I read something the other day which said that “love is the active promotion of the wellbeing of the love object in its terms” (Dr Erich Fromm). I like this a lot, the notion of love being an activity, an ability to be developed, something active. You can’t say you love something if your actions do not contribute to the wellbeing of that thing. An expression of love isn’t love if it doesn’t fulfil the above requirement, to actively promote wellbeing. We can’t be lazy about the things we claim to love.
This is easy to understand in relation to people, animals, or living systems. “Well being” is quite easily defined in those circumstances. But can we say that the not-alive things that we “love” (art, craft, corsetry, for example) have the capacity for good or bad existence. Can I promote the “wellbeing” of corsetry as an artistic activity, or can I only add to the wealth of stuff that happens and all is neutral? Neither good nor bad? You can’t say that corsetry has “terms” in which it finds best wellbeing as there is nothing alive there to feel it. But you could say that it has potentials, as an artform, worth exploring for their own sake as an expression of humanity/artistry.
Can it be “love”, or is it merely interest, when the object in question is indeed an object rather than a subject?
Well, if we forget about wellbeing for the moment anyway, how would one promote the betterment of corsetry? I think by doing the best (most different) work they can as a corsetmaker. Or by being choosey as a buyer/collector (not necessarily buying the most expensive, but perhaps by supporting any niche/style/maker that they think is contributing to the craft as a whole).