2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Understanding Love

Ashlyn Cameron, 2022, Stage 2

The aim of my research was to provide a rounded explanation of the different forms that ‘love’ can be seen within. I explored my search for love into three perspectives; eros, philia, and agape. While looking at Eros, I provide a more detailed account of what romantic love is really considered to be, mainly defined by Plato in his Symposium. I then explored love within traditional monogamous relationships and the less traditional idea of ‘open relationships’ which two philosophers, Simone De Beaviour and Sartre were a part of. I then continued on to explore Philia. This outlines the love one feels within a friendship. While investigating the idea of friendship, I researched what Aristotles considers to be the three types of friendships, a friendship of utility, a friendship of pleasure and a perfect friendship. While doing this I looked at the similarities and differences between Eros and Philia. Finally, I spoke about Agape, which refers to the paternal love to and from God, as well as the love for humanity as a whole. This led me to question whether our ‘love’ for our religious leader is the same kind of love we experience in our physical relationships and friendships and whether Agape is something that we depend on more or less than a relationship or friendship.
I ask myself what links all three components? My hypothesis is that self love is what links all three. I argued that without self love, one would struggle to give and receive love from others. As mentioned by De Beavouir in relation to Ero’s, people are often brought together by “their weakness rather than in their strength”. From this, I take that they lack self love so look to those around them in order to feel loved. Within philia, it is said that “The wish to be friends can come about quickly, but friendship cannot”, meaning that we are quick to desire the love from a friend, sometimes before making a genuine friendship. I believe we would not be so quick to form meaningless friendships if we were content with our own company, content with the self love we have. Within Agape, the relationship is not measured by physical contact or quality time but through the belief that God’s love transcends anything physical. This draws a parallel with self love, as again it is, for lack of a better word, an “intangible” relationship but still remains very important. I believe one who has a strong sense of self love, would find it easier to give love as passionately and as selflessly as God does, to forgive and love those that have wronged them.

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