Date: 2011-09-26 02:17 am (UTC)
I really believe the Greek words for different kinds of love are cool for describing different connections with people. I believe they don't just apply to a romantic situation, but also to friendships, or even random interactions or brief encounters with people. I.E. You can have a friend you share an agape connection with, or maybe one who is more of a storge connection.

You probably have heard these before, but in case anyone else wonders...

Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē[1]) means "love" (unconditional love) in modern day Greek, such as in the term s'agapo (Σ'αγαπώ), which means "I love you". In Ancient Greek, it often refers to a general affection or deeper sense of "true love" rather than the attraction suggested by "eros". Agape is used in the biblical passage known as the "love chapter", 1 Corinthians 13, and is described there and throughout the New Testament as sacrificial love. Agape is also used in ancient texts to denote feelings for a good meal, one's children, and the feelings for a spouse. It can be described as the feeling of being content or holding one in high regard.

Éros (ἔρως érōs[2]) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Modern Greek word "erotas" means "intimate love;" however, eros does not have to be sexual in nature. Eros can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than the philia, love of friendship. It can also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage. Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, "without physical attraction." In the Symposium, the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has the middle-aged Athenian philosopher, Socrates argue to aristocratic intellectuals and a young male acolyte in sexual persuit of him, that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal "Form" of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire -- thus suggesting that even that sensually-based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means of eros."

Philia (φιλία philía[3]) means friendship or brotherly love in modern Greek. It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. In ancient texts, philos denoted a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.

Storge (στοργή storgē[4]) means "affection" in ancient and modern Greek. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in "loving" the tyrant.
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