Why Love is Intentionally Vague

The best two paragraphs I read today via Robin Hanson:

Our relations with each other are very important to us, and they vary in a great many important ways.  Why then do we use the word "love" so often to describe our relations, as in the famous three words "I love you."  Why not instead use a variety of more precise words that convey more detailed meaning?  Why not say "I wistfully-romantically-heart you" or "I hopefully-lustfully-want you" or "I wearily-unwillingly-stick-to you"? 

The answer comes, I think from realizing that if we described our relations in more detail, we would have to acknowledge finer changes in our relations.  Our current "I love you" approach lets us use the same descriptor at all stages in our relation, and at all points in our mood cycles.  We don't have to announce when our relation moves from hopeful lust to wild passion to tender comfort to favorite-old-shirt familiarity.  Such announcements could be quite awkward, especially if our perceptions are not exactly in sync.

Very true. Robin asks for other examples of vague words and what would go wrong if we used more precise concepts.

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