What is Love
What is love? Seriously? The Greeks divided it up into several concepts but Buzz takes on the Greek heavyweights with his own version of what love is. Bring it on.
What is love? Well that question has been asked probably for as long as there have been questioning things to ask it but I’m going to try and sum it up in 500 words. The Ancient Greeks said there were many kinds of love, but I honestly disagree with the Greeks (for once). In fact, just so you know what I’m disagreeing with, let’s list the Greek types of love so you can make up your own mind:
Agape – Means brotherly love in modern Greek. In ancient Greek, it refers to a deeper sense of true love than the passionate kind suggested by ‘eros’.
Eros – Passionate love with sensual desire and longing. Plato had his own take on it. He said that although you first feel eros for someone you want to have as a partner, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of their inner beauty, which isn’t sexual at all. That’s why we talk about ‘platonic love’…
Philia – In modern Greek, ‘philia’ means ‘friendship’. In ancient texts, ‘philos’ meant a general love between family and between friends. It also referred to loving activities not just people.
Storge – means ‘natural affection’ in both ancient and modern Greek, the kind felt by parents for their children. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a description of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in ‘loving’ the tyrant. We have all probably felt a bit of ‘storge’ now and then.
The thinky Greeks did a good job… But in my opinion there are only two kinds of love. Love for a partner, and love for a friend or family member. I will be talking about the former kind.
The thing that is most commonly mistaken for espousal love is lust. And whilst lust is certainly enjoyable and is usually an important part of a lasting relationship, it is most definitely not the same thing. When you love someone – really love someone – then you want to make them happy whatever the cost.
In my experience, a good example is that I want to pleasure my girlfriend instead demanding that she pleasure me. I want to see a film that she may like, or go to her favourite restaurant.
I first realised that I loved her because I wanted to make her happy regardless of whether I was happy or not. This was when I first began to be her friend (she was in a relationship with someone else, and seeing her with him was painful to me, but I did nothing because her happiness was more important to me than my own, and I thought she was happy with him). It was only when we grew closer as friends and she started to drift from him that I made a move. We’ve been together ever since. Lust was not part of the equation in that situation; it came with the relationship, not before.
True love is the most beautiful slavery. It is beautiful in the perspective it gives you, and the purpose it adds to your life. But is it worth it? You make a lot of sacrifices for love: time, money and sometimes friends and family. You don’t choose to fall in love. You fall in love and you can’t help it – or help who you fall in love in with. You are trapped within your own emotional state.
I happen to think it is worth it. Everyone benefits from feeling strongly enough about another person to make both of you happy. You spend your lives together and you support each other throughout your hardships and although you’re shackled, you are shackled to each other. I think that is more than adequate re-embursement.
Love is a part of all of our lives whether we want it or not. It can be painful and inconvenient, but it’s also the most important part of human life and when it works out, nothing compares to the feelings of completeness and comfort that love brings.
I think real love should be enshrined as a key part of our society, from the central government, to the smallest office or business and it is the one thing in my life where I don’t mind being completely irrational!
Tattoo of the Greek word ‘agape’. Which, in ancient Greek, means a higher level of true love…
The love that the editor of Mookychick is currently feeling for this pretty tattoo example is probably ‘philia’. She is having tattoophilia.