By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf
There is a chemical and biological component with love, but science is a system of rules and boundaries. Scientific Method is based on something that is observable, testable, repeatable, and predictable. Love extends beyond science, but what is it beyond such bounds? Many cultures have different words to describe the single English word love. Love is both a noun and a verb. Integrated love is the combination of all three. It is unfair to claim that a person who is not acting love is not feeling love; humans are emotional beings and love is not a simple concept. A person in complete joy and mental health (ease) is capable of all three--love is integrated. It is inappropriate to place such expectations on those who are mentally unwell--in dis-ease. Just as the Persona becomes separate from the Self, love can become separated from its complete Self also. It becomes fragmented. Love emotions may be present amidst the absence of love the feeling, love the action or love the choice. Love is never a selfish action engaged at the expense or deprivation of others. What about the different types of love?
Agapé is covered in the Self-Focus section.Storge
This is an affection borne of familiarity and closeness. Because it is familial, it also is associated with the expectation of love, but less dependent on worth.Phileo
Based on common bonds, rather than biological bonds of familiarity or reproduction, Phileo is a necessary foundation for civilization within communities.Eros
Eros, the son of Aphrodite, shot poisoned love-arrows into the hearts of a couple, which made them fall in-love. Notice that though considered a sexual force, Eros pointed his arrows at a person's heart. It is my feeling that Eros is the combination of the other types with additional features relating to sexuality. This does not mean it is higher than agapé or the other types, simply that they are infused components of Eros.
Eros requires effort and participation. Falling out of Eros does not just happen. It takes time. Eros requires nurturing and if it wanes it is because the partners neglected their relationship for other endeavours. Since the children won't raise themselves and money doesn't grow on trees, the relationship is the element that is taken for granted; people assume that once it is there it will just run on its own. But even clocks need winding.Marital Union
Since it is chemically based, In-fatuation is not love. It is a reflection of a person's unacknowledged Self love and a distorted projection made profane and ego-centric rather than centered in its rightful place with the Self. It is a high-energy experience sustainable for limited periods. If a couple fails to reduce the energy of their union, it will expand beyond the capacity of the human containers and explode. The table below compares love to prolonged or obsessive in-fatuation. It is not a direct comparison to in-fatuation because this is often a precursor to committed love. In-fatuation is not bad, it jump starts a relationship, but when a relationship has not moved beyond this initial phase it is no longer a healthy state.
|Love||Prolonged or Obsessive Infatuation|
|never tires, grows greater and stronger||weakens with time and wears out|
|mystical, holy, Divine||Biological: attraction of the loins|
|heals and nurtures||sickens|
|complete, fulfilled, independent||clingy, needy, dependent, seeks rescue|
|giving, symbiotic||taking, parasitic|
|creative, generative, enables growth||destructive, threatened by growth|