of love has its limits.

Despite the vivid feelings and the tempting epithets that reflect them about unity as one whole, about being dissolved in each other, one should remember, no matter how sad it may seem, about the inevitability of a certain distance between lovers. Moreover, it is this distance that allows you to preserve and maintain a sense of attraction and romantic fantasies, that is, what is meant by passion. The content of this experience is expertly presented in a brilliant poem by Anna Akhmatova:

There is a cherished line in  human intimacy,

It cannot be crossed by love and passion, —

Let the lips merge in eerie silence,

And the heart is torn apart from love.

And friendship is powerless here, and years of

High and fiery happiness,

When the soul is free and alien to

The slow languor of  voluptuousness.

Those who seek it are mad, and

Those who have reached it are stricken with longing…

Now you understand why

My heart beats not beneath your hand.

Let us sum up the intermediate result of our study of the deep foundations of love. We have identified the internal processes of the transformation of the Self in the direction of a new point of assemblage of the personality as the main content of love. The primary power sources of the transformation of the Self are the two poles of the energy of passion: sexual attraction and romantic imagination, as well as emotional waves of intimacy that originate in the common inner space of lovers.

Now, having formed an idea of the content of love and its main components, we can, together with Stendhal, take a closer look at the patterns of love dynamics – its glimpses, origin, formation and the triumph of love.

The deep foundations of love

Periods of Love

Let’s start by reflecting on the question that about two hundred years ago in the drawing rooms of Milan began to torment Stendhal, overwhelmed with impressions from the salon discussions of all new crazy love stories (thirty-seven-year-old veteran of Napoleon’s Russian campaign, an aspiring writer):

Is there any general law establishing the different stages of love? —thought Stendhal.

Stendhal is often noted as one of the classifiers of various types of love. In fact, his main discovery is the identification of seven regular periods in the dynamics of love. Regarding the four types of Stendhal’s love (love-passion, love-attraction, love-lust, love-vanity) he himself says that “it is quite possible to admit eight or ten varieties of it. <…> But differences in the nomenclature do not change anything in further reasoning.” Nevertheless, it should be noted that in this discordant classification there are two bright opposites: love-passion as a manifestation of the sacrificial spontaneous love of tender and passionate souls (for example, Eloise and Abelard) and love-attraction as an expression of formal love, furnished with rules and adapting to interests (for example, Karenin and Anna).

Stendhal, considering love-passion to be true love, begins a purposeful search for “some general law to establish the various stages of love,” despite its suddenness, extravagance and mystery. To his surprise, in the variety of love stories he observes, he discovers a chain of stages in the maturation of tender feelings, determined by the same laws.

The other kinds of love do not conceal anything deep and mysterious. Thus, when love-attraction takes place, the formats of a love affair are set by the norms and rules that have developed in a certain social stratum, and its inevitable entourage is known in advance to both participants in the relationship. There is nothing in it that is unforeseen for a “man of good origin.” Although love-attraction may be “smarter than real love,” it has one fatal flaw – it is “poor love.”

One of the practical consequences of his “detailed and careful description of all the feelings that make up the passion called love,” Stendhal considered the possibility of healing from love. Apparently, the whole study was undertaken for self-healing from a hopeless great love (grand amour) for the Italian – the revived beauty from the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci.

Let’s take a closer look at the seven periods of true love according to Stendhal.

1. Admiration.

A fixation of attention occurs. It focuses on an attractive object, and it is not just an attractive object, but a perfect image. There is an appealing opportunity to get closer to the object of admiration.

2. Imagination.

A person thinks: “What a pleasure to kiss her, to receive a kiss from her!” etc. Fantasies of rapprochement flourish. The imagination paints colorful pictures of a new passionately desired state — intimacy with the object of love.

3. Hope.

Fantasy ignites emotions and permeates the body. Signs of passion can no longer be hidden. Naked — they are defenseless, and nevertheless, there is no point in suppressing or hiding them, but one has only to hope that they will be noticed and reciprocated.

At this stage, one of the fatal forks of love arises. Stendhal is convinced: “In order to get the greatest possible physical pleasure, a woman should give herself at this very moment.” But the flip side of this medal of pleasure is that if a woman surrenders too quickly, then long-term love is unlikely, since the “second crystallization” does not occur. This pattern of Stendhal coincides with the popular wisdom, which recommends that a girl not jump too quickly into bed, but wait until love matures in a man. In turn, two hundred years later, neuroscientists also found, to their surprise, confirmation of this maxim as a result of studies on the concentration of attachment hormones produced in the brain of a man in love.

4. Love germinates.

If the hope was not in vain and met a reciprocal feeling, then it becomes love. It cannot be confused with anything — it is an insatiable pleasure from the closeness of a loved one, felt by all senses.

5. The first crystallization begins.

Crystallization is Stendhal’s chosen metaphorical term for the “special activity of the mind” that connects all the pleasures experienced by lovers, as well as the beauty and perfection of the world, with the virtues of the love object (regardless of whether they are real or imagined). As Stendhal says: “Everything beautiful and high in the world comes into the beauty of a loved one.”

The very nature of pleasure works for crystallization. If we ask how it is possible to experience and retain pleasure from an object of love that is already available, then we must assume, like Stendhal, that it is necessary to discover more and more new virtues in the object of your love or to associate new “beauty of the world” with it.

And this is where fantasies and love dreams come to the rescue, which are essentially limitless.

It should be noted that the main meaning of the metaphor of crystallization is not in the densification and hardening of certain amorphous entities, but in the transformation of things to such an extent that they are “impossible to recognize.” Moreover, it can be the transformation of quite ordinary-looking things into beautiful ones: “In the Salzburg salt mines, a branch of a tree that has been exposed during the winter is thrown into the deserted depths of these mines; two or three months later it is removed from there, covered with shiny crystals; even the smallest twigs, no larger than the foot of a titmouse, are adorned with countless mobile and dazzling diamonds; the old branch is impossible to recognize.” Similarly, in the imagination of a lover, even an ordinary woman becomes an exceptional being.

6. Doubt is born.

The happiness experienced in love is so incredible that a worm of doubt penetrates into consciousness: is the reciprocal feeling genuine, how solid the foundations of this happiness are, and the fear of losing it arises.

7. Second crystallization.

The search for and subsequent self-convincing resolutions of doubts, among which the main question is “But does she love me?”, constitute the second crystallization.

The second crystallization is distinguished by a high intensity of feelings and thoughts, and the stakes are prohibitively high: sometimes life itself is at stake. Here it is necessary to discard, or rather, to painfully experience the doubts that love is mutual, since all nature cries out that the object of love is irreplaceable, that “she alone in the whole world” will give the “pleasure” so necessary to the lover (behind this hedonic word, of course, deeper meanings are crowded).

At this the lover’s mind does not immediately calm down. He continues to meticulously inspect the newly acquired beliefs (“greatest evidence”) that have developed as a result of discovering the perfections of the beloved, the signs of a reciprocal feeling and the foundations of mutual love. And woe to the one who finds a mistake or “wrong conclusion” – clusters of crystals are destroyed, love is questioned.

Stendhal’s thoughts about love, the identification of its patterns, can, without a doubt, be attributed to the great discoveries of the 19th century, ahead of their time. However, both before and after Stendhal, love was perceived and will be perceived mainly by its external signs only as an obsession, mania, clouding of reason, accompanied by more or less “tickling feelings.” Compare, for example, these love verses separated by two and a half thousand years:

I’m drenched in sweat, the shivering

Seized all my limbs, greener

I’m getting than grass, and it’s like I’m about to

Say goodbye to life.

Sappho (half a century BC)

The soul is full of shame and fear

Dragged in dust and blood.

Cleanse my soul from dust

Deliver me, oh God, from love!

Dmitry Merezhkovsky (early 20th century)

Stendhal saw in love a complex interaction of the delight of passion, confusion of feelings and torment of the mind, and also revealed the patterns of their crystallization into love. He was convinced that "every love that happens to be observed on earth is born, lives and dies, or rises to immortality, following the same laws."

How far Stendhal’s reflections on the laws of love, as he hoped they would, can help in the healing of mental suffering, you may now see for yourself on occasion.

From our walk through the periods of love with Stendhal, we will take for reflection the riddle of the need for a second crystallization. At the same time, the question of the seemingly redundant stages of the birth of love should not be simplified so as not to fall into the trap of the provocative casuistry of Mephistopheles. Remember?

You almost like a Frenchman prate;

Yet, pray, don’t take it as annoyance!

Why, all at once, exhaust the joyance?

Your bliss is by no means so great

As if you’d use, to get control,

All sorts of tender rigmarole,

And knead and shape her to you thought,

As in Italian tales ‘t is taught.

And, not realizing that behind the pause of an affair, there may be a preparation of the soul for love, like Faust, do not blurt out: “Without that, I have appetite.”

Doubts and the need for a second crystallization can suddenly arise out of nothingness repeatedly throughout the life lovers.

On the very day of the wedding, “a strange feeling came over Levin. Fear and doubt found him, doubt in everything.” He rushes to his bride in order to get a first-hand answer to his terrible doubts: “I think that you cannot love me. What can you love me for?” Levin is hardly considered a naive person, but, having received Kitty’s answer that “she loves him because she entirely understands him, because she knows that he must love and that everything he loves is all right,” he calms down — “and it seemed to him quite clear.”

It is also quite clear that as Levin goes about his life discovering new horizons and gaining new meanings, he may again have questions: is he loved now and for what? Will he question his wife again, or will he read the answers himself in her eyes and gestures? Will Kitty be able to give him explicit or implicit assurances under different circumstances that “she understands him all,” or will this happy family become “unhappy in its own way,” as Leo Tolstoy so astutely defined this possibility in his novel Anna Karenina?

Concluding the review of Stendhal’s discoveries, it should be noted that although he does not have a direct description of the processes of transformation of the lover himself, it can be assumed that they are in one form or another implicit and tacitly present at all stages of love. It is unlikely that the process of crystallization that takes place in love can be carried out in the mind of the unchanging Self of the lover, staying in his shell both before and after meeting with the object of love.

The first five periods of love according to Stendhal can be easily guessed in an elegant poem by Valery Bryusov:

I met her by chance,

And timidly I dreamed of her,

But long-cherished secret

Lurked in my sorrow.

But once in a golden moment

I spoke my secret;

I saw a blush of confusion

I heard in response, “I love you.”

And the eyes flashed with trepidation,

And the lips merged into one.

Here is an old  fairy tale that

To be young is always destined.

One can also notice how precisely the young twenty-seven-year-old Ivan Turgenev pointed out the fork in the face of love at the stage of its second crystallization in the following verse from the poem Andrew:

Love is born in an instant –

It takes a long time to unfold.

It struggles with the evil of doubt;

It grows and strengthens, but with difficulty…

And only then, the last meaning

That we shall finally grasp at last,

When we mercilessly destroy our

Stubborn selfishness … or fall out of love.

The metaphor of crystallization as an affirmation of true love allows us to intimately imagine all the difficulties and risks that await this beautiful but fragile thing in its difficult life path.

Now is the time to look at what threatens the newly born love.

Periods of love according to Stendal

Invasion of Reality

What the lyric hero of Vladimir Nabokov tragically foresees at the peak of being in love, sooner or later happens. Reality invades love. It, uninvited, unwelcomed, comes in a sad mask of resentment, evil robes of a quarrel, and the iron armor of jealousy. In addition, the gloomy gravitation of everyday problems constantly encroaches on the high feeling of love of the majority of citizens. For those who thought these trials were not enough, there is something in store ahead: life with a loved one will more than once remind you of the “cherished line” that cannot be crossed with “love and passion.”

Let’s get to know these enemies of love better. First, let’s throw off the mask of resentment.

Sooner or later, the lover will inevitably have a feeling of resentment for one reason or another towards his partner. The fact is that resentment grows on the gap between our expectations of certain actions on the part of a partner and his real actions. The feeling of resentment is insidious, it ignores all objective criteria of the significance or insignificance of an act, and can arise from a trifle. You can look at trifles with humor, saying to yourself: “Before marriage, I did not even suspect that it is possible to put milk in the refrigerator incorrectly.”

But you can make a gross mistake and mutter: “But what’s the difference.” At best, it can end up with a quick showdown, and at worst… Resentment, regardless of your love, will seep for reinforcement to completely uncontrollable levels of the psyche and suddenly burst out with a surge of irritation, anger, and rage. Some lovers quickly learn from their mistakes and try not to hide the resentment so that it does not grow stronger to explosive proportions, and more advanced ones begin to avoid it altogether, seriously taking up raising the level of their emotional intelligence.

Resentment signals, in particular, that your understanding of your partner (the element of intimacy) is insufficient. You have to admit that the first impression was superficial, and you are happy to find a lot of interesting and creative work to get to know your partner deeper.

The reason for the quarrel is usually more fundamental than that of the resentment. The quarrel may not have violent outbursts of anger, and it can drag on for a long time. This unpleasant reality of love relationships is well known to psychologists and studied within the framework of such a discipline as conflict management. A family conflict is a small war. And the battlefield is a clash of oppositely directed goals, interests, positions. We will take a closer look at conflicts in the chapter Curbing Conflicts, but for now we suggest that you independently reflect on five possible ways to resolve a love conflict: avoidance, domination, cooperation, adaptation, compromise, taking for example some real case in which one of your friends ended up. It should be remembered that any conflict has a positive solution, moreover, it mobilizes the resources of creativity for the development of relationships and revives passion.

The prevention of quarrels is connected, on the one hand, with mastering the skills of conflict resolution, and on the other, with the deepening of intimacy in such components as trust, respect, and awareness of common values. For those who are already confident in the techniques of resolving love conflicts, we offer the opportunity to test themselves on the example given in the diagram, taken from the story of Anton Chekhov’s “Wife.”

Jealousy flares up due to an imbalance of trust and a sense of belonging: one is too small, and the other is overflowing. As a rule, the erroneous substitution of the feeling of closeness with the passion of having a partner is associated with the characteristics of the character of this person. This, as psychologists say, is a difficult case, since the character is a rather tough and firmly seated shell.

But a sense of trust can and should be developed. Since it is universal, you can expand its scope in different directions, for example, entrust your partner with cooking dinner or negotiating with neighbors, and little by little you will feel calmer even when he is going on a long business trip.

These three enemies of love (resentment, quarrel, jealousy) are perhaps universal, but there are many more pitfalls that are inherent in certain individual characteristics and circumstances. For example, striving to get closer to the object of love, you adapt too much to it, refuse to satisfy your own needs, sacrifice a lot. In fact, simultaneously with the development of your Self in love, it contracts. There is a chance that this innerspring will release gently, but it will most likely trigger big relationship problems.

Those fortunate people who have succeeded in showing the will to love and have not given up in the face of reality should nevertheless remember that their now hardened love is still a different reality. One can, of course, think the other way around, that reality is love and reality is something otherworldly. But in any case, one must be on guard.

Let us now move on to consider the next stage in the development of the love relationship, which in psychology is called “mature love”.

Ways and results of conflict resolution
Avoidance (postpone), domination (win), cooperation (win-win), accommodation (concede), compromise (solve in a different context).

Mature Love

Having passed the frantic stage of birth and the test of reality, love enters into its new stage – mature love. It can be called the balanced stage of love as well as the stage of “tested romanticism”, true stable love, perfect love. All components of love – passion, intimacy, will and awareness – are present in the life of lovers in a harmonious combination. This is what the logic of our thoughts about the laws of love suggests. But here it is more difficult for us to illustrate rational considerations with poetic revelations or to appeal to convincing statistics of happy couples.

“No wonder,” the thoughtful reader will say. “It all looks like an overly idealized model of love.” And so it is. In reality, all four components of love are too complex, internally contradictory, and paradoxical. This is what we will have to deal with later. But now that we have an ideal model, we firmly know that we must pay attention to each of them and strive to balance them as much as possible.

For example, talking about awareness of love, we realize that we can only try to get closer to it — and then if we are diligent in fighting, say, stubborn selfishness. There is no lack of skepticism here. Thus, Ortega y Gasset believes that “reason and freedom are only a thin shell of our being, which in itself is neither reasonable nor free. Even ideas we get ready-made and formed in the dark, bottomless depths of the subconscious.”

Meanwhile, being in love and mature love differ markedly in the degree of arbitrariness in the expression of feelings and actions toward the partner. Of course, it cannot be said that in mature love there is only a rational choice of certain manifestations of feelings. The act of will here is not the result of a cold mind’s decision. Rather, it is synchronization of various internal energies, as a result of which we seem to say to ourselves: “I welcome this feeling to be with me.” And the main feature of such a decision of our consciousness is its absolute freedom. Mature love is a new attractive state into which we enter and which no longer contradicts any aspect of the ascending stream of life of our Self.

Falling in love and mature love can be harmoniously connected, and nevertheless, the difference between these states is manifested in many shades of feelings and experiences. Innokenty Annensky says about this in the poem Two Loves:

There is love like smoke;

If it’s cramped — it stupefies,

Give it free rein — and it will disappear…

To be like smoke — but forever young.

There is love like a shadow:

By day it lies at your feet — hears you,

At night it hugs so quietly…

To be like a shadow, but night and day together…

Transferring all those discoveries and treasures that falling in love gives us into mature love is a difficult and more often than not impossible task. It is only when we look back that we sometimes sadly notice and regret what has been irretrievably lost. These experiences pulsate in Vladimir Nabokov’s airy poems:

You and I believed so much in the connection of being,

But now I look back and wonder,

what you seem to me, my youth,

in colors not my own, in features invalid!

If I think about it, it’s like the haze of a wave

between you and me, between the shoal and the sinking;

or I see the pillars and you from the back,

as you straight into the sunset on your half-race.

Thou hast been no longer me, thou is a sketch, a hero of

every first chapter-and how long have we believed

in the continuity of the path from the damp hollow

To the high-mountain heath.

Having talked about love with poets of different epochs and styles, having generalized the discoveries of thinkers close to our spirit and having armed ourselves with the model of ideal love, let us try to return and again ascend this peak in a different way — along the paths laid out according to all the rules of scientific thought. In the next section we will turn to the psychology of love and consider the main concepts and views of love from a scientific point of view.

In order for your new thoughts to settle and not interrupt the movement towards the goal that, I hope, you have determined for yourself by embarking the journey through the spaces of conscious love, in your free time, reflect on the following questions:

Could you, following Ivan Turgenev, who spoke about the fight against “stubborn selfishness,” point to other negative internal forces that prevent the crystallization of love?

What conflict resolution strategy do you prefer: compromise or cooperation? And what strategy does your partner choose more often?


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