A Short Definition of Love

[From private correspondence]

Correspondent: Could you give me a ‘definition’ of Love in concise terms as possible?

Certainly. Love is the expansion of the individual, its consciousness, and its Universe:

  1. in all directions equally;
  2. without partiality; and
  3. free from any restriction.

We could get this shorter whilst saying an identical thing — “Love is the expansion of the individual in all directions equally.” — but we would be sacrificing clarity for the sake of conciseness in so doing.

This is described fully in Part II of the Introduction to the Book of the Law — I don’t know why people seem to enjoy deliberately and persistently failing to read this. I also cannot comprehend why anybody would voluntarily choose to live in such a tiny universe as one where “love” has anything to do with sentimentality, or, even worse, compassion, rather than with this unspeakably perfect idea.

Also, to anticipate some inane prattling, the fact that love must be “under will” does not constitute a “restriction” — love must have a subject and therefore a direction, and without this direction it cannot exist; “under will” is therefore not a concept which restricts it, but the concept that gives it its very existence. “under will” means expansion in all directions equally from the centre of the Self.

A “restriction” is anything which inhibits this omnidirectional expansion, any notion of morality whatsoever being a very obvious one. Sentimentality is another, and hate is a third. Naturally one can indulge in these things (indeed, arguably one must do so if expansion is to proceed without partiality) but one should put them back down when one is done. One may paint one’s living room green, for instance, but if one starts to believe that everything should be green one has a problem.


Some clown: Love without sentiment is not Love, it is nothing.

Capitalise the first letter of that last word, and you have something — quite by accident — very close to the truth. “Love under will,” carried to its ultimate perfection, is indeed Nothing, or Nuit — there can be no restriction if one lets “there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing,” for if one does this, there is nothing separate that can restrict. One cannot do this (or even poorly approximate it) if one picks and choose what one thinks one should incorporate into one’s being.

“Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love [i.e. sentimental love] and love [i.e. love without sentiment, Nothing].”

All this hoo-hah about “unconditional love” is really just a clumsy and inept way of saying “without restriction.” People find ingenious ways to refuse to understand the truth even when it comes out of their own mouths.

Correspondent: Can you give a couple examples of how one would “expand equally”?


1. A person feels like they have a moral duty to stay in a miserable marriage and look after their obnoxious brats because “they must fulfil their familial responsibilities,” when in actual fact they want to drop all their responsibilities and go trekking across America by themselves. By removing the restriction of this idea of familial responsibility, that person can expand his consciousness past the artificial boundary that he had created for himself, and realise — and do — what he actually wants. Until he does this, he cannot fulfil his Will, because his moral sensibilities are preventing him from acquiring the consciousness necessary for him to allow himself to do that. Until this point, his perception of his universe has been partial and restricted because he is flat out denying some possibilities to himself, and therefore cannot objectively assess them and make the “correct” choice.

2. A person believes that love is entwined with ideas of sentimentality, and spends his life chasing this ideal. Being an ideal, he’ll never find it. Never being able to find it, he’ll waste his life chasing phantasms. His idea is pushing him in a particular direction, restricting his growth in all other directions, so not “in all directions equally.” All he has to do is to let this idea go (and any other similar ideas) and take the unimaginable step of not replacing it with another idea, and to just observe what is, instead of what he thinks it. All these ideas about how the universe “must” be are restricting, since action and thought are inevitably based on those ideas, and unless those ideas happen to be the ultimate truth (which, naturally, is extremely unlikely) then they will warp and distort his growth into “unnatural” ways. If he stops thinking the Universe must be this or that, he’ll expand naturally in all directions, and his ideas will no longer determine his actions. Achieving this with ideas, thoughts, emotions and the rest, he’ll find that there is only one thing left to determine his actions — his Self. The restrictions which have prevented this Self from doing that have been removed, so the “centre of gravity” of his conscious self becomes aligned with the centre of his real Self.

Many, many more examples along the above lines can be constructed. Crowley gives a number of them in the introduction to Magick in Theory and Practice. Again, it’s written plainly in the introduction to his most well known work, but people manage to deliberately not see it.

One Comment on “A Short Definition of Love”

By Mateus. October 11th, 2015 at 7:38 am

Merriam-Webster didn’t get the definition of Thelemite wrong, but they only inlcude an older (likely long obsolete) usage and not the more recent Croweian usage.

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