“What is love?”
This question leaves most individuals dumb-founded, and I mean the person who asked the question. If you were to ask this question to 100 people, you’d get 100 different answers. Love is so profoundly flexible and subjective that any situation can be acted out of Love.
A kiss from your girlfriend, is Love.
A comforting pat from a friend, is Love.
A slap from a mother, is Love too.
Isn’t it almost impossible to discern which truth is right for you when everyone has their own say about Love? They are right, but their opinions don’t cover the entire fact, because it’s based on their experiences.
Hence, we turn to philosophers, who probably understand the concepts of Love more than the rest. The Greeks, the psychologists, and great thinkers have their own set of opinions of Love based on studies and experiences.
What if, we piece them all together and discovered one great truth about Love? You’ll find out what the Greeks, an established modern psychologist, and great philosophers said about Love and we’ll get a typical pattern among them. That is most likely what Love really is.
Ancient Greeks Word for Love
Starting with the birthplace of the greatest philosophers, the ancient Greeks. They broke down Love into 8 words.
- Agape – Akin to the love of God to humans. Unconditional love for all.
- Philautia – An internal love that comes from within you, for you.
- Pragma – The love between old couples who are married for a long time.
- Philia – The love that relates to the deep comradely friendship that develops between brothers in arms who had fought side by side on the battlefield.
- Mania – An obsession to possess. When external love becomes a need to fill the holes in their life.
- Ludus – The euphoria in a love relationship. When everything looks like flowers in heaven.
- Storge – Born within familiarity and kinship. Like you and your mother.
- Eros – A passionate love that arouses romantic and sexual desires.
From the modern psychologist, Robert J. Sternberg
Robert J. Sternberg is a Professor of Human Development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University and an Honorary Professor of Psychology at Heidelberg University, Germany. He has the Triangular Theory of Love.
According to this theory, Love comprised of 3 main components: Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment.
What do these 3 components mean?
Intimacy – You feel close, bonded, and connected to the other person.
Passion – You feel sexually attracted and have a robust romantic desire for the other.
Commitment – You’ve decided to stay with this person.
The interaction and separation of each component have birthed 7 types of Love –
From great philosophers around the world
- Neale Donald Walsch, the author of Conversations with God said, the expression of unconditional Love is God.
- Aristotle, Greek philosopher, and scientist said, Love, unifies 2 individuals into a “we,” similar to a Twin Flame relationship.
- Gary Chapman, the author of 5 Love Languages, said, Love, is a choice you make every day.
- Dalai Lama XIV said Love is the absence of judgment.
- Paulo Coelho, Brazilian lyricist, and novelist said, Love, is what makes you smile when you’re tired.
The Greeks said there are 8 types of Love, Robert Sternberg noted there are 7, and each great thinker has their own opinions about Love. Of course, we’d be confused about Love because everyone seriously said different things.
But what can we discover by assembling these pieces of truths?
Love is beyond romance between 2 individuals
The modern society is too preoccupied with Hollywood love stories that we’ve forgotten Philia, Consummate Love, Agape, Companionate Love or Philautia. Love lives in your relationship with God, yourself, and other people. It is Love that binds us together regardless of our skin color, creed, religion, or origin.
Love is malleable and continuously evolving
We’re wired to love ever since the existence of humans and it has taken many shapes through time. It can evolve from Eros to Infatuation to Romantic Love to Ludus or straight to Mania and ends in Empty Love. No one can predict what’s next for Love, but you can be sure that Love will change its shape many times.
One definition of Love is non-existent
If there is, it’ll become a standard that all of us need to follow. Imagine this. Everyone’s love story is identical, Love evolves like a pre-programmed process, and those who can’t achieve the standards will be stigmatized. It makes the world worse than it is now! I’m deeply grateful that Love is subjective, flexible, and unpredictable. This is what keeps our lives alive!
When Love is personal, the real truth of what Love is, matters not. What matters, is your truth about Love that works for you. And spread your Love to everyone else.
- Rania Naim, “The 7+ Types Of Love You’ll Probably Experience In This Life,” March 31, 2019, https://thoughtcatalog.com/rania-naim/2016/02/the-7-kinds-of-love-and-how-they-can-help-you-define-yours-according-to-the-ancient-greeks/
- Mateo Sol, “8 Different Types of Love According to the Ancient Greeks,” https://lonerwolf.com/different-types-of-love/
- “What Is Sternberg’s Triangular Theory Of Love?” September 4, 2018, https://www.regain.us/advice/love/what-is-sternbergs-triangular-theory-of-love/
- Helm, Bennett, “Love”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/love/