Love: Meaning and its Purpose

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“People don’t like love, they like that flittery, flirty feeling. They don’t love love—love is sacrificial, love is ferocious, it’s not emotive. Our culture doesn’t love love, it loves the idea of love. It wants the emotion without paying anything for it. It’s ridiculous ” — Matt Chandler

To appraise anything with certainty in an articulate topic, especially a topic like ‘Love’ is pure insanity. Over the years, thousands of thinkers and philosophers from disparate parts of the Sphere tried to keep their theories in the venerated pages of history, yet no mortal being standing firm in the ephemeral world can or will be able to give the truest and incontrovertible definition of Love, a feeling that originates from human breast, clings two souls together and eventually gets lost in serenity. In this article, we shall try to espy both the meaning and the purpose of love, whilst knowing that to define love is quite paradoxical.

Love is an abstract noun possessing both varying and contrasting meanings, yet it is so flawless that love plays an immense and ineludible role in our culture, our society and even history. Love can be understood in divergent manners, depending upon the interest and the mindset of the lover. For example, the way you love your mother is quite different from the way you love your wife. Similarly, your love for your things or your passion is quite different. For time being, let us concentrate majorly on personal love.

As per ancient Greek, Love can be categorised into 7 types, namely Eros, Philia, Ludus, Storge, Philautia, Pragma, and Agápe. Let us discuss each of these in brief.

1. Eros: Romantic or Passionate Love

‘Eros’ is the first type of Love in ancient Greek philosophy. The term ‘Eros’ is taken from the name of the Greek god of Love and sex. Eros refers to sensual love, from which the English term ‘erotic’ is derived. In Greek mythology, it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. Eros generally refers to the feelings of arousal which are shared between partners who are physically attracted to one another. Eros in general is quite addicting and it burns like wildfire in youths. It can be the reason for both joys as always sorrows. The Greeks were quite fearful of this kind of love.

2. Philia: Affectionate Love

‘Philia’ is the second type of Love in Ancient Greek Philosophy. Philia in general is a type of love that you possess for your friends. ‘Philia’ is often used interchangeably with ‘brotherly love. Ironically, the Greeks thought that this kind of love was better than Eros. Whilst a lot of folks mean romance by love, Plato always argued that physical attraction and fulfilling physical desires weren’t necessary factors of love. So, this kind of Love is often regarded as ‘Platonic Love’.

3. Ludus: Playful Love

‘Ludus’ is the third type of Love in ancient Greek philosophy. Ludus in general refers to playful or non-aligned love. The paramount point of this kind of love is on the experience rather than true feelings. Ludus is observed at the beginning of a relationship and comprises elements like teasing, dancing, flirting etc. Ludus works best when both the partners are well matured and self-sufficient.

4. Storge: Familiar Love

‘Storge’ is the fourth type of Love in Greek philosophy. It is similar to that of Philia, however, when we talk solely about Storge, we mean love within a family, i.e the love of a parent towards offspring and vice versa. Talking more broadly, Storge is the fondness that originates from familiarity and protectorate. As a relationship gets matured, Eros often interchange itself with Storge.

5. Philautia: Self-love

‘Philautia’ is the fifth kind of love in ancient Greek philosophy. The term ‘Philautia’ stands for self-love. In the contemporary world, most folks would relate self-love with being selfish and narcissistic. However, it doesn’t mean so always. Self-love is indeed the best love, for it is quite impractical to love someone else without loving our self. Aristotle once remarked, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”

6. Pragma: Enduring Love

‘Pragma’ is the sixth kind of love in greek philosophy. It stands for ‘Enduring Love’. Pragma is just the opposite of Eros and can be best depicted by taking examples of old couples who have been together seen teenagers and still take the courage of sharing their melancholy. Pragma is a practical love established on reason or duty and one’s long term desires. Sexual attraction has little space in this kind of love. However, in the contemporary world Pragma is losing its identity at a drastic rate. The reason is simple, the changing mindset of modern people. People seem to follow that the grass is always greener on the other side.

7. Agápe: Unconditional Love

‘Agápe’ is the seventh kind of love in ancient Greek philosophy. It stands for ‘Unconditional Love’ i.e ‘Selfless Love’. The Greeks thought that this kind of love was quite radical, perhaps so few people seem capable of feeling it long-term. Agape is a kind of Godly Love, i.e the love possessed by the Almighty for all living beings. Human beings seem to lack the ability to love so selflessly. Even a mother who speaks of loving her child selflessly has some hidden intentions. Perhaps the mother thinks that the child which she loves boundlessly today will tomorrow return the same love to her in her old days. Anyway, it is said that living for others is the law of nature. So, humans should try their level best to love unconditionally, just like a candle that burns itself to lighten someone else.

Apart from these seven kinds of love, well, there dwells another type called ‘Maniac Love’ or ‘Obsessive Love’. It is a love that originates when there is an imbalance between Eros and Ludus. In this kind of love, the partners seem to be wholly dependent on each other. Mania has both joys as well as sorrow depending upon the extent to which the second partner can fulfil the aspirations of the first. With healthy levels of playful and romantic love, the harm of obsessive love can be circumvented.

I know even after knowing all these types, the very definition of Love is still opaque in your mind. It is obvious. I said the same thing even at the beginning. Love is indeterminate. Love is not all about roses and chocolates, fancy dates and trips; love is a responsibility, love is all about passing sleepless weeks, love is strolling valiantly in the fire for your beloved. Life is a unique compilation of both sweet and bitter melodies and the same is applicable for love. But only if you are capable to continue your love even during the darkest of nights and most trying of times, yes the love you possess is sacred, purest in the truest sense. ‘Cause real love is not all about you, it is not all about receiving pleasures for yourself, real love dwells where you take steps to love someone else. The very purpose of love is not to receive but to give love. Love is choosing somebody or something incomparable to anything else in your life, ‘Cause when everything in life gets fragile, love is what endures.

A teenager passionate about creative arts and philosophy. Full-time dreamer, part-time writer. Trying to make a difference.