Oboy. This subject keeps coming up. And it’s gotten a little out of hand. At this point there seems to be a long-running philosophical discussion on the rather innocent-looking question: Is love a want or a need?

The frog is getting a little lonely here, casting what seems to be the only vote for “need”. In order to deal with this one, the first thing we need is some definitions. And these, unfortunately, are definitions of the most subjective sort. Nevertheless, we will try to use them as ground rules. Please find below the base-line definitions of the operative terms, as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, and as defined by Kermit.


American Heritage: (1) An intense affectionate concern for another person. (2) An intense sexual desire for another person. (4) A strong fondness or enthusiasm for something. (6c) The benevolence, kindness, or brotherhood that man should rightfully feel towards others. (8) A zero score in tennis.

Kermit: I agree with all of the above, especially number 8. I will, however, add the following: (1) A relationship in which two or more persons are committed to being themselves, and allowing the others to be themselves, while fully enjoying it. (2) The act of providing and receiving the emotional, intellectual and physical support required/desired by the involved parties within the framework of the relationship, without providing more than is required, receiving less than is desired or attempting to exert control over another party. (3) A relationship in which the natural filters/barriers that keep people from understanding one another are intentionally removed, allowing a totality of self and other-party knowledge.


American Heritage: (1) A condition or situation in which something necessary or desirable is required or wanted. (2) A necessity, obligation. (3) Something required or wanted, a requisite.

Kermit: Balderdash! The old AH is waffling here. A need is simply this: (1) An item without which a person will die or suffer grievous physical, emotional or intellectual damage. The entire list of needs is as follows: Air, water, food, shelter, love(?) and stimulating thought(?). These are, in essence, things over which we have little control; we cannot forcefully deny ourselves these things, although we may transfer the specific object of need satisfaction from one person/idea/thing to another.


American Heritage: (1) To fail to have; be without; lack. (2) To desire greatly; wish for.

Kermit: Agreed, with the stipulation that everything that a person desires, and that is not on the “needs list” above, is a want. These are the items over which we have control.

Those are the ground rules, in terms of definition. You may certainly feel free to disagree, but for now these premises will be used in the development of the rest of this treatise.

Kermit []