We can only express the things we have a language for. Like the light blue color of the sky at noon when the sun is hard on your face, or a mathematical equation that adheres to our logic. We can only talk about the things we have concepts to help us describe. If we don’t have clear concepts, we find it difficult to express our feelings and experiences. We have a hard time explaining our pains. What does a headache feel like? What does a broken ankle feel like? We mostly explain it as… pain. It “hurts”. It might hurt in the front of the head, near the forehead, behind the eyes, or it has a “stinging pain” when we put our foot down on the ground. But we can’t really come closer to a succesful description of our experience.
Likewise it’s hard to describe love. Love is such a catch-all concept. Which effectively renders it a catch-nothing concept. What does it mean if I say “I love you”? There are a thousand ways for a person to love another person. There’s not some checklist. If there were any clear-cut desiderata, it would probably start like caring for the person. Enjoying the person’s company. But even there it seems to come up empty. I can love a person without knowing if I enjoy their company. And I can love a person without being overly caring towards them. I can love a person in so many different ways that the person shouldn’t even be expected to know what I mean when I say “I love you”. My feelings could be a reaction to any given set of qualities I ascribe to that person. Anything that to me makes that person extraordinary.
I mean, how do I put into the meaning of “love” all the things that make the person so very special to me? How do I exclude those notions that I don’t think of? And is it even important that we have a common understanding for it to be working? Are vague concepts maybe perfectly fitting for human interactions? It seems possible to me that we are such vague beings ourselves, without clear definitions of what “I” means and what “life” means, that it would be weird if all of our concepts were perfectly cut, ready to be applied in every situation. There’s something human about the fuzziness of concepts. There’s something relatable about our lack of clarity. Something romantic about remaining a mystery to one another.