Essay towards an understanding of the essence of human love

This presentation explores ethics’ role in the search for love. Within this context, according to Lima (2017), love is intrinsically linked to the human will. For the author, the human will is influenced by action, and when this is directed towards the search for genuine wisdom, that love can be fully realized. Because, for Silva and Figueiredo (2021), we cannot love the unknown.

Silva and Figueiredo (2021) argue that it is through how love and will are related – derived from human desire- that will is the first point necessary to carry out some action. Love is described as a unifying force that unites the loved object with love itself in a reciprocal movement. Therefore, we must ask, what is love if not a force that unifies two beings? Furthermore, this unifying force is so intense that it transcends individual boundaries, transforming them into a unit.

Thus, according to Silva and Figueiredo (2021), to understand the relationship of love, will is fundamental to its understanding, as love as an animating source of the soul motivates and directs the human will to action. Therefore, preceded by an impulse, whether well-intentioned or not, this will originate in love built by man. In this sense, we must understand that God granted freedom of choice to human beings so that we could use it to find the path to happiness, a concept called Eudaimonia by the Greeks.

It is essential to highlight that, for Lima (2017), love for others comes with a moral imperative. In the meantime, the action is preceded by a direction, as we love nothing unless driven by the desire to know more about the object of desire. According to Hooks (2021), this will not require the individual to practice a religion to recognize in themselves the principle that animates the self – a vital force that, when activated, intensifies our capacity for self-realization and makes us more prone to communion. In this way, we can define love as an action, a genuine interest in contributing to one’s or another person’s spiritual development.

In his book, Hooks (2021) clarifies that love must be learned because it is not innate to human nature, contrary to popular belief. Therefore, according to common sense, love and how children show this love in the first years of life portrays an affection, a reaction to the affection received. But can we interpret it like this? Hooks emphasizes we are not born knowing how to love someone, whether it be ourselves or someone else. And, he suggests, learning to love will depend on whether we were raised in a loving environment. Love can be more than a demonstration of fragility; it is a power that demonstrates inner strength. Therefore, it is not seen as an isolated feeling but rather as a life ethic that announces the possibility of breaking cycles of perpetuating violence. Consequently, we can embrace the politics of love not as an unattainable utopia and a moral imperative that can transform social relations and contribute to constructing a more dignified and egalitarian society.


HOOKS, Bell. Tudo sobre o amor: novas perspectivas. São Paulo: Elefante, 2021. Tradução Stephanie Borges.

LIMA, João Paulo Araújo Pimentel. A ética do amor em Santo Agostinho. 2017. 91 f. Tese (Doutorado) – Curso de Filosofia, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, 2017.

SILVA, Francisco Romário de Queiroz; FIGUEIREDO, Francisco Clébio. A noção de amor e suas implicações no pensamento Agostiniano. Problemata, [S.L.], v. 12, p. 31-55, jun. 2021. Disponível em: Acesso em: 16 fev. 2024.

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