Essay Contest #4

All you need is love…?

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” This remark becomes more confusing the more that you think about it. For one thing, it takes the form of an imperative: it is a command to love. And yet it seems that at least part of what makes love valuable is that it is free from precisely the sort of burden than obligations tend to provoke. We can easily imagine a romantic being disappointed to hear that their lover’s passion is mere duty. Further, if love is an emotion (or at least has an emotional component), it is unclear how an emotion could ever be commanded. After all, our emotions seem largely outside of our control, and thus not the sort of things we could be obligated to change. We cannot just decide to feel some way or another. Given these considerations, we at Night Owls would like to ask you: can you be obligated to love someone? What does love have to do with morality, if anything? Can love be both free and obligatory? Possible topics of reflection include:

  • The various types of love and their relationship to obligation
  • Whether or in what ways love can be explained
  • Love and Freedom
  • Whether love is an emotion
  • How you might learn to love someone

Please send your essay, story, poem, etc. of up to 800 words to by 3pm CST on Wednesday, April 29. We look forward to reading your submissions!

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