I shouldn't write posts while drinking beer.
Selavy suggested in the comments section yesterday that loss of love is an experience that can be defined and understood simply as one's changing image of self. This is the failure of analysis. Because love can be viewed in this way science teaches us that it is the way that it is, and to the exclusion of other appreciations. Breaking things down into its simplest components does not give us a full understanding of the thing itself. Otherwise the delusions of the mad would not be delusions but the truth, and those poor people would be healthy instead of sick, and this would be reflected in their overall well-being.
There is far too much evidence to show that the interaction with one's beloved is a healthy behavior that cannot be imitated with hypnosis or delusion, and also exists outside of self-image. You can convince yourself of many things, self-image most of all, but love (or the loss of it) can not be explained away or dismissed in this fashion. Love is also where subject and object form a shared and indivisible whole. At this point analysis fails as an adequate means of understanding the complexities of it. Certain forms of literature and music can not be viewed or understood wholly when looking only at the individual components, they are understood through the appreciation of its entirety. The individual components fail to grant the needed insight.
That is what I had hoped to express about love. Not the rather reductionary aspects of how the effect of it can be understood by assessing the effect on an individual. Reducing the concept of love down to the effects it has on an individual can no more help us to understand the thing than describing the effects of a medicine to a patient that might benefit from it, or explaining that the medicine exists would be the cure itself.
I am both a Romantic, a romantic, and a believer in the Enlightenment. So, I am often trapped between reactions and find myself oftentimes at odds with myself. There have been times in my life where I benefited from looking at the world through the eyes of the Enlightenment and there have been other times where it was equally useful for me to resist those impulses, and even fight them, with more Romantic (and romantic) notions of the self.
The experience and effect of love is often only an assumption to which we have very little access.
But try telling that to the one who is in the grips of it.
"Who can say what heartbreaks are caused in a dog by our discontinuing a romp?" - Nabokov, Lolita