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Are there humans incapable of love?

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posted on May, 15 2009 @ 11:41 PM
By "love" I mean not physical/sexual love (although I suppose its included) but more generally of one's fellow-man, love of friends and family, general love as most widely understood in all its manifestations.

It seems almost intuitive to imagine that this is a universal human value, shared on some level by everyone...and yet...there seem to be people who are cold and "inhuman" and unable to love in any way...psychopathy is often defined at least in part as an inability to love, for example.

Can there really be people unable to give and receive any love at all? Or is it just that they are incapable of expressing their love? Or perhaps their love is twisted and warped by trauma or terrible experiences.

If there truly are people utterly incapable of love, it seems to go beyond the psychological to become an almost philosophical problem. That is is to say, the nature of love involves "inclusion." Total love implies total inclusion. In many ways, we have to believe this is possible, to make this painful life worth living. And yet ,if there are humans incapable of love, it casts a terrible shadow of dobt on the "project" of universal love, or of love as a universal value.

If even one single human can be said to lack the ability to love/be loved, than love itself as a concept for anyone becomes dubious, because such a state of affairs would rob love of the possibility of universal inclusion -- perhaps its greatest strength.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:00 AM
I think you could find some sociopaths that actually fit that description.
Scary people.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:07 AM

[edit on 16-5-2009 by finemanm]

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:24 AM
I truly believe that some are incapable of loving. For most, that is probably because they were not raised with love.

Also, it can develop in the form of Borderline Personality Disorder... or probably any other form of mental health issue.

While people like this exist, I do not think it is their fault.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:29 AM
Ive watched the Devil cry as he slowly died. He asked me, Please hold my hand, I just never did understand.

Stupidity is a knack for misconception


[edit on 16-5-2009 by Wisen Heimer]

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:29 AM
Yup, if you've ever met someone who is either Sociopathic or BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) you wouldn't have to ask that question.

At least people with BPD are capable of feigning the emotion of love, but there's nothing truly behind it other than manipulative thoughts and ends.

Sociopaths are just frighteningly scary. No greater fear comes to my mind than the misfortune of encountering one again.

For a normal person it's difficult to grasp the concept of someone incapable of feeling love for anyone, or at least themselves, but it's a sad fact that they are out there, and there are tens of thousands of them, if not millions.

(There are also people who can't express their love, or express it the wrong way, but they at least feel love. This makes them feel alienated from their fellow humans, but they are still human.)

However, I agree that the foundation of the Human Experience is the experience of Love, whether as Agape or Amour (or even Narcissism). It is not Cogito, Ergo Sum as Scientists would want to believe. Without Love, in any form, we are simply something less than Human.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:30 AM
Hmmmmm, yes, I would also say a sociopath might fit into this. But, the fact that the potential for love is greatly reduced in one area does not negate the fact that it exists. Fog could be "universal", just not the same denseness everywhere.

The rule is to love others unconditionally. Others don't need to "do" something to "get" or even "deserve" love. It is our responsibility to give love. This "universal love" might not even change the receiver, only the giver. This "universal love" does not mean all days are bright or you find people loving you back. In fact, unconditional love assumes that in this plane of existence, love is not found equally all over. The well from which springs unc love is ever supplying, which is great, because it's always there for us to partake.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:37 AM
I think love is only in how a single person see's it. What some to believe is love is no where near what someone else believes. So if in your mind, you don't believe in love, then of course you are capable of not loving.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:55 AM

Originally posted by johntime32
I think love is only in how a single person see's it. What some to believe is love is no where near what someone else believes. So if in your mind, you don't believe in love, then of course you are capable of not loving.

Hmm, that reminds me of an old Jewish proverb about a Rabbi visiting the home of an elderly man who stopped coming to Synagogue. The Rabbi asked the old man "Why don't you come to worship anymore?" The old man replied "I have no love for Adonai anymore. I do not love my people anymore. I don't love anyone." Concerned at the old man's bitter response, the Rabbi asks him "Well, surely you say Shema every night at least?" The old man shakes his head and says "How can I worship Elohenu when I have no love for him? My heart is weary, empty and cold just as my body" The Rabbi noticed the old man's eyes dart away for a moment and so he glances over to where the old man had been looking and sees a young child playing in the yard. The Rabbi asks the old man "Is that your grand-daughter?" The elderly man lights up for a moment and says "Yes, she is my only grand-child." The Rabbi realized that although the old man claimed he had no love left in his heart, he surely loved his grand-daughter. The Rabbi tells the old man "If you have any love in your heart for your grand-daughter then love her with all and every little bit of it, and that shall be your Baruch to the Shem. For if you love a child of Adonai, then you show your love for Adonai. If you can do that, I don't think Adonai will mind that you have forsaken your Shemas or going to Synagogue."

(In the American version the old man then tells the Rabbi to get off his gosh darn lawn!)

I guess the point is, those that have the ability to love show it in different ways. No way is necessarily better than any other way. Some may love their God. Some may love their spouse. Some may love their family. Some may love themselves. Some may love their money. Some may love their life's work. No matter how they chose to express love, that is the only thing that matters...that they feel it and express it in some form. The object of that love isn't really the point.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 12:57 AM
Hi All,

I do believe that there are some humans that are incapable of love. Of course there are chemical and mental imbalances that can account for this, however I wish to discuss one aspect of the emotional nature of a person who is incapable of love. If a person cannot love his or her self in any capacity, then it become impossible for them to love someone else. What they believe is the "love" that they are giving to someone else is actually an attempt to fill the void within. So on the surface the love is there, however it is often empty and very "demanding".

Most people who are full of self loathing are selfish and can only see the world form their own perspective, thereby making it impossible for them to realize or acknowledge how someone else is truly feeling. So as a consequence they view life and people in general in a very jaded and negative way. There are of course exceptions to this, as with anything. One being the relationship between parents and children. I believe the love there exists in a fashion, but is often tainted by much pain and sorrow.

That being said, I think that true unconditional & universal love is a concept that not very many people understand. However, for those who do understand and are able to give such, they are instrumental in changing peoples lives. Even those who they dont know personally, and even those incapable of love. It is that profound. If you are familiar with near death experiences, you will find that some people describe (to the best of their ability) encountering a being who loved them without judgments, conditions, or expectations. What they are attempting to describe is unconditional love. They always come back a changed person as a result.

So I have lots of hope that a person incapable of love, will not always be that way.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 01:25 AM
reply to post by sylvrshadow

Yes, yes. I agree with what you said.
Re love of self, self love is so important. Especially if one wants to be in a relationship with another. You will have a harder time at finding/accepting love, if you cannot find love in and accept yourself first.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 03:06 AM
Interesting comments so far, thanks people.

The idea of the psychpath/sociopath/NPD/PBD/etc type walking around, coping in daily life, often quite charming and successful but devoid of the ability to love is indeed highly disturbing...I agree with Fraterormus's comment: "Without Love, in any form, we are simply something less than Human." This implies, then, that such people are not really human. Reminds me of a quote from Frank Herbert's DUNE where one of the characters, the Bene Gesserit (sp?), made a distinction between mere people and true humans. In the book, the people they characterizes as true humans were very rare and could only be detected by a kind of sophisticated psychological test involving the ability to withstand pain.

In addition to the mere existence of these people being disturbing in and of itself, it also disturbs me because the idea of a human without love somehow strikes at the concept of universal love itself....this is a hard concept to express but maybe you can intuit what I am driving at. It seems like ultimate love would embrace and bathe in healing radience all people without exception. If there are truly people who stand outside this circle of light, then doesn't the very core concept of love itself lose much of its power, for the rest of us as well as for the unloving? Love by its nature cannot discriminate, and yet if we admit there are people who love cannot reach, we have already begun discriminating. Thus, it seems in this way the presence of such people means concept of absolute love self-destructs on a philosophical level...

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 03:16 AM
Everyone is life loves something or someone, it's just a matter of whether they are willing or able to divulge that information or not.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 09:17 AM
I consider myself one of these people, to an extent.

The best illustration I can think of is an episode of Scrubs (paraphrasing, don't remember the exact scenario) where Elliott's boyfriend asks her to tell him that his mother just died. His response is "ok, cool". He then asks her to tell him that his dog never died, and is alive and well in the next room, his response is identical "ok, cool".

That describes me quite well. I don't consider myself borderline or a sociopath in that i understand such sources of emotion and can empathize with them on a logical level, but I just do not feel them. I do not think it is a problem of expressing emotion, as even in private I maintain a stoic and coldly logical perspective regardless of the situation. When my mother died I spent about 2-3 hours after hearing the news crying next to her pig collection, beyond that absolute nothing. no tears at the wake, none at the funeral, nothing. The only time I got choked up was in seeing my father's reaction, which happened 2-3 times in the following week.

Aside from the above, I would comfortably classify myself as emotionally void. I am rather spiritual and open minded, but things just don't hit home like they should. I used to (when I still experimented in college) get a similar feeling from drugs like ecstasy or coc aine. A complete lack of euphoria or mental overwhelm, but a subtle and distinct awareness that there were some minor physiological influences at work.

I've always been a bit of a medical anomaly though, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that i was born with screwy wiring. I consider that to be the most likely scenario at this point, given what I've written above and a multitude of other evidences throughout my life that I'm in the 'clinically weird' 1%.

edit: I guess the best way to explain it is that i am never overwhelmed by emotion. things can make me happy or sad, but i've never had a "cloud 9" experience, nor have i had an "earth-shattering" experience (even including the death of my mother), at least on an emotional level. It's almost like I am observing my own life and the musical score is bad enough to draw me out of the experience, though I understand the plot.

edit edit: my girlfriend would wholeheartadly agree with the above. it infuriates her to no end that I am without words and unreactive when she gets upset about something. I listen to her, but never become emotional or argue. she has actually stated in the past that we don't have a healthy relationship because I refuse to fight with her. I agree, but I can't bring myself to an emotional engagement with her. I don't feel that it's biologically feasable for me to do so.

[edit on 16-5-2009 by Chilkoot]

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 09:34 AM
I'm on the wagon of "some humans are incapable of love", I've met some people that would step on their own mother for a nickel, but I've also seen some people that quite literally couldn't hurt a fly. I don't think that it necessarily has to do with how the person is raised, although I'm certain for some it plays a significant role. But I have seen individuals that had a very loving family, yet they turn out completely opposite, like they have no emotion at all, completely incapable of empathy or love. I hope that I am on the love side, it is difficult to explain, but it literally feels like my heart sings, like it opens up, and there is a wonderful feeling there. But like I said it is difficult to explain in words, perhaps I can describe as the feeling that you get with a mate, when you feel like that person can't possibly love you as much as you love them, there is this feeling that is completely overwhelming and you think that you are the only person that could feel such a powerful emotion.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 09:43 AM
reply to post by searching4truth

I agree with you I have met people that made me question a lot things like this I would also add the physical and sexual love too. I met a person who basically lacks capacity of physical or sexual love we were at a party where tons of people of the opposite sex were coming up to the person and it was like the person was looking at a blank wall had no interest at all basically in sex

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 09:53 AM
reply to post by jatsc

Hmmm.....I'm certain that the physical (sexual) aspect of it is tied in significantly. But I know for a part of my life, sex, really turned me off. I would think about the act and it would physically repulse me, like it was "dirty and animalistic". But that thinking didn't effect the emotional aspect of it, for me. I suppose how many people have no problem with physical but can't connect on an emotional level. Fortunately for my spouse I no longer think that way, although sometimes when I watch cop shows and they're busting up working girls and their john's I wonder if my original train of thought was correct, I mean in the ally, really, you can't wait to get a room or even in the car.

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 08:33 PM
reply to post by Chilkoot

Chilkoot - speaking for myself, I feel that you have hit a home run with many people.

Not going into my love life, I see myself in the same boat as you.

I feel as if I am always borderline happy, but never get the "extremes" of some people. To top it off, I really do not get sad.

The strange thing is though is, many of my buddies and family members think I am a comedian. Yet when other people tell jokes, I almost NEVER truly laugh. A giggle comes out, but not a real laugh.

I live a laid back life. Not much bothers me (except for specific moments in time), and all I really want to do is explore the world.

Since I never really find my self unhappy, sad, bored, mad, whatever, maybe that is why "love" isn't on my list of priorities.

Misery loves company...guess I am not miserable

posted on May, 18 2009 @ 02:57 PM
I think Ed Gein would be the best example of this.

I won't tell the whole story but I'm sure you will get the picture when you read what the police found in his house.

Acting on the son’s memory of his conversation with Gein, authorities searched the Gein farm that night and found a treasure trove of grisly items. Mrs. Worden was found hanging upside down from a block and tackle that was fastened to the ceiling of the barn. Her head had been removed and the body was “dressed out” much as a hunter would wild game. Edward Gein had shot her with a 22-caliber rifle from the store’s shelves in which he had inserted his own shells. Taking her home with him, Gein had hung her by inserting 3.5-foot wooden rods into the tendons located in the lower portions of Mrs. Worden’s legs. Her head was in the house with hooks already inserted. Gein had planned on mounting it on the wall like other types of hunting trophies.

Police searching the house also found cigar boxes containing nine salted human vulvas (his mother’s had bee painted silver to keep it separated from the others), human skinned lampshades, bracelets made of human skin and a basement full of body parts from 15 women hanging from hooks on the walls and several shrunken heads. There were soup bowls made of human skulls as well as bedpost ornaments, noses kept in cups and 10 female heads mounted on the walls. Mrs. Worden’s heart was in the frying pan on the stove awaiting cooking while the refrigerator was filled with “meat.” Gein had made himself an armchair comprised of real human arms. He had a tom-tom made of a coffee can and stretched human skin, table and chair legs made of human shin bones, a belt of nipples sewn together. Human lips made into a toy similar to an infant’s mobile. There were nine “death masks” made of the facial skin of women, a purse with a human skin handle, a human skin knife sheath and even a female head hanging from a wall as many would hang a potted plant. Included in the group of corpses found was Ed Geins own mother.

There is no love in this man's heart. That is for sure.

[edit on 18-5-2009 by DaMod]

posted on May, 18 2009 @ 03:23 PM
Primary psychopaths are born without love & die this way. Sociopaths have the ability to turn love on and off. I think most people in western society are a bit sociopathic. It's become a social norm.

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