Liquid love: the commodification of love in the 21st century

Liquid love is the dominant romantic philosophy of our time.

You’ve probably heard of Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman and his concept of “liquid love” at some point in your life. The statement could not be more graphic: liquid love, an image that is the perfect metaphor for something common in our society: the fragility of romantic relationships.

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Liquid love: defining the concept

This is typical of the information and consumer society in which we find ourselves.
People place more value on current experience, unrelated freedom, For punctual and irresponsible consumption and the immediate satisfaction of bodily and intellectual needs. Anything that does not meet the requirement of immediacy, “use and throw away”, is rejected.

Liquid love therefore refers to the fragility of sentimental ties, Alludes to the need not to establish deep emotional roots with the people we meet in life, in order to remain emotionally detached and thus be able to integrate into an ever-changing environment. However, liquid love affects not only our relationships with others, but also our relationship with ourselves, as Bauman believes that we live in a culture that is distinguished by the “liquidity of self-esteem” of individuals.

Related article: “Mature Love: Why Is Second Love Better Than First?”

Loving others starts with yourself

Many people do not understand that in order to love another person deeply, you must first love yourself. This, which is a reality that few people question, is generally not the basis on which many relationships are built, in which other values ​​and needs prevail that have little to do with the human being. emotional well-being.

This is one of the shortcomings of our culture, which pushes us to have a partner even though individuals need to know each other and build their self-esteem before going to seek emotional and sentimental support in another human being. . This leads us to emotional dependence, that is, depending on the approval and esteem of others to maintain our self-esteem, which can cause us pain and discomfort.

Liquid love in individualistic culture

Western culture, in many cases, does not encourage us to build long-term relationships of trust, and many people have serious difficulty in feeling accompanied and loved. This tendency not to create lasting relationships is explained by
the great responsibility and the transcendence that this would imply, a “stumbling block” that we are not motivated to assume.

It can also be due to the fear of feeling disappointed or hurt. Fear of love or philophobia often cripples us and avoids anything that seems compromising, preventing us from forming strong and deep relationships.

Liquid connection against long-term love

Zygmunt Bauman develops in his numerous essays various theories and reflections on love in our time. Today, he says,
romantic relationships rely more on physical attraction than on a deep connection on a more personal level. These are relationships marked by the individualism of the two members, in which the contact is ephemeral, and this is known in advance, which increases their condition of sporadic and superficial relationship. A love that was born to be consumed and consumed, but never to be sublimated.

Bauman’s idea of ​​liquid love puts the individualism of our societies in the spotlight, The constant search for the immediate satisfaction of our desires, disposable experiences and the commodification of personal relationships. Hence the notion of liquid love, in a society that does not want to show strong and lasting emotions, but prefers to jump from flower to flower in search of fleeting and harmless pleasures. It is the multitasking mode applied to the world of couple relationships.

The virtual world and its influence on the emergence of ephemeral love

Perhaps the emergence of social media and new technologies has played a role in consolidating this trend that many people suffer from. We live in a constantly changing world, where the virtual and the real merge with surprising ease.

Sometimes it can make the most sensitive people desperateBecause the high pace of life makes it extremely difficult for us to connect with other people on an emotional level.

Mercantile values, mercantile loves

If we maintain relationships with an expiration date, it’s because society pushes us to do so., To have weaker and more flexible links, to make few roots wherever we go. This is how we are educated, this is how we are. We teach kids that they can have toys and tech gadgets if they pass the next exam, and we introduce them to a mercantile culture where you have to be alone motivated by the rewards you get for your work, to cancel. So the intrinsic motivations and authentic tastes of each person.

This promotes the feeling that not only objects, but also people are consumables, and are therefore objectified to potential sexual partners. This person who attracts us is nothing more than a piece of meat to be tasted, and we don’t have to worry about their wants, worries, needs, tastes … How are we going to emotionally connect with someone if we’re only interested in something carnal?

Liquid love and reification

Another of the great pillars on which he supports liquid love is the reification of people. In other words, the tendency to perceive and value people as objects, things. It means, after all, reaching an end: physical pleasure, social acceptance of others, etc.

Liquid love would be conveyed by reification because it gives the possibility of creating largely disposable relationships. Therefore, flexibility in dealing with others would go hand in hand with lack of empathy for them.

Possible thoughts to verify liquid love

we must fight against the scale of values ​​of our societies to fight against liquid love and its unwanted effects in our well-being. Human beings are not objects waiting to be consumed: we think, yearn, fail, feel … To begin to overthrow the established order, we must start to value ourselves more, and to feel that we are worthy. ” be respected and valued, just like any other individual.

Liquid love can be fun, but it’s also fleeting, which can leave us feeling existential void. Consumers are always eager to buy more things, but that doesn’t make them happy because the material always fades eventually. Do we also want to be consumers with personal relationships?

Causes of liquid love

1. Insecurity

One of the causes of liquid love is insecurity and low self-esteem. If we do not see ourselves as fully capable and deserving of having a serious, loyal and deep relationship, it is difficult for us to find a person if you still want to maintain a close bond with us.

2. Low self-esteem

Continuing with the previous point, insecurity and low self-esteem are two sides of the same coin. If we are only looking to temporarily satisfy our need for a relationship, it is because we do not have enough emotional maturity to enter into deep contact with this person who attracts us.
We don’t want to jeopardize our emotional well-being by delivering it too quickly to somebody, Which is good but can hurt us if we take it at one end and put a breastplate in front of the others.

On the other hand, if we trust each other we can move forward little by little, noticing what the other’s desires are and being able to develop good feelings for each other, with more lasting and stable relationships.
The well-understood commitment is born from the union of interests and tastes, And also of the tenderness professed by the two people.

3. Slavery

If we want to be happier, said Bauman,
we must be inspired by two universal values: freedom and security. To escape slavery is to recognize that the two values ​​mentioned must coexist in harmony. It is the key to love and one of the maxims for a romantic couple to work.

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