The Greeks and the Five Kinds of Love

1 comment
Greek & Classical Philosophy

Love (Eros), like the god Pan, is a principle (a god), as in the old cosmogony of the Greeks, Phoenicians, and Indians. Is it not uncommon to meet a person now, who simply writes love off as mere neuro-chemical reactions, and deride those who see love as abstract. This derives from a metaphysical view, and Creation. Love is the aspect of two opposing forces, but one law, regarding cosmic magnetism, and motion. In the cosmogony of the Greeks, it is depicted as a primordial god, and socially, there were a sum of five types of love to the Greeks:

[1] Eros (personification of procreative principle),
[2] Agapé (caring selfless love)
[3] Epithumia (sexual desire; passionate longing),
[4] Storge (devoted loyalty), and —
[5] Phileo (the loving heart of friendship)

Benjamin West. Amor, the Power of Love.

“Being in love,” or having the “feelings,” is not sufficient to hold a relationship together, thus the other types are essential in any relationship, like: responsibilities, character, etc., etc. Mostly, it is one or several of these, we can feel with other people, because the storge for family, which is a devoted and familial love, could also be a feeling for a partner, or friend. Eros can also mean passion, so the strength of this principle, manifests in its extremity, as a vital current of passionate lust, as in the act of procreation. The longing for that passionate lust to be fulfilled, would be epithumia, and it can be strengthened, by giving more thought to it.

Procreation was also used to represent the birth of the Gods, which were in one sense, the personifications of the phases and forces in cosmic origins. Motion acts on matter from within, and that impulse giving rise to life is the act of Eros, i.e., love. The human feeling we term “love” brings into it the element of selfishness and duality. So, if we are defining love solely as the human feeling, we won’t be able to understand the cosmic myth of Eros.

One thought on “The Greeks and the Five Kinds of Love”

  1. Dominique Johnson says:

    Worldly Love is a portion of Divine Love, which is what is meant. The world is sustained by forces, and Eros personified that Principle of Motion and Force that is the impulse in nature to develop and cause life.


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