Now imagine if after hearing that story, the 5-year old was given an assignment to explain what romantic love was to everyone else in his class.
It's my contention that most academics are like that 5-year old, and that they fall into one of two camps: those obedient five-year olds who do their best to explain something in which they have limited or no personal experience, or, worse, like the bratty five year old who declares brazenly that romantic love doesn't exist at all: "Love is a social construct, and..."
And of course, Love in my analogy is like Tr-th, or G-d, or the mystical experience, or the Ultimate Reality, or whatever.
And what happens is that the good-faith academics who are trying to explain the Great Mystery, not having had any experience in it themselves, hollowly employ the terminology that they've heard from their own teachers. They will speak of cookies and cookie jars as if those were not figures of speech, but actualities. And this is why the history of philosophy is so clotted with minor, secondary, explanatory works of very little help or importance, and this (I think) has been the problem with much of literary criticism since that genre became institutionalized.
Plato's forms, Parmenides's One & Many, Jesus's mustard seeds, Buddha's Self -- all of these are figures used to help a willing mind "unteach" itself. The use of paradox is prevalent in every major religious tradition precisely because it brings us to our wit's end.
But, seduced by the exoticism of the language employed by these and other sages, legions of academics (and monks before them) have crowded library shelves with commentary, criticism, and derivative theory. Ask someone what Love is, and they will tell you that they know someone famous who once said that Love is like when there's only one cookie left in the jar, and...
And maybe it has to be that way. What could they do, really? They could not fall in love with you just to teach you what love is. They could grin and smile knowingly, confident that the experience would find everyone some day, but they wouldn't get tenure for that. And of course, they could deny that love exists, not having experienced it themselves, and convinced (theoretically) that, even if they had experienced love for themselves, they would not be able to communicate it to others; and so they might say, "There is no such thing as love."
And honestly, there'd be no harm in that.