“Do you think love is an illusion created by society which can coherently be explained away with biochemistry and analysis of social behavior or do you lean more towards the idealized & romantic conception of love?”
This question is flawed because it assumes that if love can be explained by “logical” means (biochemistry, neurology), then love is an illusion. And of course, this assumption is totally false!
I can’t seem to find a way to “fix” the question and make it interesting to me. It seems to be getting at the difference between love stemming from the heart and love stemming from the brain, I guess. But in my view, “love stemming from the heart” is just an expression anyways, and the fact that feelings of love can cause physical reactions in the region around your heart can presumably be explained through some logical process. But everything here is still real!
You might question my definition of “love”, but even THAT doesn’t make the question interesting. To me, the question “what is love” is totally nonsensical. It’s the same problem as the question “what is life”. It’s totally uninteresting. Love and life are both words that represent concepts. The concepts that they represent can be different things in different contexts and to different people. Perhaps the only real answer I can give to “what is love TO YOU?” is “different things.” Either that, or the smartass answer of “it’s a word that represents blahblahblah…”.
“what is happiness” is also uninteresting, for same reasons.
Perhaps the essence of the question still has some merit though. It’s essentially asking whether or not you buy into romanticism. …which is too big of a question. Instead you could ask something like “do you believe in soulmates?”. That’s easier–I would argue that it’s a more interesting question, but still painfully simple for me to answer. The answer is essentially no, but that doesn’t mean that the idea of a soulmate doesn’t have any merit.
Without going into that in any more detail, I could ask you whether it would really be advantageous for soulmates to exist at all. Let’s say every person has one other soulmate in the world, and this is all predetermined.
The first thing you have to realize is, you have to have some way of -knowing- who your soulmate is (i.e. it has to make some appreciable impact), otherwise IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER. So, to make things interesting, let’s assume that once you encounter your soulmate in person, you instantly know, beyond a doubt, with 100% certainty, that that person is your soulmate.
If it’s guaranteed that you’re always going to meet your soulmate at some point in life, then is that good? Well, yes and no. Yes because that means you can simply wait around until you meet them and then be happy (yay.). No, because there’s no guarantee that the waiting around will be worth that happiness (imagine waiting around for 90 years).
If it’s not guaranteed that you’re ever going to meet your soulmate, then is that good? Well, probably not. You can either wait around hoping that you’ll meet them, in which case you may never find them anyways, or you may decide on someone else, -then- meet your soulmate, and then that’s problematic as well.
So, it’s really a good thing that soulmates don’t exist.
(explanations have not been drawn out for brevity’s sake, blahblahblah)