I was scrolling down Tumblr (my other blog, where I mainly keep pictures and music) and I found some information about five types of love. I decided to search more about one in particular, and I found a book called The Four Loves, written by C. S. Lewis. He said there are four different types of love people may have for one another, and I would like to share them with my readers. I’ll start with the one I find fits me best:
It is described as fondness through familiarity (a brotherly love), especially between family members or people who have otherwise found themselves together by chance. It is the most natural, emotive, and widely diffused of loves: natural in that it is present without coercion; emotive because it is the result of fondness due to familiarity; and most widely diffused because it pays the least attention to those characteristics deemed “valuable” or worthy of love and, as a result, is able to transcend most discriminating factors.
(Yes, I empathized all the important aspects, for me at least, just like when I study and I underline things)
Affection, for Lewis, included both Need-love and Gift-love; he considered it responsible for 9/10th of all solid and lasting human happiness.
(Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is true and nothing less, I assure you, and you surely know it)
Ironically, however, affection’s strength is also what makes it vulnerable. Affection has the appearance of being “built-in” or “ready made”, says Lewis, and as a result people come to expect it irrespective of their behavior and its natural consequences. Both in its Need and its Gift form, affection then is liable to ‘go bad’, and to be corrupted by such forces as jealousy, ambivalence and smothering. (Unfortunately this is also rather true… though it CAN be controlled, thank God. If you are self-conscious and have quite some experience, you’ll keep a balance and avoid these most of the time.)
(For me, Philia and Storge are one and the same, because I dislike my family, we never get along, and I really care for my friends who are also always looking out for me)
It is the love between friends. Friendship is the strong bond existing between people who share common interest or activity.
(See what I mean?)
Lewis immediately differentiates Friendship Love from the other Loves. He describes friendship as, “the least biological, organic, instinctive, gregarious and necessary…the least natural of loves” - our species does not need friendship in order to reproduce – but to the classical and medieval worlds the more profound precisely because it is freely chosen.
(Just because it does not come of blood ties and instincts, it doesn’t mean it’s less real or powerful. On the contrary.)
Lewis explains that true friendships, like the friendship between David and Jonathan in the Bible, are almost a lost art. He expresses a strong distaste for the way modern society ignores friendship. Lewis goes on to say, “to the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it”. Growing out of companionship, friendship for Lewis was a deeply Appreciative love, though one which he felt few people in modern society could value at its worth, because so few actually experienced true friendship.
(Yes, I do agree with that. Ah, but I am so lucky… I am one of those few, actually I am even more: I experienced it much more than just once, and I still am. Because once I give what I am, people will follow and give back to me.)
Then there’s Eros- Romance
(I’d like to say that Eros, as far as I know and learned, means Passion, not Romance, and I do see a difference between the two. Romance is both emotional and physical, while Passion involves physical mostly… but I can’t. Apparently Lewis calls that: Venus.. the Passion, I mean.
Got to love the Foreign language students, eh? – Probably why I am still single.)
For Lewis, it was love in the sense of ‘being in love‘ or ‘loving’ someone, as opposed to the raw sexuality of what he called Venus: the illustration Lewis uses was the distinction between ‘wanting a woman‘ and wanting one particular woman – something that matched his (classical) view of man as a rational animal, a composite both of reasoning angel and instinctual alley-cat.
(Yes, I laughed at those last few words. Who wouldn’t? Honestly.)
Eros turns the need-pleasure of Venus into the most appreciative of all pleasure; After exploring sexual activity and its spiritual significance in both a pagan and a Christian sense, he notes how Eros (or being in love) is in itself an indifferent, neutral force: how “Eros in all his splendor…may urge to evil as well as good”. While accepting that Eros can be an extremely profound experience, he does not overlook the dark way in which it could lead even to the point of suicide pacts or murder, as well as to furious refusals to part, “mercilessly chaining together two mutual tormentors, each raw all over with the poison of hate-in-love”.
(Slightly over-dramatic, isn’t he? Well, it seems so to me. It’s just a feeling after all, don’t get too into details.)
And at last, Agape- Unconditional love
It is the love that brings forth caring regardless of the circumstance. Lewis recognizes this as the greatest of loves, and sees it as a specifically Christian virtue. The chapter on the subject focuses on the need of subordinating the natural loves – as Lewis puts it, “The natural loves are not self-sufficient”- to the love of God, who is full of charitable love, to prevent what he termed their ‘demonic’ self-aggrandissement. Lewis didn’t actually use the word agape although later commentators did.
(Really now, this is actually incorporated and quite necessary, or the pure basis of Storge and Philia.)
In conclusion, I see they’re not so different from one another. Truth be told, you need all four and preferably all with the same man or woman, in order to be satisfied and happy for a long period of time, years and years. You could do without one or two, but in the end, even without realizing it, you’ll find yourself searching for it in all places and people. And maybe increasing the dose of one Love will numb the need of another you lack…
Just take care of who you are and what you need, take care of yourself and take care of others, so that you and those around you will be and stay happy as long as possible… And I’m not saying it will be Heaven, no. Just saying, even though there will be times when you fail or lose some love.. there will be many times when you’ll get some back and create some new love.