Writing about love last night made me think about a book I was shown once. It was a book of wedding photographs taken in a American registry office following the legalisation of same sex marriage. I believe, from what I remember, that people queued to get married as soon as possible.
People in their twilight years who had lived together all their lives were there. People dressed up. Men. Women. Young and old and everything inbetween. The one thing these photos show is that love really has nothing to do with looks or age or anything else. Oh and another thing, all of these people were happy. Some of them had never expected to be able to marry. It is a book of what love looks like. It looks like people.
Love comes in so many forms. We only have one word for it in English but I remember from my Latin lessons in school that they had more, it might have been three, because I can remember three. Eros, or passionate love, Phileo which if spelt right, is friendly love and agape, which is sort of a love for everything a more spiritual sort of a love. Except when I look it up these are actually Greek, not Roman, and there is another one, Storge which is the love a parent has for a child.
I think all of us would recognise these different types of love, so why don't we have more words for them? Why do we lump them all together? What sort of love do I have? Eros, sometimes but it is not the dominant form. Phileo, definitely. Not sure if this describes how I feel, but hey...
So why did the Greeks have such a desire to define different types of love and we don't? Well they had a love of philosophy and thinking but I guess I don't know enough about their society to know more than that... Why don't we distinguish so much? I think as a society we can be a little confused about love.
It seems to me that I spent a large part of my teens and twenties thinking that mere eros was something other.... Is it any wonder though with the lack of distinction we make and the portrayal of love in the media? Love in families also seems warped at times. Parents spoil children and children grow up thinking they are the centre of the universe and the rules bend around them.
I am not saying children should live without love or praise or anything positive but I also think they shouldn't be just given everything. I think a bit of work and effort helps them to value what they have. I think children should be allowed to climb trees and scrape their knees. So what if they fall and break an arm? The chances of it happening are slim and we have the technology to deal with it efficeintly.
But family love seems to be all about smothering in so many instances these days. About children ruling the roost and not about balance at all.... I am thinking of my niece and nephew here a bit and I know it is a common thing...
I like love though. I think everyone does.
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