Disclaimer: Greek mythology is only used to help explain – I am not suggesting to go and follow the Greek “gods”
an intense feeling of deep affection; feeling a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).
Valentines day is here, and love is in the air. Chocolates are being given and cards are being read. Yet, it feels like we’re missing something. These days love is advertised as giving gifts, sexual passion, and romance. Some aspects of love are being missed. Here are some of the original meanings and words.
Greek words for love
Eros – The Sexualized love widely portrait these days
The first kind of love was Eros, named after the Greek god of fertility, and it represented the idea of sexual passion and desire. But the Greeks didn’t always think of it as something positive, as we tend to do today. In fact, Eros was viewed as a dangerous, fiery, and irrational form of love that could take hold of you and possess you. Eros involved a loss of control that frightened the Greeks.
Phillia – Deep friendship shared by some
The second variety of love was philia or friendship, which the Greeks valued far more than the base sexuality of eros. Philia concerned the deep comradely friendship that developed between brothers in arms who had fought side by side on the battlefield. It was about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them. (Another kind of philia, sometimes called storge, embodied the love between parents and their children.)
We can all ask ourselves how much of this comradely philia we have in our lives. It’s an important question in an age when we attempt to amass “friends” on Facebook or “followers” on Twitter—achievements that would have hardly impressed the Greeks.
Ludus – A widely advertised type of love
This was the Greeks’ idea of playful love, which referred to the affection between children or young lovers. We’ve all had a taste of it in the flirting and teasing in the early stages of a relationship. But we also live out our ludus when we sit around in a bar bantering and laughing with friends, or when we go out dancing.
Agape – “Jesus love”
The fourth love, and perhaps the most radical, was agape or selfless love. This was a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers.
Philautia – Self love
The Greek’s sixth variety of love was philautia or self-love. And the clever Greeks realized there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed and focused on personal fame and fortune. A healthier version enhanced your wider capacity to love. The idea was that if you like yourself and feel secure in yourself, you will have plenty of love to give others.
Even as we go tthrough our valentines day, and other days as well, remember these different types of love, not just the over commercialized love of today, but the other types loves which show love in different ways.