“What is Love?” The most Googled question in 2012 and still among Google’s most popular search queries to this day…yet we still have no definitive answer. Such an abstract emotion and intangible a concept that the verb to love can be used to express one’s intense affection for things of varying significance, importance and longevity. You might “love” a new hobbie but grow bored of it next month, while the “love” you feel for your new born child is unending.
What then should be expected when you profess your “love” to another to whom you are romantically involved. Will this love fizzle like your “love” for kickboxing, will it strenthen into an unending devotion like the love feel for your child, or will it become something else entirely?
With so many emotions tied to one word it’s no wonder so many of us have taken to google in search of some form of validation for our feelings.
The ancient Greeks had 7 terms to define the various types of affection that the English language has come to collectively define as love.
Storge, natural love, the love we have for our family. This kind of love is something inherent within all of us, an undeniable connection we feel for our parents, our siblings, our children and grandchildren.
Philia, the love that you have for friends.
Ludus, this is playful love, like childish love or flirting.
Eros: sexual and erotic desire kind of love (positive or negative)
Pragma: long-standing love. The love shared between a married couple.
Romantic Love, Eros and Pragma the feeling of being in love with another person in a non-familial way is perhaps the most difficult type of love to quantify
Romantic love ebbs and flows in time and in space, existing as an unquenchable desire or “hunger” as personified by singer/song writer Bette Midler’s The Rose.
Beginning as Eros, this early or new stage of love exists as lustful passionate desire often burning hot early on. This feeling eventually simmers from Eros to Pragma, but while the excitement of Eros may fade as years go by, what develops is Pragma, a deeper feeling of emotional attachment based on lasting commitment, trust and security. This is the lasting love of reality, while Eros is fantastical love. Eventually married love can become Storie as well, as later romantic love becomes familial in nature. With time spousal roles can change as upholding vows of for better or worse, in sickness and health begin to sway towards worse and sickness.
Lasting love changes with time and place and circumstance. True love is love that withstands the many curve balls life throws it’s way.
Agape: this is the unconditional love, or divine love
Philautia: the love of the self (negative or positive)
So what is love?
When my first child was born I instantly knew what love was. That feeling of intense connection to another human being has become my litmus test for true love; romantic, familial or otherwise,the the test is full proof. Would I die (of heartache) if something happened to this person? If the answer is yes, then it’s love.
Do you have a litmus test for true love? Please share it in the comments if you do!
Happy Valentine’s Day, my Friends! Until next Sunday, be well!