All You Need is Love?

We can learn a lot about how people think by studying the words that exist in some languages and not others. For example, Greek has six words for love. It is difficult for those of us who come to these concepts later in life to fully appreciate these different meanings.

The Greek words for love are Eros, Philia, Ludus, Agape, Pragma, and Philautia. Eros refers to sexual passion. Philia is deep friendship. Ludus is playful love or as we sometimes call it, puppy love. Agape is selfless love or love for everyone. Pragma is mature love or longstanding love. Philautia is love of self. With so many different words for love it is clear that the Greeks have thought long and hard about their interpersonal relationships.

How many times has the lack of adequately discriminating words for love caused miscommunication in English. The lack of a concept of different kinds of love leads many people to misconstrue feelings of affection. How many times has one person said I love you meaning Philia or Ludus to another person who says I love you, too meaning Eros. That is a recipe for hurt feelings.

Just knowing that there are these different dimensions to affection can lead someone to think more deeply about how they actually feel. And then of course there is the fact that sometimes one feeling grows into another. Having the vocabulary to discuss such emotions is useful. It’s too bad that more people don’t have or take the opportunity to study other languages. It can expand your view of the world greatly as this one example has shown.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.