When I’m excited about something, I’m all in. When sitting, my feet and toes develop a bouncing pattern that sends my knees oscillating into a fury of calorie burning, micro-leg expressions (not sure that’s a real thing) or you could just say they move up and down. When not sitting, I weave a consummate pattern of pacing that usually resembles a miniature Nascar racetrack. All of this motion, of course, is to warm a subconscious state of focus so unhindered that nothing short of a hard kick to the groin or shouting the word “money” could snap me out of it. I’ve heard others boast of their affluent child’s ability to tug on their pants incessantly for hours and beg for different sugared cereal, which should drain anyone of their will to live, but they are wrong. I have several children who irritate easily at certain pieces of cereal and a wife who will snore on command and they have, if anything, built up my tolerance to this often used home remedy for distraction.
At some point though, that excitement, that bouncing, the unwavering, only-distract-me-by-kicking-my-groin-or-shouting-money fixation and any other high dies down to the routine or we quit altogether. The honeymoon is over. Love it or leave it. In recent months I began to mull over the definition of love. Yes, you can love a woman and you can love a pizza. In fact, I think that it’s a killer combo and one of the least advertised paradoxes of life. However, I would be remiss not to say that my wife kisses better.
Millions of movies and books claiming to hold the long sought after secrets of love and the ever illusive “true love” would probably never agree with my definition. And my definition may not agree with anyone else. The fact is the word love is extremely confusing in America. I can’t speak for other countries, because I don’t share their cultures or norms.
Out of frustration I decided to up my prowess and find a way to describe love as it should be. Not understand how it’s used now, because frankly, I don’t think anyone has a clue. I wanted to find a new or old way to delineate pizza, woman, sex, and plutonic forms of love. So I did what any logical, degree holding intellectual would do and I did a search on wikipedia.
What I found was very interesting. The Greeks had at least four different words for what most American’s call love. You might think that this is even more confusing, but after some thought, I would argue that it brings more clarity.
First up is philia. Philia is “brotherly” in it’s application. The prefix of the word Philadelphia gives it the original city of brotherly love. It’s plutonic and refers to the friendship between friends, sisters, and brothers.
Second is eros and it’s that sexual and passionate look at relationships. The word erotic is closely tied to eros and can simply be related our physical attraction to someone.
Next up is storge. Storge is what I would have towards my children. I feel affectionate and protective over them. There have been various offshoots of it’s defintion, but it’s original intent was the love shown towards families or familial love.
Last and most unpopular today is agape love. Agape love is something fantasized about on TV, but seldom lived out. It’s truly unconditional. That means that nothing come between the relationships that hold it sacred. It carries a sense of duty and commitment that doesn’t waver on feeling, sexuality, family breakups or unsteady friendships. It’s not emotional. I would have to say in my own definition of love that I have fallen in and exited out of love with my wife several times. However, it was this agape love that held us together. We went through some tough stuff, but our sense of duty and commitment didn’t change. It’s truly special.
So where’s my pizza? It turns out that loving pizza doesn’t fit the four love types described here. I guess I don’t love pizza. I really like pizza and I’m excited about it. That’s it. Whatever your definition for the word love, you might just take a lesson from the Greeks and check your love against the four.