• Nathaniel G. Sands

What is Love?

Babe and I

I love many things: Music, coffee, pizza, sunshine, friends, family, dogs… It seems off, and quite ridiculous, that I can lump all these things into one category. What seems even stranger to me is how we tend to connote more often the arbitrary things in our life with the designation of love, than we do the people that truly deserve it.

From Jean-Luc Marion's The Erotic Phenomenon: "Not only do we no longer have a concept of love, but we do not even have a word to say it. 'Love'? It resonates as the most prostituted word there is."

If so, how can we attempt to use such a word as Love? Where does this prostitution come from?

I have a new friend in my life who has quickly become close. Moving here from Toronto with his family, Nathan (yes, we have the same name), is working on his doctorate in philosophy. He also happens to manage the townhouse complex I grew up in! And his daughter, Charlotte, has become a good friend of Leah's! We meet and chat multiple times a week, talking about the struggles of our lives, the moments to celebrate, but more-so discuss big and illusive ideas, such as love, and how we are to properly espouse it.

A forced Selfie - the two Nathans

The problem with philosophy (translated from the Greek as "the love of wisdom") is, as Marion writes, "Indeed, sometimes one would almost believe that philosophy hates love. Philosophy does not love love, which reminds her of her origin and dignity, her powerlessness and their divorce. She therefore silently ignores it, when she does not hate it outright."

Nathan and I often argue and see many things in different ways. But I believe that is why our friendship took off the way it did and continues to grow. We value each others unique perspectives of life and love. We are being true to ourselves and our guiding principles, and seeking to reconcile our differences, even as they remain different. Choosing to love another is not about a perfect union, but uniting in spite of our imperfections.

To Nathan's credit, he attempt's ferociously to live out his principles. And as a philosopher, he looks necessarily to explore the important phenomenon of Love, which philosophy has too often ignored. He is just stepping into the academic arena, and I look forward to reading his work!

From my notebook:

What is love?






Attachment. (Jealousy)


I think were far quicker to say we love beer, or food, or those shoes, because it requires nothing of us. It is simply self-interested desire. Whereas, true love requires something of ourselves - a sort of giving away of our souls. This must be the true meaning, as love is not consumption but reciprocation. A bond no doubt! This is where love gets messy, and hard to admit and express, especially as for many of us it is instantly associated with pain. Often, the more we love someone, the more hurt is brought on by the inevitable loss of it. I think it's safe to say we don't realize how much we love someone until they are gone.

The late and great Michael Sands

I've spent a lot of time contemplating the phenomenon of Love. I'm fascinated by the fact we live in a world surrounded by profound miracles, such as life and love, yet focus continually on the material, like position and possession.

Band practice

Every Wednesday, Jonathan, James and I have band practice. It's quite the coincidence that the three of us happened to grow up in the same complex Nathan manages, the Dewdney Villa's (or so it was called). We have a mutual love (if I'm safe to call it that) for music, and each of us brings a unique aspect of sound into the equation - from our instruments, our voices, and our perspectives. Currently we have six complete original songs, and four more in the works. Here is a song I wrote the other day - Inspired by love, my friends and my wonderful girlfriend:

Chord progression: Am Am G F Em

I've played and I've won

I've played and I've lost

The more games I play

The harder my heart

I throw down this 20

To the dirt on the floor

Hoping it'll grow

to a shoot I can sow

Pain, oh Pain

He deals out the cards

I'm looking to land me

An ace and a heart

The boys all sit down

with that look in their eyes

Wolves in sheep clothing

They're tryin to hide

cuz we work and we work

But we ain't got a dime

And all we can give is our hearts and our time

Pain, oh Pain

He deals out the cards

I'm looking to land me

an ace and a heart

This world arbitrary

It tears us apart

The more that I love you

The deeper the scar

My friends and my brothers

Sheep in wolf clothes

I see through their lies

in their eyes and their souls

We scream and we shout

We smile and we laugh

But deep down our hearts

Are broken in half

Pain, oh Pain

He deals out the cards

I'm looking to land me

An ace and a heart

This world arbitrary

It tears us apart

The more that I love you

The deeper the scar

I ain't got no money

I ain't gunna win

But I need you tonight

to save me from sin

I've gambled with love

It comes at a cost

The more that I love you

The more to be lost

Alecia and Leah on the Auquabus

I chose the name of this website,, for a reason. As a man who has been heartbroken before, it is hard to accept the necessary role of sacrifice that is needed in developing a healthy relationship. For the next few blogs I am going to set out to focus on this concept of Love in it's different relational forms, the sacrifice that's necessary for it to thrive, and what it means for daily life.

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