Yesterday I was involved in an in-depth conversation about love: what it’s philosophy(ies) is (are), the perceived psychology behind it and what appears to be its reality. While thoroughly engrossed in this conversation, I got the idea to write on some of what was discussed.
Although our conversation wasn’t broken into titled parts as it is here, I thought I’d do this so what is given here can be followed, not deemed as random thoughts.
In my own words, the philosophy of love is what the ancient Greeks broke into three parts:
- Agape (a ga pay) = love of (your) god(s) – a selfless, unconditional, non-sexual love of all beings, in the widest sense;
- Philos (fee los) = love, loving; also, brotherly love – love of family and friends;
- Eros (air os) = physical, erotic, sexual love.
I seldom if ever see anyone “living” agape love. What I do see is people telling others what their god(s) qualities are, and their god(s) seem to be barbaric to me. The unconditional love towards all beings is quite evident – wars in every country around the world. I don’t mean foreign wars only; I’m including the local wars of property, perceived property, lack of respect and the false sense of respect, just to give examples. However, if you consider eroticism to be love, there’s plenty of that going around!
The psychology of love is rather simple, for me at least – to care for someone close to you, and have the utmost respect for everyone. Recently, I’ve come to coin a phrase that I think captures the idea of love, the “Circle of Love.”
The circle of love is described (for example, a loving couple, but not limited to the love of two people) as; one who loves another with all he/she is and has (from the heart), and the other person receives, acknowledges it, then returns that same love. As long as love is given and returned, it will live on and enrich the lives within the circle. However, like a loop or a rubber-band, when one person stops giving, the circle is broken – love stops.
The reality of love in general terms usually is far from either the philosophy or the psychology of love.
Years ago in Chicago, I worked with an older Italian man who I really liked and respected. He was in his second marriage and evidently raising his step children that he was working to put through college. One day he and I were in a conversation about his first marriage, which he didn’t have anything negative to say about it, but he did talk about his “mistress.” I eventually asked him, if you have a wife that you love, why did you have a mistress? Wasn’t the woman you married enough for all you wanted in a wife and relationship? He looked at me very seriously, then with a very slight smile replied; “There are women you marry, and there are women that you have fun with.”
Another conversation I had just this past weekend was about how some women treat men. During the conversation in a shopping district, the prime example walked by – an older man, probably in his late sixties was walking rapidly towards us on the same sidewalk with his grandchild in tow; behind him was his wife, yelling at him in a very dominate tone in her voice. I then stated, “See, this is what I mean! Many men are treated as if only our obligations to provide money, a home, food and clothing, etc. is all we’re good for, and you wonder why so many men drink in excess, and/or have girlfriends?” Love isn’t about possessions, nor giving and receiving them; love isn’t about what you think someone should have done for you, or should be doing for you. Love is about sharing who and what you are with those that can and do appreciate you. If you feel great about being yourself while in the company of another, that is love, and now you know the circle.
I’m not trying to hold men higher than women here because I know of many women that have similar experiences. The point is, whatever love brought these people, obviously their circle of love is broken – there isn’t any love or respect left in their relationship.
When we talk about unconditional love, I’d even venture to say that the circle for most has never been established. People talk about love, but show hate, distrust, the desire to control, belittle, publicly shame and humiliate, physically and emotionally harm, not only other humans, but animals and our planet as well. Think I’m exaggerating? Have you seen the political races and problems that exist around the world? Just using this as an example… if this is what love looks like, I’d prefer to be a hermit.
I am by no means suggesting that I’m perfect in this, but I do my best to love any and everyone – to give people the “benefit of the doubt”, but still give love and/or respect to someone who seeks to harm me, or others. It’s not always easy, but somehow, someway, we have to detach our egos from the reality of, we’re products of our upbringing, mixed with whatever we have chosen to be as sentient beings. Very few good things are won through violence, whether we call it a justifiable war, police action or what have you.
Love can change the world – this I do believe, but only love that’s within the circle of love.