Friday, April 29, 2016
A Little History of Love
April 29, 2016
A Little History of Love
There are various theories that attempt to explain what love is and what function it serves. There are psychological theories, evolutionary theories, and spiritual theories. The roots of the philosophy of love go all the way back to Plato’s Symposium. However there are three main threads of love (eros) that are still continued through the centuries. There is the idea of two loves one heavenly, and one earthly. According to Ficinus one is rational and the other is natural. He also said the first excites the desire of philosophy and truth and the second excites just to desire. The second thread is Aristophanes’s conception of mankind splitting into two halves and spending their lives trying to find their other half. The third is Plato’s sublimation theory of love he described it as the desire to posses the good forever, the desire is not only the openly sexual kind but also the desire of riches. He also said that all lovers desire to create either children or more intellectual things, he believe that being creative lovers achieved some sort of immortality.
However Philosopher such as Aristotle placed more of an emphasis on philia (friendship, affection) than eros (love). This belief of friendship and love would continue into and through the Renaissance. Cicero pointed out that friendship (amicitia) is derived from love (amor).
Western Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote Works of Love in 1847 and he primarily focused on the Christian concept of agape love which is the complete opposite of erotic love but is similar to preferential love given to friends and family. Agape is the highest form of love, charity,” the love of God for man and of man for God” (Liddell, Scott). Agape embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends that and serves regardless of circumstances. Christianity developed Agape as the love originating from God or Christ for humankind. The New Testaments refer to the covenant love of God for humans as we as the return of the human love for God.
The Christian use of agape come directly from the gospel accounts of the teachings of Jesus.
When asked what was the great commandment, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)