February 1, 2016
It Must Be Love
“There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.” This beautiful quote from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park really rings true, especially in today’s day and age when love is felt and expressed in a multitude of ways – it is not black and white.
The legalisation of gay marriage has long been at the forefront of conversation as it continues to push its way through the throngs.
But in the midst of heated arguments between people fervently fighting for and against are tales of true love rising up from the ashes.
I was scrolling through my Instagram account recently when a photo of two women passionately embracing and dressed in white, caught my eye. The pair had married in Noosa and they looked blissfully happy, photos of them walking hand-in-hand down the aisle, showered in confetti, was reminiscent of hetrosexual weddings I’d been to – the happiness and their love akin.
But as society progresses and people are more comfortable expressing and talking about the love they feel for others, it’s also interesting to look at the different kinds of love that exist.
I came across Australian author Roman Krznaric, who wrote about the ancient Greeks and their sophistication in talking about love and recognising the many different versions of the word.
“They would have been shocked by our crudeness in using a single word both to whisper ‘l love you’ over a candlelit meal and to casually sign an email ‘lots of love’,” says Roman.
So given it’s the love month of February, take a moment to look at the love you’re blessed with in your life – it may be the love of your husband, wife or partner, your children, your friends or even your loyal pet companion, love is all around. And as F. Scott Fitzgerald says, “There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice”.
TYPES OF LOVE IN ANCIENT GREECE
Eros was named after the Greek god of fertility, and represented the idea of sexual passion and desire.
Storge embodies the love between parents and their children.
Ludus was the Greek’s idea of playful love, which referred to the playful affection between children or young lovers.
Agape was selfless love extended to all people – family members or distant strangers. Agape was later translated into Latin as caritas, which is the origin of our word charity.
Philia or friendship was valued far more than the base sexuality of Eros. Philia concerned the deep friendship that developed between brothers in arms who had fought side by side on the battlefield.
Pragma or mature love was the deep understanding that developed between long-married couples. It was about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.
Philautia or self-love, but there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed, and focused on gaining personal fame and fortune. A healthier version of philautia enhanced your wider capacity to love. The idea was if you like yourself and feel secure in yourself, you will have plenty of love to give others.