The ancient Greeks studied love, and classified it into different types, depending on the relationship of the people involved. When the term love is mentioned, most people tune their minds to romantic love, and only a few individuals realize that romantic love is a modern construct. There are many ways to love, and not all of them are related to romantic love, since preoccupying the mind with romantic love calls for the risk of neglecting other types of love. In the long term, all the other kinds of love prove to be more stable and readily available and prove to be more fulfilling and healing.
Eros is defined as passionate or sexual love, a type of love that is mostly seen in the modern world and is referred to as romantic love. The Greek myth has it that eros Is a kind of madness that is brought about by a cupid’s arrow, which breaches an individual and they fall in love. The contemporary period amalgamates eros with the broader life source something similar to Schopenhauer’s will, which is a fundamentally blind process of fighting for survival and reproduction. Passionate love has been severally sung about by singers and poets, who describe it as a painful longing, exciting, intense and short-lived.
Passionate love is more important than the other types of love, but when people are intoxicated by it, they most of the time lose direction and perspective. People are adviced not to make decisions based on this kind of love since the results are not desirable. Individuals have gone to deeper extents of struggling and doing all sorts of things for eros love, such as spending their money, cheating on their spouses, or even rejecting their families. The feelings are real but are bound to change in the future. When the feelings are no more there, the ones involved begin regretting and wishing that they did not do the things that they did while they were in love.
Eros love, according to the ancient Greeks, is frightening and dangerous since it involves an aspect of loss of control through an impulse to procreate. It is an intense type of love that brings about sexual and romantic feelings, and it is a beautiful idealistic love that c can only be found in the hearts of the spiritually mature. A misuse of eros love can lead to impulsive acts and heartbreaks. Eros love burns hot and bright but also burns out fast, and it’s flame, therefore, needs to be fanned all the time to prevent it from going off.
The ancient Greeks defined this as affectionate love, and in other words, it is the kind of love that is felt towards friends. This kind of love, according to the love experts of ancient Greece, is better than passionate love since it is a kind of love that is brought out by two people who viewed themselves as equals. Mostly, love is associated with romance, but according to Plato, physical attraction is not necessary for love, and that is why there are different types of love.
Philia is also known as platonic love, love without sexual contact, and it only involves respect, care, like, and warmth towards friends. The word platonic is a Greek word that means “without physical attraction” and is always associated with close friends who have endured difficulties together. The intensity and sexual attraction, in this case, is replaced by loyalty, support, and sacrifice. Philia has goodwill as its hallmark, and a person can only bear goodwill to another for three reasons; Because of the person in pleasant, useful or good.
The kind of friendship that is founded on goodness is mostly associated with companionship, mutual benefits, trust, and dependability. The best kind of friendship according to Plato is the one that lovers have for each other, philia that is born out of passionate love, and, therefore, has to feed on eros for it to be stronger. In this case, the love transforms from lust for possession into a shared desire for a better understanding of an individual and their partner, as well as the world. True friends work together to live fuller and truer lives by promoting good relationships between each other and training one another on the negatives and positives of their character.
Storge is more similar to philia, as it is also a type of love that does not involve physical attraction. It is also known as familial love, as it primarily deals with kinship. this is a natural form of affection which is mostly practiced by parents to their children, and children to their parents and siblings. Storge is also common in childhood friends, who grow together into adulthood. This kind of love is also a powerful form, and it can become an obstacle in the spiritual lives of individuals, especially if the family members are not in support of another’s life paths.
Storge love is born out of the fondness that an individual has for their family, or the dependency that a child has to their parent. Unlike philia and eros, storge is not dependant on personal qualities, and if given enough time, eros can mutate into storge. Storge is all about feeling indebted to play a providing role to another, and it is sometimes experienced when grown people need to take care of their parents in their old age. It is also experienced with dependant friends who need help in sickness or when they have a degenerative disease.
Storge love seems to end in cases where people are taking care of their ailing friends, and it is only about giving without receiving. In such a situation, the caretaker pours all their love to their friends, and they, therefore, need to turn elsewhere to feel loved as a person, and not as a caretaker. A person who pours a lot of love and does not receive any ends up becoming resentful, since they expect alit, but the love does not seem to come back to them.
Philautia is also known as self-love, and for an individual to take care of other people, or love them, they have first to love themselves. This is a healthy form of love, based on self-esteem and self-confidence as it is not focused on obsession, gain, fame, or fortune. Philautia is the most robust type of love, as it shares a Buddhist philosophy of self-compassion, which is based on the belief that when an individual has the strength to love themselves, and feel comfortable in their skin, they will be able to share the love and provide it to other people.
Aristotle stated that “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.” There is no way that an individual can share something that he does not have, and if they do not love themselves, they cannot love anyone else. The only way to true happiness is by finding unconditional personal love, and after learning to love and understand oneself, a person becomes ready to look for the spiritual freedom of themselves. That’s the only period that people can share their love with others since they have the required amount within themselves.
In contemporary society, people associate philautia with selfishness or people being stuck in themselves. This is, however, not why the ancient philosophers meant by self-love, there is no negativity in self-love, as it is necessary so that an individual can give it out to others. The same way that people show love to others is the way that they show love and compassion to themselves. Unhealthy self-love is known as hubris, and in ancient Greece, it was brought out when people placed themselves above God. It was punishable, since it easily led to destruction, and in the modern context, it leads to conflict, injustice, and hostility.
Agape is a universal type of love that a person shows to people that he does not know, such as strangers or god or nature. Agape love does not rely on family ties or affiliation, and Christian thinkers refer to it as a charity. Agape love encompasses the modern concept of altruism; it does not support selfishness and is only concerned with the welfare of other people, even the ones that someone is not familiar with.
Altruism or agape love has been linked to many benefits, as it is a type of love that leaves individuals with a euphoric feeling, or “helpers high.” At the end of it all, agape love is related to better physical and mental health, and also permanence. Altruism on a social level is a good sign of cooperative intentions, partnering potential and resource availability. It makes way for a debt account and encourages the beneficiaries to reciprocate the love with favors and gifts that are of greater value than the one that they received. In a general way, agape or altruism in building and maintaining a social, psychological, and environmental shield that protects, enriches, and sustains the human race.
There is an increasing state of anger and division in contemporary society, and the only way that people would make the situation better is by practicing agape love. Agape love is felt simply because the person feels it is human, and they have empathy based on their past experiences. It is the same love that leads people to forgive one another since they know what it is to have weaknesses frailties and imperfections. When people nurture this kind of love, they help themselves to be more loving and compassionate with other people.
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