A VOVABULARY OF LOVE
The ancient Greeks had four words to describe of emphasize four aspects of love: ‘eros,’ ‘storge, ‘philia,’and ‘agape.’ Interestingly, Each of these can contribute to a person`s happiness.
To begin with, there is `eros`, the attraction of the sexes toward each other. There has to be a proper place for expression of this kind of love. When married persons are able to express `eros` wisely, happiness in marriage can be reached.
However, this aspect of love has to be controlled, for it can lead to immoral conduct. `Eros`, in fact, can disguise itself. A person may deceive himself into thinking he is displaying “brotherly”or “friendly,”affection when actually it is “ eros” or physical attraction that is causing him to express kindness to one of the opposite sex.
`Storage` points out the natural affection between close relatives and especially between parents and their children. It scribes the affection that brothers and sisters have for happiness. It is this aspect of love that makes a parent and his or her child feel a spiritual or intuitive tie with each other.
This natural affection or `storage`, however, must also be guided by wise principles. Otherwise it can result in unwise partiality. Such family affection might lead parents to let their emotional feelings keep them from disciplining their children.
`Philia,` can be defined generally as affection between friends who have certain interests in common. The friendly affection has to be guided by wisdom, too. If it is let develop into a blind solidarity within bad associations, it can be harmful to you and to society. It might be said that such friendship must actually be developed whereas family affection--`storge`-- is to some degree inherited.
The word `agape` is used to describe the kind of love based on religious or humanitarian principles. It is an unselfish affection that does not seek its own interests; it knows no bounds and it is limited by differences in race, sex, grade of wealth, social class, and so on. The kind of love can be best described by what Christ taught us when he said that we have to love our fellow human beings as we love ourselves, and that there is more happiness to giving than there is in receiving.