None of us in this world are ever too old or young for love. You might think that you are not yet ready for the kind of love you want but love knows to find the way to your lives just when you need it the most. That is the power of this very universal feeling that has us do every single things on earth. From moving mountains and crossing oceans for love to lying silently in dreamy utopia, this is one iridescence we all are in awe of. But how exactly is the kind of love you feel for yourself different from the one you feel for others? Here’s outlining the various manifestations of this divine feeling in its many types-
Agape — Universal Love
The most selfless love of all, agape is the ‘highest form of love’ for it refers to the “love of God for man and of man for God”. In essence agape love is love for the soul and of the soul as well. How else would you explain that feeling of brethren you feel for all beings in the world?
Selfless and universal in that this kind of love stems as inclusive of all, agape is however not exactly the same as unconditional love. However since agape love also arises free of conditions and even without any premise of its origin, it is sometimes exclusively referring of unconditional love. It’ also quite difficult to distinctly point out how they differ which means the dichotomy ceases to prevail even when it is most evidently there. But while the very essence of agape love means you can feel it for everyone, in cases of unconditional love you love without limits only a certain person or thing and not the entire world altogether. In fact, unconditional love isn’t a type of love at all; at best it is a characteristic that best describes the emotion of what love tends to encompass.
More leaning towards notions of altruism and selflessness, agape love is never binding and hence more radical than any form of love you would ever experience. You sure need to be a being of the highest order soulwise if you are to understand the bliss that this particular type of divine, yet utterly realistic love can bring unto you.
Eros — Romantic Love
Very evidently eros is the love that lent the genre of erotica its name. But before you associate it already with mere physical love, this form of love was recognised by the ancient Greeks as romantic love. Now, while most romantic relationships would be marked by physical intimacy, it surely isn’t the exclusive norm. But in its romantic connotation, eros refers strongly to the love of the body while alternatively dealing with it as romantic love.
Eros takes its name from the Greek god of love and fertility and therefore has everything to do with romance, passion and consummation. Ironically therefore, out of sync with its desirous, passionate and arousing romantic realisation, this was the love most feared by Greeks because they felt that this basis for procreation could and indeed became the cause of their downfall. The upheave of emotions you experience when Cupid strikes you right in all his adorable mischiefs is Eros doing the rounds in your life already!
Philia — Affectionate Love
While we all have encountered a host of philias all our life, this kind of love is easier to explain and understand if we tend to view it as exact opposite of the many phobias we harbour. Phobia being the irrational fear of a thing, philia translates as the irrational love for that thing. In more endearing terms however, philia is what we call as affectionate love or if we choose to go by exact definitions, even as Platonic love. A kind of brotherly love that is most common to friends, philia is what love for the mind loosely encompasses in essence.
Philia can also be almost interpreted as friendship- for there indeed is no essence of love that the beautiful bond of friendship does not harbour to its core. A sincere kind of love that leads you to develop a bond more intense than even the physical travails of eros, philia dwells on sincere and shared goodwill and is most often an innate, deep connection between souls and minds. And while philia and Platonic love are almost similar, Plato chooses to define his eponymous love as philia between the ones struck by eros.
Philautia — Self-love
For all those in love with their own self, there is a term too for their kind of love- philautia. In fact, philautia isn’t merely a love that can stem; it should indeed be the love that does stem for you can’t really be loving of others if you aren’t first truly loving and accepting of your own self. With all those modern day surmising essays that reflect exclusively on self love, it isn’t a bit surprising that philautia has been ruling the realm of love since ancient times.
But for all its extensive assertion of the need to be in love with the self, philautia isn’t always a love constructive. Sure there can be no harm if you love yourself as much as you can, for perhaps there isn’t any such thing as too much love. But once your love of the self turns into an obsession it no longer is philautia. This narcissistic tendency is bad not because you tend to unduly exalt yourself but because of the corresponding harm that you would be doing to others. In your undue obsession over the self, you overlook how you are negatively impacting others, either knowingly or unknowingly, which is all the harm that can stem from philautia.
As self compassion however, philautia is one of the most essential virtues you could be harbouring. In enhancing your self esteem and upholding your precious being all the more in spreading love in the world, philautia is one of the most enriching loves you could be feeling.
Storge — Familial Love
Though most love stems innately of us without any persuasion or obligation, there is this unique kind of familiar love that is true for almost all people in the world. Storge is what this love is familiar as in the love world, though it is a somewhat bewildering concept. Mostly referring to the love that a parent feels for their child, storge is indeed all pervasive in the sense that it begins even when an individual has not yet met its physical presence and continues for as long as life allows. A love that has no end and that bears no remorse, ever lasting, ever forgiving and ever unassuming.
A fondness borne out of philia or dependence, storge can also be loosely extended to mean the love one feels for family or for such relations that come attached and aren’t consciously created. Strange it is therefore that storge sometime makes nascent appearances specially in the beginning of romantic relationships before it develops into full fledged eros and philia.
Pragma — Enduring Love
The love we all covet but not all of us are lucky enough to have it in our lives, pragma sums up exactly that bittersweetness. While by definition the enduring love that pragma is might not seem like a stark contrast to any of the types we have encountered, yet its rooted, intransient nature makes pragma an almost opposite of eros. Bordered on emotion rather than passion and relying on commitment and compassion, pragma perfectly offsets the momentary or at least temporary passionate drawing of eros which makes it all the more coveted but less warranted.
Pragma is often a love that has grown to be mature and unconditional and that while might not be the overwhelming emotion we almost unfailingly expect out of love, it sure is all the more worthwhile. Rare yet heartwarming and very, very practical yet rooted in the truest of emotions, this is the love that makes life a bliss and togetherness a virtue. Specifically in arranged marriages where love seldom blossoms before the beginning of the conjugal journey, pragma is what keeps the relationship going. Pragma however can be ironic in that it might not mean love at all, instead residing in understanding to forge a bond that might feel like love but is never made of it.
Ludus — Playful Love
The flirty beginning of bonds, that which seldom stems of love and mostly of like or even lust is what ludus encompasses in its lighter essence. Call it infatuation, crush or even a no strings attached sags, ludus best describes the playful love that might not be the most profound of all emotions we experience in life but sure is not completely inessential. It’s that giddy feeling that lingers everytime you think of them or see them but isn’t perhaps emotional enough to have you crying tears over them. Casual and fun, ludus lets you do whatever you want to do with a love that feels inconsequential but is indeed uplifting for your spirits. It’s that dreamy kind of love where you don’t care for substance, it’s only the feel of enamorment and happy, carefree vibes that you care about when you indulge in the non committal bliss of ludus.
Mania — Obsessive Love
It might seem strange to equate mania with love but if narcissism can classify as too much self love so too can mania make it as obsessive love. Mania as a type of love does not respect the emotion they are supposedly betrothed to, dwelling rather in own selfish pursuits of how to ‘own’ the object of their love. Mania might stem from eros or even from philia and is often an accompaniment to such negative emotions as jealousy and anger, or sometimes even fear. Perhaps the only type of love that is entirely negative in its essence, mania does love no better than forced acquisition or consentless enforcement of one’s own uncalled for emotions on others.