Greek love meaning

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A Greek sculpture from the fourth century B. Do you want a cappuccino, an espresso, a skinny latte, or maybe an iced caramel macchiato? The ancient Greeks were just as sophisticated in the way they talked about love, recognizing six different varieties. So what were the six loves known to the Greeks? And how can they inspire us to move beyond our current addiction to romantic love, which has 94 percent of young people hoping—but often failing—to find a unique Greek love meaning mate who can satisfy all their emotional needs?

The first kind of love was erosnamed after the Greek god of fertility, and it represented the idea of sexual passion and desire. In fact, eros was viewed as a dangerous, fiery, and irrational form of love that could take hold of you and possess you—an attitude shared by many later spiritual thinkers, such as the Christian writer C. Eros involved a loss of control that frightened the Greeks. Which is odd, because losing control is precisely what many people now seek in a relationship.

The second variety of love was philia or friendship, which the Greeks valued far more than the base sexuality of eros. Philia concerned the deep comradely friendship that developed between brothers in arms who had fought side by side on the battlefield. It was about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them. Another kind of philiasometimes called storgeembodied the love between parents and their children. We can all ask ourselves how much of this comradely philia we have in our lives.

Subscribe or donate today to keep YES! While philia could be a matter of great seriousness, there was a third type of love valued by the ancient Greeks, which was playful love. Following the Roman poet Ovid, scholars such as the philosopher A. Grayling commonly use the Latin word ludus to describe this form of love, which concerns the playful affection between children or casual lovers.

But we also live Greek love meaning our ludus when we sit around in a bar bantering and laughing with friends, or when we go out dancing. Dancing with strangers may be the ultimate ludic activity, almost a playful substitute for sex itself. Social norms may frown on this kind of adult frivolity, but a little more ludus might be just what we need to spice up our love lives.

The fourth love, and perhaps the most radical, was agape or selfless love. This was a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers. There is growing evidence that agape is in a dangerous decline in many countries. Empathy levels in the U. We urgently need to revive our capacity to care about strangers.

The use of the ancient Greek root pragma as a form of love was popularized by the Canadian sociologist John Allen Lee in the s, who described it as a mature, realistic love that is commonly found Greek love meaning long-established couples. Pragma is about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance. There is in fact little evidence that the Greeks commonly used this precise term themselves, so it is best thought of as a modern update on the ancient Greek loves.

With about a third of first marriages in the U. And clever Greeks such as Aristotle realized there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed and focused on personal fame and fortune.

A healthier version enhanced your wider capacity to love. The ancient Greeks found diverse kinds of love in relationships with a wide range of people—friends, family, spouses, strangers, and even themselves. This contrasts with our typical focus on a single romantic relationship, where we hope to find all the different loves wrapped into a single person or soul mate.

The message from the Greeks is to nurture the varieties of love and tap into its many sources. Moreover, we should abandon our obsession with perfection. Recognize that a relationship may begin with plenty of eros and ludusthen evolve toward embodying more pragma or agape.

The diverse Greek system of loves can also provide consolation. If the art of coffee deserves its own sophisticated vocabulary, then why not the art of love? This article originally appeared in Sojourners. It has been edited for YES! Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life. Looking for an antidote to modern culture's emphasis on romantic love? Perhaps we can learn from the diverse forms of emotional attachment prized by the ancient Greeks.

Why you can trust us. By Roman Krznaric. Dec 28, Roman Krznaric is a public philosopher and former political scientist. Connect: Twitter. Reprints and reposts: YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps.

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Greek love meaning

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Greek words for love