Philosophy of love involves a breakdown of our most treasured emotion. No other feeling is as personal or moving. There’s even such a thing as love addiction. This makes this brief description of how we define it (and the limits of that definition) even more important. This is, essentially, a breakdown of us.
Our language contains the majority of a culture’s values if you know how to look for them. Read on to learn how love affects language and becomes a cultural philosophy that many of us depend on for social- and self-worth. The philosophy of love is not simple, but it can be explored so that we get a better understanding of who we are and why we act the way we do.
Love Language: How We Say We Love Each Other
In many cultures, different kinds of love have different words to distinguish them. However, in English, love language has to deal with breaking down the different ways we use the single word for “love.” To explain love philosophy, we need to explain this usage.
There are four basic ways that people use the word “love.” The first is to love a thing casually, like saying you love the beach. The second is something you love doing or being, like saying you love being a mom. The third is a kind of affection reserved for things we love personally, but not physically, like loving your pet. The last is the most personal and usually reserved for family members, spouses, and friends. How do we distinguish these if they all use the same word?
It may be useful to understand how the Greeks separated love into three concepts: “eros,” “philia,” and “agape.” This way, we can move past the love we have for “things” and focus on how we romantically love the people in our lives, from friends to family.
Greek Thoughts on Love Philosophy
These three ideas of love distinguish the way we feel the concept towards different people or states of being. “Eros” is the selfish love, the kind we use to describe the things we desire. “Philia” refers to friendship, which can extend to business associates, family, or other people we value. “Agape” is universal, passive love, the love we have for everyone, usually referenced as the way the Christian God commanded.
These three concepts of love differ in the depth with which we feel them. They help us distinguish between what love means in a given situation, and thus what we do about it.
Love Reaction: Concern, Values, and Union
How we define love in a specific situation determines our mental reaction to love. For certain kinds of love, our reaction is concern. For instance, because we “love our fellow man,” we feel concern for them, which is a form of love. A loving friendship often results in a love of values, not what they can give to us, but how they are already valued in our lives. And the more selfish love that focuses on what we gain from romantic feelings can result in a desire for union and thus a permanent connection. These distinct reactions fundamentally shift how love philosophy impacts our lives.
Love Philosophy in Conclusion
Love philosophy has no real conclusion, but a series of reactions to feelings that, when defined, can be separated into several categories by degree. This brief guide only seeks to give the most basic outline for the long history of love philosophy and the way thinkers have tried to box in the most complicated emotions human beings feel for each other.