Saturday, March 07, 2009

An amendment to the law of least love

The law of least love, coined by Willard Waller, says that in any relationship one person will love more than the other, and that this person has the least power in the relationship. Or, the person who loves least has the most power to hurt the other.

I agree with this.

It does imply that love is a quantity that can be measured, which is an interesting concept, but drifting over that...

I think some people are capable of more love than other people. Some people just have more love to give. Let's say that person A has 100 love units while person B has only 10. Person A is a much more loving person than person B. In their relationship, person B contributes all 10 of their love units, while person A only contributes 12 of theirs. Although person A contributes more love when measured in absolute terms, person B contributes more in relative terms (100% compared to A's 12%).

So, in this relationship, who loves more, and who has the more power to hurt?
Even though person A contributes more love in absolute terms, surely they are not really investing that much in this relationship. They are a much more loving person in general than person B, but they don't really love person B that much. Person B, on the other hand is not a very loving person in general, but the love that they do have, they invest in this relationship.

So surely in this relationship, person B loves more, so person A loves least and has the most power to hurt.

My amendment to the law of least love would be this to make it clear that some people love more in general (they are just more loving people), but it is the relative love in the relationship that determines who loves least (and more), and who holds the power.


Joe 50 said...

Good post Ben. The really interesting question is then what affects people's capacity to love? How much is their 'love capacity' part of their natural temperament, how much is it affected by their decisions and behaviour towards them, where does transforming faith fit into all of this etc! Good old nature/nurture

BuckinghamFool said...

A very interesting concept Benbo! Thank you for posting. I shall be pondering that as I trek to London this evening.

Unknown said...

Joe - that is the question! I have no idea as to the answer yet, but I shall cogitate on this issue.

Miriam said...

Very interesting Ben, a good one to ponder - will be interesting to know what your cogitations are x

Unknown said...

Joe - It's nurture. I reckon nature influences very little compared to nurture. Will explain why in person sometime!