Our culture of capitalism is regarded as the cause of many problems. Among other things, for our misconception of love.
In capitalist culture, it is market value that counts!
The value of an item is estimated and then it is exchanged. Labour for wages, time for money, attention for attention. In this context, sociologists have developed the Rational Choice Theory – the theory of exchange
The idea of a world in which value is exchanged for value has penetrated deep into our emotional world
If we fall in love, then the beloved has a certain “market value” for us. Who we fall in love with has much less to do with romance than we think.
Even more – our romantic ideals are a disturbing factor. The sociologist Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim describes in her work that it is the idea of romantic love that raises our expectations of the partnership so high that it contributes to its failure.
Every disappointment is the result of a false expectation.
Equals and equals like to join: partnership in the field of tension between capitalism and romanticism
When two people fall in love, they have previously usually had some idea of the “market value” of their counterpart and have chosen the one they consider “most valuable”.
In this respect, those who are in the same social league and in a similar category of visual attractiveness seem to us to be most valuable. This way of choosing our partners is even firmly anchored in our brain, as the research team around Caroline Zink was able to prove.
We confuse “falling in love” and “making love” with each other
In his book “Wie sich Liebe und Leidenschaft” Bas Kast has described how we fall in love because of biological attraction. It is about the best genetic selection for reproduction. Our biochemistry determines who we want to “mate” with. Whether we like it or not, we do not act differently here than the animals with whom we share the earth. We have to be able to “smell” our partner.
The wonderful feeling when we fall in love and begin to discover another person is biology
But a long lasting, deep love and fulfilling partnership probably has much more to do with friendship, understanding and respect for each other than with the initial bliss of falling in love. To get over these misunderstandings, one can – in the sense of Erich Fromm – understand love as an art that can be learned.
We can all become masters in the art of love!
As with any other art, it helps to acquire theoretical knowledge, to discard illusions and to accept that some practice is needed.
The question remains how to practice love? And who are the masters from whom we can learn? Which role model can we follow?
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