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The Philosophy Of Love
What do we mean by love? This question has been asked in many forms now and then but more often than not never answered. The question of love seems difficult to answer, and not only to an everyday person, but every great thinker and philosopher have opted for silence rather than attempting an answer. What is the reason? Going into the depth, we find that love cannot be defined and it is subjective to each individual’s feelings! However, the general notion people have ascribed to love something only meaning to a boy and a girl. Is it that simple? Of course not because love is felt for same sex, for objects, for oneself.
One can never buy into this argument that encircles love within a limitation. Love is limitless… It does not know boundaries.When love between a boy and a girl is concerned, let me have my glorious attempt. I have read many peoples different interpretation of love, including Shakespeare and Plato who have tried their best to capture love in the cage of words. None could, however, love has had the last laugh! Love remains sans definition, giving the average person like me an opportunity to frame a castle of fanciful thoughts that do not define love but can visually interpret it- but would that be correct?
Holding hands, walking in the streets, kissing, making love and doing everything that people see couples doing is not love, to me, at least. My philosophy of love is wayward. To me, love is silent. You see a couple sitting in silence and yet, able to decipher what they want to communicate, know that you have seen an act of true love and intimacy! I cannot go any further with my thoughts! The reason is the untouched state of true love. Without a prior experience of loving someone truly, what definition can someone attempt to give? Probably, this is the logic why love quotes are often one-liners!
There is more to love than getting your own way.
And when we think about love in those sorts of terms – as we read those words and say them aloud – we recognize the folly of thinking that love with a partner is anything about ourselves at all.Of course, love makes sense when our partners think the same way – love is not about them either; not from their personal viewpoint.
Love is about the other person entirely. That is the perfection of love we are to strive to attain.Love has the idea of outdoing; of transcending because it can.Love is a gift in that it has to be given. It’s a gift that must be received to be of effect.Love is a gift that keeps on giving, for the nature of love is selfless and inspiring. Love finds a way to love. It refuses to accept that love is a waste, and to believe in love is to believe in hope and joy and fortitude; strength and compassion and the ability to overcome the worsening of odds.
Love is the way of a world surrendered to no one or nothing other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
Inscribed beneath some of the grandest large clocks of the world is this resounding inscription:
“No minute gone comes ever back again.
Take heed and see ye nothing do in vain.”
Time is no person’s debtor. Father Time is an eternal figure with an eternal mandate: to forever present the incidence of existence, which can only run forward, to a desperate world thriving and surviving only in time.
Time is cataclysmic. It is as big as love is so far as the world is concerned, but in the realm of eternity, time has no relevance. But almost nothing is more important than time, here, on the Earth, in the body.
LOVE AND TIME:
So, now let’s bring them together: love and time.
Do you have more time than you have to love or not love? You can only love for the time you have. “A minute was gone,” that which is done “in vain,” where we have missed the mark in accord with the ancient call of love, is an eternal waste – a dull echo of null in eternity.
We have time and we have the motive to love. Nothing else does we have. God gives both as God also takes both away. Blessed be the name of the Lord as we serve both ends: love with intent and time with effect.
There are three distinct forms of love: Eros, Philo, and Agape, which feature permanent and temporary natures.
Speaking of the latter, temporary love is the reason why many of us fall in and out of this love. According to the first two definitions above, love is based on giving and receiving. If someone in the relationship is not receiving and or giving, the relationship becomes strained, and in most circumstances, ends. We have all experienced this type of love on our journey.
Eros Love Eros can be described in different ways, e.g., romantic and/or erotic. This love is temporary because it is based on physical perception and/or traits. We have all experienced this. We are attracted to someone purely because of the way they look, talk or carry themselves, etc. I am sure we have even started relationships because of this. I know I have. This is the first stage of love. There is nothing wrong with it. We all need to experience it. It is part of the journey.
You put your best foot forward, dress nicely, and show off all of your best qualities. The other person usually does the same. It feels like you are on cloud nine. And as long as the both of you are getting what you want from the other, the relationship will last.
So it’s no wonder that you quickly fall out of love when things don’t go the way you want them to. You experience the other person’s “other” (less desirable) qualities. They say things that are not so nice and they do things you disagree with or that disappoint you.
It’s so easy to observe with our kids. When they first fall in love, we call it “puppy love.” We can see that it’s simply physical and, while we think it’s cute, we know in our hearts that it’s just a matter of time before their young hearts are broken.
The Greeks were one of the earliest, if not the first, to classify several types of love and each classification refers to a different angle that love can take on. They generalize the idea that there is no such thing as universal love because their logical reasoning points out that love for a friend is different than love for a husband or wife. The five different Greek classifications are as follows:
Epithumia – this is love defined as strong desire and it is usually associated with lust and sexual attraction although desire can also be the foundation of pulling individuals together that can lead to other forms of love.
Eros, the Greek god of Love, represents the passionate desire for all that is good, true, beautiful and meaningful. Eros, who traverses all levels of creation, is the Guide on the passage from the ‘Below’ to the ‘Above’, the Messenger between Earth and Heaven, the means to the perfection of the soul. Eros is the driving force and motivation behind all the great discoveries of science, all great art, all great social endeavors, all the magnificent efforts of the human mind, heart, and spirit.
In Plato’s Symposium, Socrates says that the mysteries of Eros begin in youth when we find ourselves passionately attracted to one beautiful girl or boy. As a result of this experience, we begin to entertain beautiful new thoughts and feelings. These soon lead us to an appreciation of beauty in other forms as well, and we begin to see that the beauty of one is akin to the beauty of another, and there is something magnificent and wonderful in the essence of all of this loveliness and beauty which attracts us.
Love then leads us to discover for ourselves that the beauty of a mind is even more precious and admirable than the beauty of outward form, and we find ourselves desiring friends and lovers of character, who have beautiful souls, and together we seek to bring to birth beautiful ideas and sentiments which may improve ourselves and each other.
Thence, in our converse with beautiful minds and souls, we become conscious of the beauty which exists in living well and righteously, in observing just laws, admiring excellent institutions, and meeting our responsibilities with honor. We begin to understand that the beauty of all of this is of one family, and personal physical beauty is but a sweet and fleeting trifle.
Eros then leads us further into deeper realms of the mind, where we discover the beauty of knowledge and science and reason, and we begin to desire the splendid loveliness of wisdom. And then, being lured by Love to surpass the limitations of reason, we begin to contemplate Universal Beauty. No longer enslaved to the attractions of just one form of beauty, Eros reveals to us a vast sea of beauty, and we find ourselves creating noble and majestic thoughts and emotions.
Having been tutored and disciplined by all these experiences of Love, having gradually ascended this ‘Ladder of Love’ and thoroughly experienced and contemplated all the many aspects of the Beautiful, Eros leads us forth until we suddenly behold that wondrous noetic ‘Beauty’ that is no longer subject to death or decay, but is pure, divine, and eternal. In this sacred communion, beholding Beauty with the awakened eye of the soul, no longer seeing mere images or relying on human reason, but actually knowing Reality, we become a ‘friend of God’ – having purified and perfected our own immortal Soul.
Socrates often said that he had no wisdom at all, that he knew nothing either beautiful or good. In Plato’s Symposium, however, he announces that he is an expert on Love. These two statements only appear contradictory. Love, for Socrates, meant longing and this state of longing are what he meant by being always between ignorance and wisdom, between ugliness and beauty, always seeking and questioning and desiring. Socrates understood Eros, and lived passionately and erotically, precisely because he acknowledged that he knew nothing, but was always an adoring lover and seeker of beauty, goodness, and truth. Plato and Socrates taught the West that these longings – for passionate relationships, for wisdom, for beauty, for immortality, for God – are what make human life meaningful. Eros is the key to the development and fulfillment of our souls. Eros makes possible the hope for human warmth, the hope for a deep connection with life and eternity, the hope for an understanding of the sense and meaning of existence.
Phileos love – or a relationship between friends that has no romantic meaning. This is one of the purest forms because it involves an equal give and take. Friends stay with each other through thick and thin, offering support when needed and giving mutual encouragement. There is an equal sharing of interests. Often this is the glue that keeps them together for extended periods of time. A relationship may be jump started by that high feeling of romance, but it is the true spirit of phileos that keeps it going.
This kind of love is also called friendship love. According to the Bible, it is called “companionship”. Phileo love means sharing of time, hobbies, activities, home, games, and other aspects of fellowship, which is reciprocal. Eros looks at man and woman as lovers while phileo look at man and woman as best friends.
Phileo love involves doing life as friends, with loyalty and communication. It’s about sitting down when you don’t feel like, and going over the budget and making decisions. It’s speaking the truth in love when you’ve been irritated or wounded. If Eros love is the spark that repeatedly ignites our passion, then it is the steady fuel that feeds our joy. Doing life together, not only as passionate lovers but as best friends, is at the core of genuine love, satisfying sex, and a lasting relationship. As much as Eros and phileo contribute to a healthy relationship, they need a third companion to bring depth, strength, and lasting character to lasting romance and friendship. That is while the most influential kind of love we can experience and express is sacrificial love– agape love.
Phileo love- family or brotherly love (Hebrews 13:1). It is all about learning and covering. It is a love that supports, defends and protects the other. It will not expose the other partner’s weaknesses to ridicule and will not taunt the other on account of the disclosures made about the past under the principle of historical nakedness. Phileo love is about respect and friendship, forgiving and forgetting, sharing blames together and learning new things concerning the other.
Agape is unconditional love, where one accepts to love the other despite their differences, despite all the conditions, despite the mistakes and hardships and this is usually the love that marriage strives to reach and is the love that many associates with a higher being.
To “remain” in Jesus’ love (John 15:9) is state of being, but it requires action. It requires a deliberate CHOOSING of what you give your focus. It takes a deep and conscious engagement in a specific direction that can look quite contrary to your immediate surrounds and circumstance.
If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:10
Keeping his commands’ is not about doing what you’re told so that you get the prize and avoid the punishment.
It is a daily choice to align yourself in, and with, the Agape Love that is the Source of your life. There can be NO HARM in this. If there is, it is not Agape.
The hardest work a person will ever do, I think, is to establish their heart in an invisible truth, despite the facts. To become fully persuaded (Rom 4:19) about an idea when all your physical senses say otherwise to the point of swaying the physical is faith. But the principle works the same whether what you are focusing on is wanted or unwanted. Your feelings tell you whether you are standing in Agape or not. Agape is peace.
It boils down to the simple fact that we are not merely physical and our physical senses are not the only ones we possess. Everyone has experienced evidence to support: a hunch, a feeling, ‘my gut’, “I KNEW… ‘, deja vu, a dream, a flash, a vision, a witness, an unction, an epiphany, a revelation, imagination, etc. In other words, we can believe apart from what we have seen with our earthly eyes, heard with our natural ears or experienced in our daily happenings.
That’s because we are connected to something far more expansive than our own bodies. More accurately, we have connected IN, and THRU, someONE far more expensive. A singular intelligence that is Agape Love. God.
- In Him, we live and move and have our being. Act 17:28
- That Agape Love that is God is faithfully represented through Jesus. Heb 1:3
- Our souls can experience a truth our natural senses can never know apart from our soul’s consent.
- If we are truly willing and want to accept the truth, it will reveal itself to us.
- Indestructible life. Abundant life. Absolute Life
- This is the goal of faith and its the ultimate purpose of my existence.
- The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6
- Love one another as I have loved you. John 13:34
- Love your enemies. Lk “6:35
- Above all, love each other deeply, for Love covers a multitude of [shortcomings]1 Peter 4:8
- The Lord is GOOD and His love endures forever. Ps 100:5
- Establish your being first and then let your doing follow. BE AGAPE
When a mother or father has to protect their child, it can look like many things. It can take the form of punishment… of discipline… of rescuing, or it can take the form of not enabling, among other ways. For the one on the receiving end (and even those who are looking on), these type of actions can feel or look cruel, harmful, destructive, etc. But if the parent is coming from a place of love and protection, rather than from a place of ego, pride and self-centered fear, it is Love. When Jesus of Nazareth threw out the money changers from the temple, it appeared that He was acting in anger. But in essence He was acting from Love of His Father.
Lasting Love is transformational. It is not something you understand, but something you experience. Lasting Love is a true mystery.
When we are able to look past the bodily designations… the material status, and see the very essence of God in them that is in us, then the fire is ignited.
When we are with that person and want to bask in that Lasting Love, there are ways to experience it. One way is being in Silence together… or chanting or constant prayer as a way of honoring the very essence which has kindled the Lasting Love in each of you… or being in Silence in a Sacred Place and taking in the essence of the Sacredness.
It’s also important to note that this Lasting Love is not just relegated to others. This Love can be experienced between you and God, as well. The Sufi Masters speak of it all the time
Love that builds well around other forms of love. It is a safe spot for couples since it is the type of love working around the sense of belonging and acceptance. It can be regarded as a boring aspect of love since it doesn’t take further actions but it can be shield for a relationship that uses storage along with other forms of love.
The only way to be a giver of love is to have some love to give! Imagine you have a ‘love tank’. Is your love tank a quarter full, half full or three-quarters full, or overflowing? Where do you go to get your love tank filled? Make sure you’ve learned that it is not from horizontal relationships that we should be filling our love tanks. There is a law underpinning love, like the law of gravity, and the law is that love gives. If you start to become a predator in relationships you become an abuser.
We need to be asking God to come and fill us up so we can be qualified to enter into horizontal relationships where we can give out of the overflow we’ve received from God. If you do not have love of God shed abroad in your heart you are not able to properly give and receive love, which is where relationships – especially marriage relationships – fail. Many people are unable to give and receive love, and that is what rejection is. Instead of loving others, we can reject them, and instead of loving ourselves, we can have self-rejection. This is epidemic in body of Christ today because we have not understood this truth, the only place your love tank can be filled is from God the Father, through Jesus Christ the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit