Love has many manifestations. Love is multifaceted – it is a feeling that arises between a man and a woman; it is the love of a mother for her child; the love of children for their parents; altruism or selfless love for one’s neighbor; it is also a manifestation of abstract love for art, for knowledge. We are sure that everyone can give his or her own definition of love.
Thinkers throughout the millennia have tried to understand it and describe the forms it takes. We have tried to collect and present different views on the phenomenon of love, the interpretation of different kinds of love.
“Love” in ancient Greek culture.
The phenomenon of love has been understood and described since ancient Greece. Thanks to ancient Greek thinkers, today we can talk about the following types, manifestations of love:
Sensual love (“eros”). An enthusiastic infatuation accompanied by passion, reverence for the object of love. It is a violent, spontaneous affection.
Love-play (“ludus”). A feeling based primarily on sexual attraction, on obtaining pleasure. It is an attachment nurtured by novelty. Boredom and ordinariness are destructive to it.
Obsessive love, “morbid passion,” obsession (“mania”). “The fire” of such love is maintained by passion and feelings of jealousy.
Practical love (“pragma”). For this type of love, reason and personal gain in the relationship play a major role. The choice of a partner is not based on the will of the heart, but on selfish motives.
Love-friendship (“philia”). A spiritual state of affection due to personal choice. Unlike “eros,” it is a quieter feeling. It can be love conditioned by kinship–love for one’s kin–or love based on one’s own choices–love for one’s friends. Such love can be directed not only toward an animate object. For example, “philia” is also a love for one’s homeland.
Love-tenderness, family love (“storge”). It is the love of parents for their children.
Sacrificial love (“agape”). Altruistic, unconditional love, characterized by self-denial, renunciation of personal gain, self-interest. This “kind” of love for one’s neighbor is preached by the world’s religions (1) (2) (3).
“Love” in the Russian philosophical tradition
The Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov gave his own definition of love: “the attraction of an animate being to another in order to unite with him and mutually replenish life.” (4).
Types of love, according to Solovyov’s conception:
- Descending love. For example, the love of parents for their children. Such love is oriented toward giving rather than receiving.
- Rising love. The love of children for their parents. A love that is more receiving than giving.
- Sexual love.In which everything is balanced-this love is oriented equally toward giving and receiving in return (4).
“Fruitful” and “unfruitful” love in the works of Erich Fromm
German philosopher and sociologist Erich Fromm distinguished two opposite forms of love: fruitful and unfruitful love.
Fruitful love. (love according to the principle of being) gives the feeling of fullness of life, it can be directed both to the loved person and to an abstract idea, an inanimate object (for example, love of the Fatherland, love of knowledge). This form of love implies care and expression of feelings, as well as the desire for the object of love to develop.
Unfruitful love. (Possessive love) is based on the desire to possess the object of love and thereby deprive it of freedom. Possession, control suppresses the will of the loved one. Such love is destructive, it does not serve development (5) (6).
The manifestation of fruitful love, according to the philosopher, is rare. This love is at the heart of the world’s religions.
“Love” as a disease…
American psychologist Dorothy Tennow, author of Love and Falling in Love, calls love a disease state. Love, in her interpretation, is like a biological “tool” aimed at reproduction and providing care for offspring.
Disease-love has its symptoms: obsession with the object of love; acute need for reciprocity of feeling; reciprocal love brings a sense of euphoria; neglect of daily activities and duties, in consequence of obsessive concentration on the object of painful love; “blindness” regarding the faults and exaggeration of the virtues of the object of desire; sexual attraction (7).
Or maybe it’s just chemistry?
In terms of biochemistry, falling in love is a chain of chemical processes going on in the body. Hormones and substances “accompany” in the body the feeling of falling in love:
- Phenylethylamine – The substance responsible in our bodies for energy and emotional lift, sexual excitement, and is rightly considered “the substance of love.
- The well-known hormones of joy. endorphins.
- Oxytocin – A hormone that stimulates tactile sensations. It makes you want to feel close, to hug, to touch the person you love. It is believed that this hormone, in addition to sensitivity, is responsible for attachment to a loved one.
- Chanyshev A. N., Love in ancient Greece. Philosophy of Love, 1990.
- Lee J. A., Colours of love: an exploration of the ways of loving, 1973.
- Kohn, I. S., Friendship.
- Solovyov V. S., Love. Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary.
- Fromm, E., The Art of Loving.
- Fromm, E., To have or to be.
- Tennow, D., Love and Falling in Love.