Famous Israeli philosopher Aaron Ben-Ze’ev has argued in his forthcoming book that most of the popular ways to look for lifelong love are not good enough.
Ben-Ze’ev offers in his book “The Arc of Love” a unique approach on how to gain and maintain an enduring loving relationship.
The most crucial step is how to choose the right person.
The book will be released in June 2019 in the U.S. and Xinhua was the first to review the book and its ideas.
Ben-Ze’ev is the former president of the Israeli University of Haifa and founding president of European Philosophical Society for the study of emotions.
He told Xinhua that building the foundations of deep love is difficult and challenging. However, an enduring love can be achieved.
There are four common ways to judge the potential romantic companion. The first will be the checklist method focused on superficial negative qualities. The second is love at first sight which refers to superficial positive attributes. The third method seeks to identify a major flaw in a personality, and once it was detected, the candidate is dropped. This approach offers more accurate results than the checklist, according to Ben-Ze’ev.
The fourth strategy is to observe partners’ interactions and notice whether a partner brings out the best in the companion and help him or her to flourish in their daily life. “Today, the greatest weight is commonly given to the first and second methods, then to the third and in the end, to the fourth. The order should be reversed without neglecting any information gained in each method,” said Ben-Ze’ev.
One fundamental aspect of choosing a romantic partner is the weight that we give to bad and good qualities of the potential spouse. Negative emotions and bad feedbacks have more impacts than good ones. Accordingly, we are more motivated to avoid bad events than to pursue good ones. Establishing a checklist of desired qualities for a partner is a common practice, but it has massive flaws.
Love cannot be computed merely by mechanistically detecting separate negative and positive attributes. It is hard to detect positive qualities that are valuable for the long-term relationship, partly because they are more clearly revealed through shared activities that take place over time. It is ineffective to try to predict a successful relationship merely by calculating a partner’s qualities by following the checklist method.
As no one is perfect, it may often be easier to detect negative qualities in everyone than positive ones. On the other hand, people may get accustomed to the lack of positive characteristics. If we reject all those who have some flaws, we might remain single for the rest of our life, or end up marrying a person who has fewer positive qualities rather than someone we met at the beginning of our search. Therefore, if you realize that your potential partner is likely to bring out the best in you, you have a perfect reason to choose this person as your life companion. Although romantic love is vital for our happiness, love is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for a happy and thriving life. As it turns out, love is not all you need in life, though it is often a central part of it.
Aaron Ben-Ze’ev was born in Israel. He is married to Ruth and has two sons, Dean and Adam.
He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Economics (1975) and his M.A. in Philosophy (1977), both from the University of Haifa.
He was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1981).). His doctoral thesis was entitled “Perception as a Cognitive System”.
Five years after finishing his Ph.D. thesis, Ben-Ze’ev began to study the emotions, a topic that remains at the centre of his research today.
In this field he was particularly influenced by Aristotle (mainly his analysis of emotions as evaluative attitudes) and by Spinoza (in particular, his emphasis on the importance of change in generating emotions). The psychological work that has most influenced his thinking has been The Cognitive Structure of Emotions (1988) by Ortony, Clore and Collins.
Ben-Ze’ev has published many articles in this field, as well as several books.