This is a phrase from one of my favorite songs by John Lennon, LOVE.

Love is knowing we can be

As a speaker of English as a second language, my first response was like we can be what?

I know it's not such a good idea to take song lyrics seriously. Still, I was wondering what it could mean.

Can I take it to mean:

Love is knowing we can exist

Or could it have any implied meanings?

  • 2
    It would be helpful if closers demonstrated their reasons for believing questions to be merely a matter of opinion. Mere assertion is not enough, and may be misguided.
    – Anton
    Mar 24 at 8:25

3 Answers 3


I think yours a valid interpretation, and also agree with Anton's answer.

However, to address the more abstract phrasing, I would interpret it to not exclusively be a cause or reason for either 'being' or for constituting a 'we'—the ambiguity is intentional; it suggests how the 'we' can be anything (including, but not limited to, "real", "feeling", "be loved", &c.).

  • 1
    Joachim///The ambiguity is intentional? So that it could be left for open interpretation? I must say I feel like I'm struck by lightning. Thank you! Mar 26 at 0:33

In brief:
I think, therefore I exist (Descartes)
We love, therefore We exist.

In full:
The lyric parallels a key philosophical writing of René Descartes.

A summary is:

1000 Word Philosophy
If you are reading this, then you are probably looking at a screen or a piece of paper. Think to yourself: “I have some paper in my hand,” “I am in front of a computer” or whatever fits.

Is your belief here certain? Is there any way that you could believe this, yet your belief be false? Is there any possibility that you are mistaken about this belief? René Descartes (1596-1650) argues you could: this belief, and almost all other beliefs, are not certain.

Descartes argues that there is one clear exception, however: “I think, therefore I am.” He claims to have discovered a belief that is certain and irrefutable. Perhaps there is no saying more famous in philosophy than this phrase, often known as the “Cogito” after its Latin phrasing, “cogito ergo sum”.

The song lyric may be interpreted as hope of drawing a similar conclusion. A conclusion that “love” (being a belief shared by two people) is certain evidence of a “We”. Just as Descartes argued that thought (a certain activity of one mind) is evidence of existence of an “I”.

The “we” (with object form “us”) is real and of long usage as a pronoun to represent married couples, lovers, parents and so forth.

  • 2
    Would the downvoter care to explain their reasoning? it is good to have a reasoned discussion with downvoting but I find it offensive when a reasoned answer merely gets an unexplained negative response. This behaviour is helpful neither to the answerer nor to the poser of questions and is one of very few permitted bad features of this generally excellent site.
    – Anton
    Mar 24 at 12:09
  • Do you have any references showing that the lyric references Descartes? The word "think" appears nowhere in the song.
    – alphabet
    Mar 25 at 12:51
  • @alphabet The OP asks what it could mean, and could they take it to mean … In my answer I attempt to explain the most likely meaning, and hence to say that their supposition about its meaning is correct. The most likely meaning is that based on an obvious parallel with the widely and well-known remark of Descartes. The evidence that “I” exist is that I think. The evidence that a “we” exists is that two people love each other. There is therefore no need for the reference, even if it exists; nor is “think” needed when discussing its parallel, love.
    – Anton
    Mar 25 at 14:05
  • I don't see the parallel; Descartes view isn't "thinking is knowing I can exist," it's "by thinking I know I must exist."
    – alphabet
    Mar 25 at 14:38
  • @alphabet a trivial difference but if you are not convinced by the parallel I have no further way of persuading you. Thanks for the stimulation.
    – Anton
    Mar 25 at 15:05

Context is important. From Love (John Lennon)

Love is you, you and me
Love is knowing we can be

We can be love, people! Theoretically, we can be [love], individually or as a unit; it's not really clear.
In songs, rhyming is usually very important, and in English, you can leave out words that were just mentioned.

We're not married, but we could be [married] tomorrow.

And leaving room for interpretation is common practice, so who's to say what all love is…besides Lennon, in this, and Kim's comics in the '70s. It was a different time.

Love Is all about communication, Kim

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