Welcome to this week’s #AskSisyphus. The question posed was as follows:
Does unconditional love exist?
I think this is more of a philosophical question than anything that can be proven scientifically. I’ll give you my own thoughts on the matter and hopefully you all can chime in along the way. Short answer, I don’t think it does. But let me get around to it. I think it might as far as animals are concerned (because my love for my dog knows no bounds, and seemingly her love for me is the same). But sadly I don’t think this is the case for people.
Unconditional love, as I understand it, is a connection that under no condition would waver or falter. The intensity of this love would neither diminish nor dissipate under even the most extreme circumstances. Another way to look at it perhaps is a love that quite simply isn’t conditional on anything. So for example my love for a girl isn’t conditional on her income, or on the length of her hair, or whether she’s got make up on.
I guess with the latter definition, I think it’s possible to a point. The latter kind of leads to the former though. If it’s not conditional on any one thing, can it be altered by anything? If it fades away over time, does that make it conditional on time, or on circumstances? Do you see my quandary?
I feel like love must change and grow along with the people sharing it together, otherwise it will only exist in that moment in time. I’ve heard that everyone changes drastically over the course of 10 years, that the person you will be is not the person you are now. Given that, if you’re in love with someone now they will be a very different person 10 years from now and so will you. So if the love you share doesn’t change with and adapt to the shifting nature of your relationship it will be left in the past and fade with the memories of that time and the people you both used to be.
If it doesn’t change, arguably this is not unconditional. If it does … well that’s at least a step in the right direction. So let’s say, for discussion’s sake that unconditional love can morph and change so long as it isn’t conditional upon anything concrete or definable including age and beauty. That still allows it to possess that seemingly ephemeral nature while still remaining in the face of adversity. Can this type of love exist?
I’m sure everyone has examples of what they think unconditional love is: the love of a mother for her children, or more generally parents for their children, the love that can be shared among family members, or between two people who were destined to be together. Okay, those are fantastic examples of situations where unconditional love might exist if it were possible. But let’s dig deeper.
Take the closest mother-daughter bond you can imagine. Then imagine a situation, pick whichever one you like, which ends in strife. The daughter does something that the mother thinks is abhorrent. If there’s a major falling out between them, has their love changed or died? Is it still there? Can unconditional love be broken? I don’t think it can.
(As I type out this next part I wonder what happened to the idealistic person I used to be) That said, I think there will always be something that can come between people. I don’t need to list off all of the reprehensible things people do to each other, but you get what I’m saying. Bad things happen, sometimes beyond our control and I think love is vulnerable in that way.
Just so my romantic credibility isn’t beaten beyond repair, I want to believe that unconditional love is possible. I want to believe that people can form a bond that is so strong it can weather every conceivable blow reality might be able to unleash … but we live such a fragile, vulnerable and ephemeral existence, I’m not sure that such fragility is capable of something so … impervious. I hope it is.
I want to believe, but I just don’t know anymore.