“Do not pity the dead Harry, pity the living, and, above all those who live without love”-ALBUS DUMBLEDORE, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
No matter what, we are all at some point in need of an act of true love. It doesn’t necessarily have to be from you ‘better half’. Love can be a simple touch on the forehead from your mother, a proud look from your father, a kiss from your child, holding hands with your lover, a tight hug from your best friend, or a simple text from your siblings. It can exist in different shapes and forms and at the end of the day, we are all humans hoping to love and to be loved.
When I look around me sometimes all I see is hate. I wonder if society has descended into chaos. But when all hope is lost, when I lose faith in humanity, love is the only thing that reassures me that there is still a bit of empathy left in the human race.
To define love is a very difficult thing, it has got many definitions. Psychology and science say one thing but philosophy says another. But the Greeks tried to grapple with this enigma and came up with 8 types of love. Here’s a crash course about the eight types of love according to the Greeks.
This kind of love portrays the idea of sexual desire and passion. It is named after the Greek god of fertility and love. Eros is the kind of love where you fall madly and deeply in love with a person. It is very powerful and intense. If you are in this kind of relationship there will be a fire inside you, a burning passion. Some believe that this thirsty passion is brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows (Cupid is the Roman counterpart of Eros). It is guided by lust and pleasure, it can be blind and often leads to loss of control. Hence, the ancient Greeks considered it to be dangerous and frightening. They believed that the fire will burn out quickly and in order to sustain, it must be supported by one of the other forms of love.
Philia was valued more than Eros by the ancient Greeks because it is the love between equals. It is also known as brotherly love or affectionate love. The love between friends is classified into this category. This type of love is often called ‘Platonic love’, named after Greek philosopher Plato who stated that physical attraction is not a necessary part of love. A good friend who knows you and accepts you for who you are is an asset and is worth millions. So if you’re surrounded by a bunch of like-minded homies never let them go!
Storge or familiar love is more or less like Phila, as it is not associated with physical attraction, but is more of natural or instinctive love. The love between parents and their children is a familiar love. Storge is all about forgiveness and sacrifice. Storge makes you feel safe and secure. It is one of the strongest forms of love and is rooted in understanding and concern. It is deeply emotional as there is no pain in life bigger than seeing our parent’s tears. No matter how hard we fight, at the end of the day, we all love to go home and spend some time with them because we know that nobody can love us as they do.
Philautia is self-love. It is something we ignore but is really important. According to Aristotle, ” All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself”. Life would be difficult if one does not love oneself, but excessive self-love can lead to narcissism. Balanced self-love can do wonders to one’s life; it can put one in a better mental state and can create a feeling of compassion towards fellow beings. It is easy to scrutinize yourself by pointing out everything wrong with you but it takes immense courage to accept your flaws and to be at peace with it.
Ludus or playful love is regarded as the new generation or modern love. The Greeks described it as the kind of love between young lovers. Ludus is infatuation or the feeling of butterflies in the stomach. Studies show that in this stage of love one’s brain act as if it was on drugs. The amount of love hormones in the blood is comparatively higher and can make you feel good about everything. It makes you feel alive and happy. Ludus is definitely not a serious or a matured form of love, it’s all about having fun so the longevity is questionable.
Pragma or enduring love is the most mature form of love. It is seen among couples who have been together for a very long time; for example, love between grandparents. In this form of love, the couple tends to be more practical and realistic. It is easy to fall in love but hard to stay in love, so Pragma requires a lot of patience and compromises. Understanding and tolerance is another main factor involved in this kind of relationship. The one with pragmatic love is the luckiest of all because it is everlasting. It is the literal definition of always and forever.
Agape is love that you give others without expecting anything in return. It is unconditional love; to love someone without any terms and conditions. It is the love for humanity. Only people with the purest of hearts, people who can empathize, can have such type of love. It is the purest form of love as it is devoid of any expectations or desire and is often described as spiritual love. If you are familiar with such a person in your life hold on to them and never let them go because it is really rare to find this form of love.
Mania or obsession is the most dangerous form of love. Obsession towards anything is risky. It can lead to jealousy and madness. People with low self-esteem are said to be prone to this. Mania mainly arises due to the imbalance between Eros and Ludu, and if not kept in control, can lead to very dodgy situations. A bit of possessiveness and jealousy is healthy but excess of it can be troublesome. A good relationship requires a perfect balance, each partner should have their own personal space and value each other’s privacy, and above all, they should trust each other. If you’re in this kind of a relationship then run!
Which of these have you experienced?