Does Love Require Agency?

Peter Doobinin argues that love needs agency, commenting,

“Our ability to love is determined by the decisions we make to act in a certain way. When we surrender our decision-making, we deny our greatest strength: our capacity for love.”

Peter Doobinin argues that yes, indeed, love requires agency and conscious decision-making. Might this be a thought-provoking, an idea that, at its core, is suggesting that love is not merely a passive emotion or chemical reaction but rather an active choice and ongoing commitment.

This perspective challenges the notion of love as something that simply “happens” to us and instead places the responsibility squarely on the individual. By framing love as a product of our choices and actions, Doobinin invites us to approach it with intention and mindfulness.

Moreover, his assertion that surrendering our decision-making capacity denies our “greatest strength” and our “capacity for love” is a powerful statement. It implies that love is inextricably linked to our autonomy and our ability to exercise free will. Without the agency to make conscious choices, we risk diminishing our ability to truly love.

This view links up with the idea that love is not just a feeling but a verb – an active expression of care, commitment, and selflessness. Love is a conscious practice, one that requires ongoing effort, reflection, and intentionality. In this way, love becomes not just a state of being but a way of living and a manifestation of our highest human potential.

Reflection on quote originally published at on May 31, 2024

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