A book on ethics and philosophy of values

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6/ Love, as a problem

First of all, a question arises: what can these conditions of love be, and how many can there be? The desire is born to discover this sort of "Tablets of Laws" of love.

Then love becomes something "that can no longer be taken for granted". Here again, we lack suitable terms to express our idea. We could say that love becomes a "demanding" concept.
What does that mean? As long as love was considered to be no more than a simple feeling of subjective pleasure taken from the proximity or the thought of the beloved, it was easy for us (or at least easier) to know whether we loved this or that being or object. I enjoy looking at nature and walking in it, I love nature; it is as simple as that.
If we now admit that love, because of its meaning, implies conditions in itself, then the question arises as to whether we have respected all these conditions in our relationship to the object; and if it turns out that we have violated one of these conditions, then our relationship to the object is no longer love, but something else entirely.
As a result, it is no longer certain that we love the object, even though we intend to. We can put it this way: we want to love the object, but we do not succeed. In other words, love becomes a problem.

Love becomes a problem because we cannot be sure, until we have identified each of its conditions, that we are not violating one of the imperative requirements that love, by its very meaning, carries with it. As a result, we may never have loved what we thought we fundamentally loved.

The question that then arises, in our perplexity, is this: into what exact feeling does our "loving intention" degrade if it violates one of its conditions? Precisely into the opposite of love, which is contempt. Perhaps a concrete example will shed some light on these enigmatic abstractions.
We sometimes look with admiration at the kind of phrase that two lovers can throw at each other in an assault of eloquence: "I love you, without knowing why! Or "I love you for no reason".
If we look carefully at these two propositions, we will soon realise that they are in fact two insults, disguised as compliments, that is to say, they underlie contempt, disguised as love. In effect, they amount to saying to the beloved: "No matter how much I look at you, I really do not see what makes you so valuable". The intention of the two lovers is obviously not this: they want to love each other. However, their intention remains a dead letter, because they are violating a requirement that stems from the very meaning of love.
This demand, which we have perhaps just brought to light in this brief analysis, requires the lover to be able to show what makes the beloved so valuable. Otherwise this would give rise to behaviour which, if fully explained, would amount to something like: "I think you have value, but it is quite possible that I am wrong, and that in fact you have absolutely none, that you are in fact despicable".

Now this fundamental notion of ‘disguised contempt’ –disguised in love- appears to us.