"There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time." ~Jane Austin
I am not the first person to think about what love is and to discuss how it fits into our lives. The Ancient Greeks attempted to answer the question by dividing love into 4 types...Agape, Philia, Storge and Eros. Each type was debated and defined to express the current thinking. In 1960, novelist and lay theologian, C.S. Lewis published The Four Loves a book that explores the nature of love. Building upon the Greek structure, Lewis goes further by ranking the types of love...Agape-unconditional love, Eros-romance, Storge-affection and Philia-friendship. Lewis' Christian faith and his belief that man is a rational being are philosophical threads that run through Lewis' discourse on love.
There are those who say love should not be examined because it will take away the mystery or divine nature of love. I believe to intentionally love another person requires that we understand what love is and how to show love for others. Does love transcend love letters and meaningful eye contact? Is the nature of love only desire and yearning or does it have components of sacrifice, emotion, commitment, morality and ethics? Is there a right way to love? Is there a wrong way to love?
I will start out with the four types of love as crafted by the Greeks and C.S. Lewis. The challenge, when talking about love is that the modern day concept of romantic love pervades our consciousness. We meant it when at 14 years old, we declared with every fiber of our being, "But I love him/her!" We didn't understand why our mom was concerned that we were spending too much time with "that" boy/girl from school. Passion, lust and longing are love to a 14 years old. Sadly the people producing content for the media continue to reinforce a teenager's concept of love in movies, TV, print, music and on the Internet.
During February, the month of love, we will explore what love means in the real world as opposed to what is presented in romance novels or porn films. The goal is to have some fun while learning about love and what it means to you. Do you think the Greeks had it right? What about C.S. Lewis? Did he add anything to the discussion? Do you intentionally love the people in your life or does love just happen?