Big ideas: Love

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They say, ‘love is all you need’, but what exactly does it mean?


1. I love my mum (but not like that…)
The Oedipus Complex is named after the character from a Greek tragedy who killed his father by mistake, and slept with his mother without realising who she was. Freud’s ideas on sexual development included the theory that boys reach a developmental stage when they lust after their mothers and that girls go through a similar stage, when they unconsciously fall in love with their fathers. For Freud, growing to psychological maturity for children involved experiencing and then getting beyond these Oedipus or Electra complexes.



Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:41


2. Sartre: Love is a hazardous, painful struggle
For Jean-Paul Sartre, freedom was everything. For him the reality of romantic love isn’t blissful mutual respect and a merging of freedoms. Far from it: love is conflict. Real freedom means freedom to change your mind, freedom to fall out of love…For Sartre, then, love is hazardous.



Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:43


3. Love? What’s in it for me?
Why do people do good deeds? Are they being selfless or is there something else going on? Psychological egoists believe that everything we do we do because it somehow benefits us. It might seem like you’re being the good guy, but that’s all just an illusion. Apparently, deep down, we are nothing but selfish.



Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:37


4. Myth of the Missing Half
Since the beginning of time human beings have been yearning for their other halves, the bit that’s missing. In Plato’s dialogue The Symposium, Aristophanes presented a light-hearted creation myth that explains it all.



Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:43




01. Beginnings
02. Who am I?
03. Being human
04. Knowledge
05. Beauty
06. Love
07. Freedom
08. Society
09. The good life
10. Right from wrong
11. Justice
12. Technology


01. Astronomy
02. Microgravity
03. Thoughts on theory
04. Theology explained
05. History of the English language
06. Money explained
07. Economics explained
08. The European Union explained