Lately, I’ve been finding myself really thinking about what is the definition of love.
Or is there?
I think there are many different ways to describe love, or better yet the various depths to love. Which is why I think the Greeks have got it right. They have 6 different words for love, which I’ll explain briefly, but I highly recommend you look into it. It’s fascinating.
- Eros – Can be defined as sexual passion. The ancient Greeks didn’t always look favorably upon this type of love. Instead it was viewed as a possibly dangerous, passionate and irrational love that could cloud your thinking. In a way, it could be seen as overcoming your rational mind and possessing you. So it involves a loss of control. Seems to me that’s exactly the only kind of love people nowadays are seeking unfortunately. A feeling that “overcomes” us. So one night stands and flings would be defined as Eros love.
- Philia – Can be defined as deep friendship. Obviously this would be the next level in comparison to Eros love and viewed as more valuable as a result. It was based of a comradely that developed between men fighting side by side, and the bond and trust that would form as a result of the loyalty and sacrifice that took place during war. Makes you think about how much we value Philia love in our society, with all the social media and technology we have, how much time do we spend forming lasting trustworthy bonds in the ‘trenches’ so to speak? Hardly any, since we develop our relationships and our friendships from a distance. Over the phone or through facebook for the most part. You hardly have to trust your ‘friend’ or ‘comrade’ with your life enough to learn all their moves as if your life depended on it. Not a deep love as Philip would require.
- Ludus- Is a playful love. Kind of when you think of flirting or teasing. It’s based off of the idea of ‘young love.’ Many Friday nights are filled with Ludus love nowadays. Flirtatous glances across the dance floor, sultry smiles, laughing, drinking and dancing with people you’ve just met. Society disapproves of Ludus love (as well as many types of love on this list) but Ludus can be essential to relieve stress and create fun environments. Ludus love can be beneficial for lots of us. Get out of the house, away from the TV. Link up with real living breathing humans and just have fun. Live life to the fullest but it is important to maintain a knowledge of what is enough. There is a very delicate line between playful and fun, and a swirl into darkness that is difficult to get out of. Today, people have taken Ludus love over the deep end and it has gone from a harmless endeavour to release stress, to how far can they push the limits. And that is not the same. That is trying to escape reality and your life. Not Ludus love.
- Agape – This is the love we have for everyone. (Or should have for everyone) Agape love is how we treat everyone in our day to day lives, no matter if they are our immediate family or strangers on the bus. It can be loosely translated to ‘charity’ or ‘gift’ love. As humanity lately we have had a steady decline of Agape love. We tend to only show any form of love or even basic kindness to those we know personally, or those we understand, where Agape love would want us to extend our capacity to care for those outside our comfort zone, in a way we would want to feel loved in return. Whereas Apage love is a love meant for all, not to be kept in a selfish way.
- Pragma – Can be defined as a longstanding love. One that develops over time. After years of patience and tolerance as well as compromise with another individual you develop Pragma love for them. This love comes after the ‘falling in love’ stage and it focuses on the ‘staying in love.’ Pragma love recognizes that love takes work and continued effort, which is most likely a reason many marriage end in divorce, since there was no continued effort… no Pragma love. This love must be always given not just constantly wanted to be received. That is an investment into Pragma love.
- Philautia – The final love is the love of the self. Even this category was broken down further by the Greeks. If pushed to far, it becomes a narcissistic love which focuses soley on personal fame, fortune etc. But in a healthy dose, Philautia love allows us to feel secure in our self and this creates the perfect platform from which to express the other 5 loves more fully. When you have a balanced Philautia love, your ability to create Pragma love or Agape love will come more naturally.
As I’ve been studying the idea of love and all the possibilities of love there can be, it leads me to believe that today, our idea of love has become VERY narrow minded. If we don’t believe a person is suitable for a long term partner, or they are a family member that we grew up with, than basically we can’t hold any type of love for them.
I disagree. I think love can and should be shown in many differing ways, and at all times. Obviously depending on the situation, the type of love you apply would vary, but there is a love applicable for each person who comes into our life in every season. I think if our world was more accepting of love in general, hate would have less place to squeeze it’s way in.
Just something to consider.
-Elton John/Can You Feel The Love Tonight-