Everyone seems to desire after romantic love, but few of us understand that far from being timeless and universal, romantic love is a modern concept.
But there’re, of course, many other ways to love. By concerning ourselves with romantic love, we risk deserting other types of love that are more unchanging or readily available, especially in the longer term, demonstrate to be more healing and fulfilling.
PS: Parts of this blog post have been assorted from Psychologytoday.com for better understanding.
The Ancient Greeks had numerous words for love, allowing them to distinguish more clearly between the different types. Are you ready to learn?
- Eros: It’s sexual or zealous love and is the type most similar to our modern concept of romantic love. In Greek myth, it’s a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. The arrow breaks us and we fall in love. In modern times, eros has been associated with the broader life force.
- Philia: The hallmark of philia, or friendship, is shared goodwill. Friendships founded on goodness are related not only with mutual benefit but also with companionship, dependability, and trust. In a nutshell, philia transforms eros from a lust for possession into an instinct for philosophy.
- Storge: It’s a kind of philia relating to the love between parents and their children. It differs from most philia in that it tends, especially with younger children, to be one-sided or irregular.
- Agape: It’s universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. Unlike storge, it doesn’t depend on filiation or familiarity. It can be said to encompass the modern concept of altruism, defined as unselfish concern for the well-being of others. More generally, altruism, or agape, helps to build and maintain the psychological, social, and, indeed, environmental fabric that shields, sustains, and enriches us.
- Ludus: It’s playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, etc. The focus is on fun, and sometimes on conquest, with no strings attached.
- Pragma: It’s a kind of love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. Sexual attraction takes a back seat in favor of personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals, and making it work. In the days of arranged marriages, pragma must have been common. Although out-of-date, it remains widespread, most visibly in certain high-profile celebrity and political pairings.
- Philautia: It’s like self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy. It’s the healthy kind of love we give ourselves and need, for personal growth. It’s essential for any relationship, we can only love others if we truly love ourselves and we can only care for others if we truly care for ourselves.
Love aims at beautiful and good things, because the ownership of beautiful and good things is called happiness, and happiness is an end-in-itself. Of all lovely and good things, the best, most beautiful, and most reliable is truth or wisdom, and above them is love.