The Buddhists say that all love is self-love, because we love people for what they do for us. So the line between selflessness and selfishness, is blurred and perhaps doesn't exist. Having said that, we are likely to make any sacrifice for someone we really love, and they don't have to do a thing in return.
I see romantic love as a form of worship, not a million miles away from religious worship.
If I thought like that, I would steer clear. Why so extreme?
Yes Belle, you're right, this is an exception I think. Perhaps this is the highest and purest kind of love there is.
Unconditional love, in other words. Agreeing always to give, and without expecting to take anything.
I agree Belle, I felt bad when I was making what sounded like a value judgement, but that's the English language for you. It's multi-valued.
I think Unseen likes to cheapen healthy human values.
If two people are doing something together, is that selfless? Or selfish? Or something else besides?
At the same time, morally speaking, unconditional love is higher than other forms of love. But morality doesn't enter into all of human life.
I read your OP, you're a very sweet person I can tell.
But I think you're wrong about parent-child love. If anything, that's the most narcissistic forms of love of all. People want children so there can be a little version of them running around that they can feel proud about, play around with like a toy and parade in front of their friends. It's no different than buying an expensive luxury car, except that the car will be much cheaper in the long term.
I have to disagree, kOrsan. What is the fundamental property of life, and of the DNA molecule? It splits in two and makes a new version of itself. Children are not fundamentally status symbols, they are the very reason for existence of this "blooming, buzzing confusion". You're talking about the basis for an atheist spirituality.
And hey, Belle is one of the coolest people in the world.
My analysis is that the only real love is between a parent and child, and adult child and their parents, and between good friends. Romantic love is selfish until/unless it finally collapses into a friendship, which is how couples who hardly ever (or never) have sex anymore can remain coupled for the rest of their lifetimes.
Yes, romantic love is exciting, but it also induces anxiety, possessiveness, and sometimes violence, especially the so-called murder-suicide.