What are the different kinds of love? The ancient Greeks had at least six words (categories) for love—
EROS, or sexual passion. Not always a safe form of love at that; often considered dangerous loss of control.
PHILIA, or deep friendship. Denoting deep comradery, loyalty, and sacrifice for the other.
LUDUS, or playful love. As between children or young lovers. Or cheerful banter in a local pub.
AGAPE, or love for everyone. Selfless love, extended to all people and even distant strangers.
PRAGMA, or longstanding love. The deep-understanding that develops between married couples. It conveys the compromises we make over time to make a relationship work. Patience. Forgiveness.
PHILAUTIA, or love of self. Describes a love that can be an unhealthy self-obsessed narcissism, OR, a love wherein you are secure in yourself, enabling you to have a greater capacity to love others.
As with much of Western Philosophy, compound concepts are grouped under a single word. Thus, the above may be helpful for your understanding, but if we simply recall the numerous relationships we have, it should be obvious that love takes on many shapes. In each love shape the feelings are different, the expressions are different. So also are the degrees of commitment.
Love cannot be discussed solely in a conceptual realm. We need to drag it down to earth, to more human surroundings. When we start talking about love at this level, it forces us to become eminently practical. It is not erroneous to say that to understand love one must first love. So if we are to have any meaningful discussion on love, it truly helps to be in love— with a spouse, a partner, a child, a friend, even a dog. Hopefully, the “other” is reciprocating in some manner which feeds your soul.
So if you want to get into this discussion, ponder the different people you love. How is each love different? How would you describe each feeling? Each different expression? If they all feel the same then something is wrong. If you are expressing your love for your wife the same as you express your love for your car, believe me, something is terribly wrong.
NEXT DISCUSSION: Why does love even exist?!?
Let’s make love an action verb,