The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

July 31, 2013

Primus Mootry: The power of love can be expressed in many words

(Continued)

I defined agape as the highest form of love, that is, love for all mankind, without condition. Phileo, I explained is, in their terms, a BFF (best friends forever), a chosen friend conditioned on the return of friendship. Storge is love of family members or friends, but it is also carries certain conditions. Finally, eros is romantic love largely conditioned on the outward appearance of the object of such love.

Naturally, as adolescents, they were particularly interested in the latter, eros. That is perfectly natural but, I would ask them, what if you love (the eros type!) someone who doesn’t love you, or who feigns or fakes their affection for you? Again, they were quite astute in their answers, although I am not quite sure their understandings translated into actual behavior. Otherwise, I would not have heard of so many love woes.

The problem here is that many people, not just adolescents, “fall in love” with someone based on an initial, mutual, superficial attraction. Such attractions usually do not last very long, although one of the two people involved may rationalize or completely deny the relationship has changed or ended. I don’t know what Max Ehrman or Greek philosophers would have to say about such a situation, but I would say don’t walk away, run!

The deeper problem, I think, is that many people in romantic relationships treat the object of their affection as a possession — my boyfriend, or my girlfriend. But, no matter how much one person loves another in the romantic sense, the results are usually aridity, disenchantment, cynicism, jealousy, and outright conflict. Rather than go through all that, run!

Although there may be many reasons to let go of various forms of love relationships, the perennial, enduring, love of mankind must never be forsaken. It is the highest form of love. It is the love that God commands of us. In it, there is the power to move mountains, heal this trouble world, and change the meaning of our existence during our comet-like stay here.

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