In the Renaissance, the theme of love flourished in an atmosphere of general, keen interest in everything earthly and human, freeing itself from the control of the church. “Love” returned to itself the status of a vital philosophical category, which it had in antiquity with Empedocles and Plato and which in the Middle Ages was replaced with the status of religious Christian. But the religious tinge of the love feeling did not disappear completely, and the fact that it was revived in the 15th century Florence Academy played a role in this. Neoplatonism was originally imbued with the mood of piety. But the Renaissance worldview stubbornly sought to break free from the yoke of the church, and in the long-time opposition of the love of the “earthly” and the love of the “heavenly”, the earthly declared loudly about their rights, defending them with ever more decisiveness.
In the philosophical constructions of the Florentine neo-Platonist of the XV century. Marsilio Ficino, who was not distinguished by either excellent health or temperament riot, still placed in the center of the worldview not divine plots, but a person who is full of strength and in a harmonious world pattern is connected with powerful connections of love. M. Ficino points to three main types of love, which are characterized by a significant internal difference: the love of equal beings to equal, lower to higher and higher to lower. In the third case, love is expressed in tender guardianship, in the second – in grateful veneration, and in the first it forms the basis of an all-pervading humanism.
But the renaissance concept of the essence and meaning of love reached its highest pathos, perhaps, in the philosophical doctrine of Giordano Bruno (1548— 1600). In Bruno’s “On Heroic Enthusiasm” dialogue, love appears as excellent in principle from the “irrational impulse, desire for something bestial and unreasonable”, heroic, fiery passion that inspires a person in his struggle and striving for knowledge of the great secrets of nature, strengthening him in contempt for suffering and fear of death, calling for exploits and promising delight of unity with a powerful, inexhaustible and endless Nature.
“Love is everything, and it affects everything, and you can talk about it all, you can ascribe everything to it.” Under the pen of Giordano Bruno, love turns into an all-pervading cosmic force that makes a man invincible. Man is seized by a fervent desire to be a part of the divine, in the sense of its greatness, Nature, that is, to dwell in the intellectual “love of God (amor dei intellectualis)”.
Love became a cosmic force in the works of the German mystic pantheist of the Renaissance, Jacob Boehme (1575-1624). He declares love and anger the essential properties of the deity and the moving spring of human history, where they turn into good and evil, respectively. Accepting the doctrine of the creation of the world by God, Boehme gave him a highly peculiar character: God initially had in himself both love and discord and “divided himself” into things existing in nature. In this way, Adam also arose – the first man, who, however, on the contrary, was supposedly the inseparability of male and female principles, he was a “virgin man” and a “male virgin” at the same time, androgyne.
Overcome by love longing, androgyn Adam committed an act of double fall. As a result, love has lost its oneness with wisdom, that is, it lost the perfection of love that it possessed in the divine bosom. The beginning of a new union of love with wisdom laid the act of Christ’s atonement for the sins of the human race. The future of love is in its connection with the mind, in the distribution of intelligent love among people. This scheme, of course, is fantastic, but it was inspired by the thought of people’s attainability of perfection, both in the knowledge of the secrets of the world, and in love, which is “everything”. The idea of man-androgyne was known since the era of antiquity, it was also in Plato, and then appeared in the philosophy of love more than once, for example, N. A. Berdyaev.
In the XVII century. new winds blew … In the antithesis to the inherited from the times of the Reformation and the Counter Reformation, and at the dawn of the New Age, the still far from disappearing mystical understanding of love as a religious or religion-colored feeling develops completely different concepts. René Descartes in his treatise “The Passion of the Soul” (1649) states that “love is the excitement of the soul caused by the movement of“ spirits ”, which causes the soul to voluntarily connect with objects that seem to be close to it, and hate is the excitement caused by“ spirits ”and encouraging soul to separation from things that seem harmful to her. ”
In his treatise on the passions of the soul, Descartes is not limited to a general definition, and distinguishes between types of love. The first of these is love – the desire for good to someone you love, and she is capable of self-sacrifice. The most vivid example of such love is the attitude of parents towards their children. The second kind is “lust-love,” associated with the desire for possession, as in the case of a relationship with a beloved woman.
Descartes recognizes that this love may have in itself the features of the first kind, although he (in the case of the fatherly or maternal feeling) does not contain any admixture of the second kind. As for the third kind, it is, strictly speaking, not love, but only a passion devouring a person, having some similarity with love, but no more: an ambitious person, a miser, a drunkard or a rapist “strive to possess the objects of their passions, but they do not nourish her (love) to the objects themselves … ”. It follows that Descartes was not very happy with his own definition: the feeling of love is clearly more than lust, and also the desire for good to the object to which this feeling is drawn.
The definition of love that B. Spinoza gives is built in the spirit of the abstract and pedantic components of his philosophical system. It is far from the formalism of Descartes’ considerations, but the direction of concretization of this definition is different. Let in general terms “love is pleasure accompanied by an idea; external causes ”, but how different are these“ causes ”and the“ pleasures ”associated with them!
Spinoza does not at all advocate asceticism, his ideal is a person who has not destroyed his physical passions, but has managed to bring them into a reasonable channel and subordinate them to such affects that enrich the soul more and more and make its owner a purposeful and persistent personality. The highest among these affects is “intellectual love for God”, that is, curiosity, inquisitiveness, ardent passion for the work of knowing “God,” that is, infinite and inexhaustible Nature.
It is inspired by the dedication of a scientist who has devoted his life to scientific research. In research activity, man finds the greatest expression for his potencies, he achieves unity with the universe, and this elevates him over the transient everyday joys and sufferings, settling in his soul the elated sense of communion with eternity.
The third, after Descartes and Spinoza, a great innovator of the XVII century. Leibniz shifted the center of gravity to the love-friendship so glorified in ancient times by Cicero, which in its best examples develops in the character of people the features of sacrificial and disinterested selflessness. In a small sketch “On Affects”, he reproaches Descartes for not clearly demarcating the disinterested and bright feeling of love from egoistic and darkness to pleasures.
Genuine love means the pursuit of perfection, and it is in the deepest depths of our “I”, developing the stronger, the more perfect the object of our love, or at least we think so. For the growth and spread of love, knowledge and action in their unity is necessary – the knowledge of the common ideals of the human race and activities for the sake of strengthening friendship and harmony between people. But the sacrifice and selfless dedication in true friendship contradict the self-preservation power, the love for oneself, so naturally rooted in people.
How these two aspirations agree with each other depends on the characteristics of each individual, in principle, they should be connected through the exciting and sweet feeling that seizes us when we see the successes and happiness of those persons to whom we are particularly warm.
If religious theorists of the XVII. put a lot of strength in order to sharply distinguish between selfish self-love and supposedly deprived of any hint of egoism, the jubilation of a “saved soul” merging with God in the ecstasy of love for him, then for Leibnitz there is no problem: he is convinced that there is no physical, spiritual, and conversely, there is no spiritual without physical, and therefore the search for a rigid boundary between the two types of “love for oneself” is inhuman, inhumane in its very basis.
Enlightening inspiration Leibniz received in the XVIII century. development, primarily on French soil. The problem of “divine love” increasingly went somewhere into the background, “earthly love”, which, however, had never been able to destroy before, more and more firmly occupied the minds of not only poets, but also philosophers.
The apogee of the humanistic interpretation of love and its role in the life of mankind during the periods of the German Enlightenment and the literary movement “Storm and Stress” was achieved in the work of Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Love is sensual and tragic, sublime and contrived, sincere and suspicious, beautiful and frivolous – the poet paints all these and her other shades and twists, demonstrating the inexhaustible palette of human souls in different eras, in different nations and in different life collisions, in the widest range time and space (for example, “The Book of Love” in the lyric “West-Eastern couch”, “The trilogy of passion”). Love forms a personality, inspires her and instills courage in her, making her able to go against everything, even her own life (the novel “The Suffering of Young Werther”), challenging hypocrisy and prejudice (the novel “Selective Affinity”), destroys in its fatal destiny ( drama “Mary Stuart”), but also saves and clears (the tragedy “Faust”).
Goethe was both a classicist and a realist, he is committed to all earthly things, and vividly rushes to the romantic heights. And all this in a harmonious unity.
All four classics of German idealism of the end of the 18th — first third of the 19th centuries — Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel — expressed their definite philosophical and socio-practical attitude to the problem of love.
Immanuel Kant made a distinction between “practical” love (for one’s neighbor or for God) and love for “pathological” (that is, sensual inclination), and generally took a too sober and dry position in relations between the sexes, corresponding to the skeptical part of his philosophy and supported by cold observations of a lonely bachelor. In Metaphysics of Morals (1797) Kant approaches the phenomenon of love from an ethical point of view, and only that. “We understand love here not as feeling (not aesthetically), that is, not as pleasure from the perfection of other people, and not as love-sympathy (after all, it is not the duty of others to impose feelings on others); love should be thought of as a maxim of benevolence (practical), resulting in beneficence. ” Consequently, according to Kant, the love of a man of the opposite sex and “love of neighbor, even if this latter deserved little respect” is actually the same thing. It is a duty, a moral obligation, and only.
In “Metaphysics of Morals,” Kant improves his point of view, and among the demands of duty he considers friendship, and “friendship (considered in its perfection) is a union of two people based on mutual love and respect.” Moreover, without respect, “true love is impossible, while you can have great respect for someone without feeling love.” However, it seems to Kant that where there is love, there can be no equal relationship to each other and the one who loves another (other) more than that (that) him, involuntarily turns out to be less respected by a partner who begins to feel superior. And at the same time, virtuous love “seeks to pour out completely and waits for the same reciprocal outpouring of the heart, not restrained by any distrust.”
And how cold it still blows from Kant’s fears that friendship and love will be ruined by “arrogant familiarity”! Of course, the lack of ceremony in the bad sense of the word is akin to rudeness and inadequacy, but Kant is not worried about this: it is important for him that there is always a distance between lovers, otherwise their personalities will suffer with their inherent independence. Selfless dedication in love is inadmissible for Kant. And how could it have turned out differently, if, according to Kant, a debt requires love, a person is obliged to love, voluntarily, but still he is obliged .
Johann Gottlieb Fichte did not accept Kant’s sober and prudent calculations, and he talks about love as the strength of the ontological association “I” and “Not-I” – two opposites, into which the world spiritual force is first dismembered, in order to re-seek itself to reunite with itself. . But Fichte could not, of course, reject the empirical concept of sexual love, and in his early writings, where he had not yet identified the universal “I” as the source and basis of all being, with God, Fichte considers this concept. His position is very tough, rigoristic: marriage and love, of course, are not the same, but there should not be a marriage without love and love without marriage.
Friedrich Schelling was also engaged in the ontologization of love, that is, its rooting in the structure of the world Absolute. He declared love as the formative principle of the activity of the universal spiritual principle — the principle of the highest significance. Schelling talked a lot with the Jena romantics, and it was not in vain: unlike Fichte, he recognizes the equality of the two sexes in love. Each of them is equally looking for the other in order to merge with him in a higher identity.
He rejected Schelling and the myth of the androgynes, outlined by Plato in his dialogue “Feast” and repeated by Jacob Boehme: if the first people existed with undivided sexes, where would their love outlook come from? They would be completely self-sufficient, and love in the human race would not only not develop, but, on the contrary, would be completely extinguished.
George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) resolutely rejected all mysticism in the interpretation of love. He returned to these questions more than once, prompted by both his immediate interest and the needs of his philosophical system. Already in the youthful fragment of “Love and Religion” he begins the categorical treatment of this concept: a split between desires and reality is characteristic of man, and this split is overcome by the “positivity” of love, whose miraculous power is equivalent to religious. In another unfinished sketch— “Love” (1798), young Hegel continues, but somewhat differently, to reveal the dialectic of contradictions inherent in this phenomenon and its concept.
The subject, according to Hegel, seeks love, self-assertion and immortality, and approaching these goals is possible only when the love object is worthy of the subject in its internal strength and capabilities and in this sense is “equal” to it. It is then that love acquires vitality, becomes the very manifestation of “Life”: realizing inclination, love strives for mastering and domination, but thereby overcomes the opposition of the subjective and objective, rises to the infinite.
In the second half of the XIX century. The 44th chapter of the second volume (1844) of the main work of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer “The world as will and representation” made the decision. This chapter was called “The Metaphysics of Sexual Love,” and in it the person embraced by the feeling of love was portrayed as a blind puppet dominated by the cosmic principle, the World Will. It uses people as submissive tools – the means that the phantom of love makes the human race continue. All the rest – individual selectivity in love, seeing everything in the iridescent light of passion and believing only in the worst jealousy, in general, the whole wide range of feelings and moods – all this is only a disguise that hides the hypocritical “truth” that love is only insidious the trap of nature, and everything else is only a deceptive add-on.
However, Schopenhauer declared that a person is able to overcome both the blindness of biological aspirations and the egoism of prudent commercialism, provided that he transforms sexual feeling into compassion, and his – into a feeling of universal altruism. In Schopenhauer’s understanding, the subjects of altruistic love must “forget themselves”, dissolving their will in the imperative of moral self-suppression, and then completely kill it. In the end, love in any form of it will wither away, and everything will plunge into nirvana.
According to Nietzsche, love is always selfish, altruism is impossible, its complicity in love is unnatural. In this sense, love and morality exclude each other, love turns out to be “on the other side of good and evil.” If spirituality is possible in love, then it is only spirituality of sensuality in the sense of its acute awareness, “piercing.” Since love is a way of self-affirmation of the Will, it manifests itself not only as a love for a being of the opposite sex, but also as a love for life in general and a love for power especially. But these last two dimensions are also present in sexual love as a desire to overcome the existing in existence, as the desire to defeat a partner in love, break it and subjugate it. To overcome the existing – it means to overcome its former existence: love contributes to life creativity, but also to the denial of an already existing life, so that it turns out to be the preamble of death, enters at its threshold.
This peculiar dialectic of life and love in the views of Nietzsche was reinforced by his arguments about the steps of love in its development. These steps are lined up by him in a certain sequence on the basis of a sharp opposition of women’s and men’s love. In both of them there are moments of self-preservation and self-denial, but they manifest themselves quite differently: in the first one, the desire to obey wins, the second seeks to dominate, and in mutual love, the combination of these two opposite quality tendencies causes chaos and dissonance of impulses, triumph and confusion, friendliness and hatred, admiration and contempt. Going beyond its own boundaries, love returns to its irrational biological fundamental principles.