“Love colours experience […] and thereby changes the world as a horizon of experience and behavior by means of its own characteristic totality. It gives certain things and events, people and communications, a special persuasive power.” – Niklas Luhmann in Love. A Sketch (2010: 8)
The one archetypal social system that arises from family life has love as its commonality-seeking communication medium. The fact that there are four such archetypes in total (family, religion, politics and economy) to someone’s experience means that the other four systems are of a still typical, but less rooted systemic type. Luhmann’s conviction that love permeates and structures many systems means that we not should look at love as guiding behavior – such as sexual fidelity – first and foremost, but as ‘making things more persuasive’ in their control over us. This is, of course, a very vague description of the feeling, almost vague enough to take its place among common descriptions of love.
When speaking of the family system, love arises as the ‘betwixt and between’ of the better/worse distinction, where the better child is born in the first place and thus able to receive love (as admiration), but the worse child that is born after all is bound to receive more love (as care). Though the medium love is structuring expectations and communications within this system, the child is free to / must interpret what he/she received in accordance with its own insights.