Everyone seems to be hankering after romantic love, but few of us realize that far from being timeless and universal, romantic love is in fact a modern construct, one that emerged in tandem with the novel. In Madame Bovary (1856), itself a novel, Gustave Flaubert tells us that Emma Bovary only found out about romantic love through ‘the refuse of old lending libraries’.
There are many other ways to love, not all of which are consistent or consonant with romantic love. By preoccupying ourselves with romantic love, we risk neglecting other types of love that are more stable or readily available and that may, especially in the longer term, prove more healing and fulfilling.
The seven types of love discussed below are loosely based on classical readings, especially of Plato and Aristotle, and on J.A. Lee’s 1973 book Colours of Love.
Eros is sexual or passionate love, and is the type most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. In Greek myth, it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. The arrow breaches us and we ‘fall’ in love, as did Paris with Helen, leading to the Trojan War and the downfall of Troy and much of the assembled Greek army. In modern times, eros has been amalgamated with the broader life force, something akin to Schopenhauer’s will, a fundamentally blind process of striving for survival and reproduction. Eros has also been contrasted with Logos, or Reason, and Cupid painted as a blindfolded child.article continues after advertisement
The hallmark of philia, or friendship, is shared goodwill. Aristotle believed that a person can bear goodwill to another for one of three reasons: that he is useful; that he is pleasant; and, above all, that he is good, that is, rational and virtuous. Friendships founded on goodness are associated not only with mutual benefit but also with companionship, dependability, and trust.
For Plato, the best kind of friendship is that which lovers have for each other. It is a philia born out of eros, and that in turn feeds back into eros to strengthen and develop it, transforming it from a lust for possession into a shared desire for a higher level of understanding of the self, the other, and the world. In short, philia transforms eros from a lust for possession into an impulse for philosophy. Real friends seek together to live truer, fuller lives by relating to each other authentically and teaching each other about the limitations of their beliefs and the defects in their character, which are a far greater source of error than mere rational confusion: they are, in effect, each other’s therapist—and in that much it helps to find a friend with some degree of openness, articulacy, and insight, both to change and to be changed.
Storge (‘store-gae’), or familial love, is a kind of philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children. It differs from most philia in that it tends, especially with younger children, to be unilateral or asymmetrical. More broadly, storge is the fondness born out of familiarity or dependency and, unlike eros or philia, does not hang on our personal qualities. People in the early stages of a romantic relationship often expect unconditional storge, but find only the need and dependency of eros, and, if they are lucky, the maturity and fertility of philia. Given enough time, eros tends to mutate into storge.article continues after advertisement
Agape is universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. Unlike storge, it does not depend on filiation or familiarity. Also called charity by Christian thinkers, agape can be said to encompass the modern concept of altruism, defined as unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Recent studies link altruism with a number of benefits. In the short term, altruism leaves us with a euphoric feeling—the so-called ‘helper’s high’. In the longer term, it is associated with better mental and physical health, as well as longevity. At a social level, altruism serves as a signal of cooperative intentions, and also of resource availability and so of mating or partnering potential. It also opens up a debt account, encouraging beneficiaries to reciprocate with gifts and favours that may be of much greater value to us than those with which we feel able to part. More generally, altruism, or agape, helps to build and maintain the psychological, social, and, indeed, environmental fabric that shields, sustains, and enriches us. Given the increasing anger and division in our society, and the state of our planet, we could all do with quite a bit more agape.
Ludus is playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, and conjugating. The focus is on fun, and sometimes also on conquest, with no strings attached. Ludus relationships are casual, undemanding, and uncomplicated but, for all that, can be very long-lasting. Ludus works best when both parties are mature and self-sufficient. Problems arise when one party mistakes ludus for eros, whereas ludus is in fact much more compatible with philia.
Pragma is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. Sexual attraction takes a back seat in favour of personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals, and making it work. In the days of arranged marriages, pragma must have been very common. Although unfashionable, it remains widespread, most visibly in certain high-profile celebrity and political pairings. Many relationships that start off as eros or ludus end up as various combinations of storge and pragma. Pragma may seem opposed to ludus, but the two can co-exist, with the one providing a counterpoint to the other. In the best of cases, the partners in the pragma relationship agree to turn a blind eye—or even a sympathetic eye, as in the case of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, or Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson.article continues after advertisement
Philautia is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy. Unhealthy self-love is akin to hubris. In Ancient Greece, a person could be accused of hubris if he placed himself above the gods, or, like certain modern politicians, above the greater good. Many believed that hubris led to destruction, or nemesis. Today, hubris has come to mean an inflated sense of one’s status, abilities, or accomplishments, especially when accompanied by haughtiness or arrogance. As it disregards truth, hubris promotes injustice, conflict, and enmity.
Healthy self-love is akin to self-esteem, which is our cognitive and, above all, emotional appraisal of our own worth relative to that of others. More than that, it is the matrix through which we think, feel, and act, and reflects and determines our relation to ourselves, to others, and to the world.
Self-esteem and self-confidence do not always go hand in hand. In particular, it is possible to be highly self-confident and yet to have profoundly low self-esteem, as is the case with many performers and celebrities.
People with high self-esteem do not need to prop themselves up with externals such as income, status, or notoriety, or lean on crutches such as alcohol, drugs, or sex. They are able to invest themselves completely in projects and people because they do not fear failure or rejection. Of course they suffer hurt and disappointment, but their setbacks neither damage nor diminish them. Owing to their resilience, they are open to growth experiences and relationships, tolerant of risk, quick to joy and delight, and accepting and forgiving of themselves and others.
In closing, there is, of course, a kind of porosity between the seven types of love, which keep on seeping and passing into one another. For Plato, love aims at beautiful and good things, because the possession of beautiful and good things is called happiness, and happiness is an end-in-itself. Of all beautiful and good things, the best, most beautiful, and most dependable is truth or wisdom, which is why Plato called love not a god but a philosopher:
He whom love touches not walks in darkness.
Love is a complex set of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs associated with strong feelings of affection, protectiveness, warmth, and respect for another person.
Love can also be used to apply to non-human animals, to principles, and to religious beliefs. For example, a person might say he or she loves his or her dog, loves freedom, or loves God.
What does love mean to you?
What or Who do you associate with the word love? How often do you express this love? Many times we get so caught up in the daily grind of our lives that we take it for granted. Everyday is a day to express love, that’s for sure. Today, is a special day to spend with a special someone (not that it is only supposed to be once a year). Who are you spending this special day with?
For some, love is their husband, their child, pet, family, career, money, prestige, etc.
LOVE IS MY SAFE PLACE, made up of the people who I consider to be my safe place, who will keep me safe always. To my loves, I will love you forever.
The article below is from good therapy.org. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Happy hearts day!
Love is a complex set of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs associated with strong feelings of affection, protectiveness, warmth, and respect for another person. Love can also be used to apply to non-human animals, to principles, and to religious beliefs. For example, a person might say he or she loves his or her dog, loves freedom, or loves God.
WHAT IS LOVE?
Love has been a favored topic of philosophers, poets, writers, and scientists for generations, and different people and groups have often fought about its definition. While most people agree that love implies strong feelings of affection, there are many disagreements about its precise meaning, and one person’s “I love you” might mean something quite different than another’s. Some possible definitions of love include:
- A willingness to prioritize another’s well-being or happiness above your own.
- Extreme feelings of attachment, affection, and need.
- Dramatic, sudden feelings of attraction and respect.
- A fleeting emotion of care, affection, and like.
- A choice to commit to helping, respecting, and caring for another, such as in marriage or when having a child.
- Some combination of the above emotions.
There has been much debate about whether love is a choice, is something that is permanent or fleeting, and whether the love between family members and spouses is biologically programmed or culturally indoctrinated. Love may vary from person to person and culture to culture. Each of the debates about love may be accurate in some time and some place. For example, in some instances, love may be a choice while in others it may feel uncontrollable.
LOVE VERSUS LUST
Especially in the early stages of a relationship, it can be difficult to tell the difference between love and lust. Both are associated with physical attraction and an intoxicating rush of feel-good chemicals, coupled with an often overwhelming desire to be closer to another person, but only one is long-lasting: love.
Love is something that is cultivated between two people and grows over time, through getting to know him or her and experiencing life’s many ups and downs together. It involves commitment, time, mutual trust, and acceptance.
Lust, on the other hand, has to do with the sex-driven sensations that draw people toward one another initially and is fueled primarily by the urge to procreate. Characterized by sex hormones and idealistic infatuation, lust blurs our ability to see a person for who he or she truly is and consequently, it may or may not lead to a long-term relationship.
For instance, Lana is in a committed relationship with Steve and her sexual desire for him is waning. She loves and cares for him, but she finds herself feeling restless and dissatisfied with their physical relationship. When she meets Brendan, she experiences instant feelings of attraction and longing. The chemical messengers in her brain start sending signals to pursue this new man, even though she does not know anything about him other than how his presence makes her feel physically. Instead of working to improve intimacy with her current partner, she is overcome by lust for someone new.
The ideal intimate relationship scenario, some might say, involves a balanced combination of love and lust. After all, lusting after someone is typically an important early phase of a long-term partnership, and reigniting that initial sparkis a practice worth cultivating for committed couples.
LOVE AND MENTAL HEALTH
Although almost no one can agree on a single definition of love, most people do agree that love plays a significant role in both physical and psychological well-being. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of love. Love’s role in mental health is far-reaching, but some examples include:
- The fact that babies who are not shown love and affection in the form of frequent holding and cuddling may be developmentally delayed or ill.
- Feeling unloved is strongly correlated with feelings of low self-esteem and depression.
- People who both feel loved by others and who report loving other people tend to be happier.
- Love can play a role in long-term health, and feeling emotionally connected may help increase immunity.
- Anonymous. (September 2, 2002). How to tell whether it’s love, like or lust. Jet 102.11, 12-14. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ez.trlib.info/docview/199970680/1833AF113A8E4DCAPQ/3?accountid=1229
- Prinz, J. J. (2007). The emotional construction of morals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Wilson, G. D., & McLaughlin, C. (2001). The science of love. London: Fusion Press.
Aaah, yes, the never ending debate of people about whether to send their children to school young or not.
“Nah, he’s too young!” “Kids love school!” “Won’t he get sick?” “Well, then have him vaccinated!”
The truth is, children learn the they will ever learn in their entire lives in the FIRST THREE YEARS of their lives. Their brains are so absorbent, that the neurons in their brains keep forming connections non-stop. They learn something with every single interaction they have with their parents, siblings, and their environment.
That’s a fact. Backed up by research.
What age is early childhood anyway?
Early childhood, defined as the period from birth to eight years old, is a time of remarkable growth with brain development at its peak. During this stage, children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them. (UNESCO, 2017)
Educational careers are strongly influenced by early childhood experiences. The PISA studies demonstrated the close connection between social status and school success (OECD, 2010).
Supporting these children at school entrance may not compensate for these disadvantages. Therefore, early childhood (0 to 3 years) is seen as an ideal age for intervention in order to alter long-term educational opportunities.
Internationally, a growing body of programs focuses on the early support of children living in environments that may jeopardize their development (for reviews see Bull, McCormick, Swann & Mulvihill, 2004; Heckman & Masterov, 2006).
Early intervention programs aim at increasing educational opportunities by providing children with early support from birth onwards. Other than in formal education, the child is not the primary addressee of the support.
THIS IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING!
The goal is to improve parenting behavior by increasing the awareness of child development, and one’s own attitudes and feelings towards the child.
In the UK, a program called “PAT – Learning with Parents” a family support system, was studied.
First results show that the intervention at age 1 and 2 has a positive impact on child development and parental competencies. OECD (2010).
So regardless of social class, the first three years are extremely important and sets the tone for the rest of their lives. It is important, isn’t it?
(Volume II). http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/48852584.pdf
Heckman, J. J., & Masterov, D. V. (2007). The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children. Bonn: Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit, IZA DP No. 2725.
Neuhauser, A. (2014). A closer look at the effectiveness of early childhood education in at-risk families. Mental Health and Prevention, 2(3-4), 43-57. doi: 10.1016/j.mhp.2014.09.002
If young children and teens need sleep in order for their brains to develop and learn, what about us adults?
When I don’t get enough sleep, which is quite often unfortunately, it turns me into a zombie monster.
I should sleep more definitely.. any ideas on how?
It feels like your brain is letting you down. You have this body and you know it is yours, but it feels foreign. You feel betrayed, by your own body.
This struggle, you face it alone. It’s sad.
36 Ways People Describe Brain Fog and The Tips They Use to Manage It