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  • Writer's pictureBrent McTavish

Love is Love… But what is LOVE?

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

TODAY when we think of the word LOVE we think of #romantic, #sexually charged #love between two people. However, in ancient Greek philosophy there were at least six different meanings for our #modern word LOVE.

Agápe was their term referring to love as the highest form of love, charity or the love of God for man and of man for God.

Éros was all about love related to physical #attraction and #sexual #passion, and is probably closest to our modern popular expression of Love. The Greek word erotas meant intimate love. #Plato once said: “Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it can become an appreciation of the #beauty within that person, or even become an appreciation of Beauty itself.” Plato did not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the word #platonic, which now of course means “without physical attraction”.

Philia meant #brotherly love, #friendship or affection. Today in social psychology , the love between good friends is referred to as #Philia. Interestingly, to the Greeks, the word also meant the complete opposite to the word #phobia.

Storge also known as familial love refers to natural or instinctual #affection, such as the love of a parent towards their offspring and vice versa.

Philautia meant self love, to love yourself or regard for one's own #happiness. It was thought of as a basic human necessity, but also as a moral human flaw, akin to #vanity, #selfishness and #egotism. The greeks further divided this type of love into a positive and a negative. The unhealthy version was a #self-obsessed love, and the healthy referred to #self-compassion.

And finally, Xenia, meaning guest-friendship, was the ancient Greek concept of #hospitality, or #generosity and #courtesy shown to those who were far from home and/or associated with the person bestowing the #welcoming #friendship. These rituals of hospitality created and expressed a reciprocal relationship between the guest and host. It could be expressed in both material ways, such as the giving of gifts, as well as in non-material ways, such as offering protection, shelter or favours.

This time of year, around #Saint #Valentine's Day, I think we can all agree that the main overwhelming commercial and social focus and push is on #Éros, or #Erotic Love.

“Two lovers kissed and the world stood still

Then your fingers touched my silent heart and taught it how to sing

Yes, true love's a many splendored thing

Love is a many splendored thing”

However, why can it not be the bigger picture of LOVE? The original LOVE. The Greek’s six versions of LOVE. For me when I think of love I think of the haunting lyrics from Bette Midler’s “The Rose”:

“Some say love, it is a river, that drowns the tender reed

Some say love, it is a razor, that leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need

I say love, it is a flower, and you, its only seed

When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long

And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows

Lies the seed, that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose”

So this Valentines Day celebrate whatever LOVE you want. Turn off the noise and pressure from our modern world and make it up for yourself. Love your neighbour. Love your Family. Love your Friends. Love your Pet. Love the Planet. Love the Universe. Love your Partner. But most of all love Yourself.

Love is ultimately all around us, in us and of us. #Discover it. #Nurture it. #Feel it. #Celebrate it.

And while you celebrate yourself, and your LOVE, do so with a little Chocolate & Wine …

Pourquoi pas. You know I’m going to.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sources:, & Google

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