A conscious, willful decision to act disinterestedly for the benefit of someone wholly other than oneself. In certain theological worldviews, especially Christianity, love takes the form of self-sacrifice and self-giving, even for those to whom one is not chemically, emotionally, nor genetically predisposed to care for(the non-family member, those to whom no sexual attraction is felt, the ugly, the outcast, the societal reject, the unloveable, even the undeserving of love). In Christian theology love occupies such a prominent place that Love is not simply conceived of as a powerful yet impersonal force, but a Person (or, rather, Relationship of Persons), as Christians assert that God Himself not only loves, but IS Love. This is powerfully expressed in the passage from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, which attributes personal characteristics to Love (defined as "charity"), and in the Nicene doctrine of the Holy Trinity, envisioning the Holy Spirit as the Person that 'proceedeth' out of the love relationship between the Father and the Son.
Not to be confused with being "in love", which is purely a temporary neuro-chemical state triggered by the close physical proximity or thoughts of a particular person of the opposite, or same, sex, often linked, directly or indirectly, to the biological imperative to copulate. Such a state can be so powerful to the person experiencing it that it may lead one to actually believe that being "in love" is indeed magical or spiritually transcendent, when such a phenomenon requires no metaphysical explanations.
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