C.S. Lewis wrote the book The Four Loves in 1960. The book uses the Greek language to describe the differences between positive emotions known collectively as “love” which vary in character and intensity. His exposition of love serves to highlight how language often generalise expressions which are on the one hand simplistic and on the other, complex. The four loves are:
Phileo – Friendship
Phileo describe the love that exists between friends which is virtuous and dispassionate. The term is atributed to Aristotle and where Phileo exists there is a warmth and enjoyment in each other’s company as a result of sharing common interests which naturally lead to the formation of a bond of friendship. Another important aspect of this form of love is a sense of loyalty, commitment, equality and familiarity. Phileo is also considered to be selfish in nature as it thrives on acceptance.
- Phileo or friendship
- Storge or affection
- Eros or romance
- Agape or unconditional love
Storge – Affection
Storge refers to natural affection that develops as a result of familiarity, which occurs in family relationships or those which are brought together by chance. Lewis observes that this type of love is considered to be the most natural, emotive and widespread forms of love. As Storge arises from familiarity rather than esteem it is able to overcome factors which would otherwise discriminate. Lewis does highlight that the very nature of Storge, causes people to take one another for granted: to expect acceptance irrespective of their behaviour and treatment of others. Storge is considered to more instinctual and slightly less selfish than Phileo. However, it can only be perpetuated when it is reciprocated.
Eros refers to the type of love that is stronger than friendship and affection and more likely to be sensual and passionate. Although it is often associated with sexual love, Eros, does not necessarily need to be sexual in nature but is characterised by intensity and intimacy. It is Eros that leads couples who are attracted to one another to become romantically linked and begin dating process which may lead to marriage. Like Phileo and Storge, Eros is self-serving an requires a reciprocity from its object of desire. As a result of this, Eros is most often abused and misused of all the “loves” and is confused with lust.
Agape – Unconditional Love
Agape love or “charity” is attributed to the unconditional love that God has for mankind. This form of love is considered to the highest form of love and is considered to be a Christian virtue. Agape love is sacrificial in nature as it does not seek reciprocation, but the betterment and welfare of others as its primary concern, regardless of how we ourselves feel. Expression of Agape love requires unselfishness and the subordination of ones natural desires to meet the needs of others.
(source: © hopecalls.org)
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