What is love?

Love and Life.

Love and life are inextricably linked. Without love, there would be no life, and without life, there would be no love.

What is love?

Scientists and songwriters have been trying to answer the question, ‘What is Love’, for hundreds of years, however, neither has been able to come up with a definitive answer. It is the most perplexing of human emotions, and further is it just a human emotion? As neuroscientists learn more about the brain and psychologists learn more about the mind, the more elusive the question, ‘what is love?’ becomes.

Verywellmind.com describes love as, “ a set of emotions and behaviours characterized by intimacy, passion, and commitment. It involves care, closeness, protectiveness, attraction, affection, and trust.” However, a long and detailed search only resulted in a whole raft of different explanations and definitions to the question of ‘what is love?’.

The Greeks were particularly intrigued by the question of love, to the point where they divided love into no less than eight different types. These are:

1. Eros: romantic, passionate love

Eros is interpreted as passion, lust, and pleasure. It’s concerned with physical beauty and is driven by sexual attraction. It is desire and is most comparable to what we think of as romantic, passionate love between partners. It is that overwhelming feeling that comes in the first phase of a relationship.

2. Philia: intimate, authentic friendship

Philia is characterized by intimacy, deep understanding, and bonding. It’s reassuring, kind, and true; it is of that which great friendships are made, regardless of whether it’s just a best friend or an intimate romantic life partner. This love is based on caring, and wanting what’s best for the other person, and is often associated with long-term life partners or lifetime best friends. People who are in this state of love are often described as soul mates.

3. Ludus: playful, flirtatious love

Ludus is infatuation, flirtation, and usually impulsive. I would question whether this is actually love at all? Ludus is only about having fun, and immediate gratification, usually, but not exclusively, sexually. Ludus is most certainly the feeling (of love?) that you would experience with a fling, or a one-night stand—casual, sexual, exciting, and free of responsibility. Ludus is generally not associated with the more long-term or compassionate forms of love.

4. Storge: unconditional, familial love

Storge is the protective, familial love that you are likely to feel for your close family members. It is a deep and unconditional built-in emotion. Storge is an almost obligatory love, and the saying ‘blood is thicker than water’ sums it up perfectly – even serial killers have a family who loves them! It includes intense love that a parent has for their child, or a child has for their parent or grandparent. Storge can also describe a sense of patriotism or an allegiance to a team.

5. Philautia: self-love

Philautia or self-love comes in two forms. The first is a healthy feeling of self-love, self-appreciation, and self-respect. This helps to inspire self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence in a positive and uplifting way. The other is one of arrogance and selfishness. The me, me, me attitude is only interested in fulfilling its own desires with little regard for others.

6. Pragma: committed, companionate love

Pragma is love built on devotion, understanding, long-term caring, and well-being. Over time, Eros can turn into Pragma as a couple grows together, and learn to accept and respect each other.  They will be aware of their differences but will compromise. This is a life-long love of companionship and romance.

7. Mania: Obsessive love

Mania is an obsessive love towards a partner. It is characterized by unwanted jealousy or possessiveness. Mania is a destructive form of love unless kept in check, and most cases of obsessive love are found in couples with an imbalance of love towards each other. Only an equalization of the imbalance and the restoration of trust can hope to turn obsessive love into a healthy Eros form of love.

8. Agápe: empathetic, universal love

Agápe is the highest level of love, it is a deep spiritual love that could also be described as the love of God, the Universe, mother nature, or all things. It is given without any expectations of receiving anything in return. It is an empathetic love of the whole of humanity itself. Those who demonstrate and feel Agápe act in a manner that creates a purpose bigger than themselves. It motivates them to pass the kindness on to others and dedicate their lives to improving the lives of others. They are conscious of how their actions impact humanity, the Universe, and their environment, and are always there to offer charity to those in need.

Universal Love.

It is nice that the Greeks have sorted out love for us, though I think to break love down into simple black and white categories shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance and power of love, both in each and every individual person’s life and in the Universe as a whole. Love is a whole lot more complicated and fundamental than that.

Of course, most of us are familiar with love in the form that we feel it on a personal level. We have all experienced the euphoric ups and the devastating lows that come with love, the warmth, and security, and the cold indifference, the love featured in descriptions one to seven of the Greek philosophy. However, this is not the love that I am speaking of in this piece. I am speaking of number eight,  Agápe,

I would like to present my ideas and suppositions about the power of love.

Love is Ubiquitous.

Love is omnipresent, it pulses through every cell in your body, it occupies every square centimetre of space in the universe, it is an innate part of you, it is an innate part of everything. You were born of love, you beget love, you are love and you are loved.

Love, the Universe, God, and Energy. 

Love is the Universe, God, Infinite Spirit, Creator, Allah. And love is energy – both God and Energy have been described by scientists and theologians in the same way, and so it is with love – “always was and always has been; never can be created or destroyed; all that ever was always will be, always moving into form, through form, and out of form.”

Love Powers the Universe.

It is one of the 11 Universal Laws – love is the most powerful force in the Universe, it powers the Universe, it powers all things. Love is the very essence, the beating heart of the Universe, and of all that is within it. Love is gravity, love is the ‘glue’ that binds the Universe together, love is the irresistible force, love is the immovable object.

You were born to love.

You were born of love, you are here on this beautiful planet Earth to experience and celebrate love. Love heals your soul, love heals your body, and love heals your mind. Love unites, love forgives, love inspires and love brings peace.

Love is a Powerful Force for Good.

Within you is the power to use love as a force for good. You will never know how much of an impact your love will have on the world and the Universe, or even the individual, but by your actions, you will propagate and spread love to all humanity.

Be a mighty beacon of love, radiating your love to all humanity.

Refuse to entertain animosity. Think only thoughts of love, speak only words of love.

Love everyone, even your enemies, unconditionally. This love will be repaid to you ten-fold.

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”

Luke 6:27

All problems in you, your life, and on the planet can be healed with love.

If you want to live in amazement, live in love and feel the joy of such a life.

Love Never Dies.

Love is life. Love is eternal, it never dies. It is carried with you from this life to the next, and it never abandons you. It always leaves a mark, an almost imperceptible trace of its presence on whatever it has touched.  

Love just is…

robbybanana

I was 52 years old before I learned my most important life lessons: Life can be so much easier than we choose to make it. My life is in my hands – it is what I make of it. Life can be as happy, loving, joyous, fulfilling and downright amazing as I choose it to be. The Universe loves me and wants me to be happy, prosperous, fulfilled. Things will always turn out for the best in the end. Have faith, let things go, ask and trust in the Universe. I have a choice! I have always had a choice! And I have more power and opportunity than I ever realised!

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