Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2016. 9:00 am CST.
By Richard Harrison: Love, according to Merriam Webster English dictionary means:
1 a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates> b : an assurance of affection <give her my love>
2 : warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
3 a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration <baseball was his first love> b (1) : a beloved person : darling —often used as a term of endearment (2) British —used as an informal term of address
4 a : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others b : a person’s adoration of God
5 : a god or personification of love
6 : an amorous episode : love affair
7 : the sexual embrace : copulation
8 : a score of zero (as in tennis)
9 capitalized Christian Science : GOD
English is a relatively young language….the meaning of its words are not as developed as older languages that have more specific words to describe variations of meanings. This is perhaps why English has become the most used language in the world, especially of the legal and cyber world where people of different cultures meet….because it is not as specific, but more vague….with automatic escape routes built in…so that people can say, “that is not what I meant, rather I meant so and so and so…”….because the same word, in English, may have variations of meanings. This allows for people to “play around” with words….and the feelings that emanate from them.
The older Greek language, for example, have four different ways in which the word love is used:
• Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) means “love: esp. charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse, and it was also used to refer to a love feast. Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another.”
• Éros (ἔρως érōs) means “love, mostly of the sexual passion.” The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love.” Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” In the Symposium, the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal “Form” of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire – thus suggesting that even that sensually based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means of eros.
• Philia (φιλία philía) means “affectionate regard, friendship,” usually “between equals.” It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. In his best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends (specifically, “brotherly love”), family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Furthermore, in the same text philos denotes a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
• Storge (στοργή storgē) means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children” It’s the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant. This is also used when referencing the love for ones country or a favorite sports team.
Do not confuse the following of psychopathic social infatuation pop-culture fads as love….that may actually be the source of our unhappiness and discontent…because we compare ourselves with others….and for always there will be greater and lesser persons than ourselves.
Whatever we take love to mean….most of us get by on an iota of doses of it….compared to the form in which we imagine it to be.
But love is not just words…..love is an action word….it must be lived…..and Corinthians 13:4-7 gives an example of how love must be lived:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
This adds a lot of meaning to the word love….because where there is truth, patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope and perseverance….love may be present. Where there is envy, boastfulness, pride, dishonor, self-seeking interests, anger, record of wrongs and delight in evil…love may be absent.
This more wholesome meaning of the word love makes us appreciate the reality that love is not very easy to live….and why, with even small doses of it, most of us can and do still get along…with respect.
If you increase a small thing by any amount….the percentage increase and impact is must larger than if you increase a big thing by the same amount. For example, if we increase 1 by 1…..that is 100% growth….but if we increase 100 by 1….that is only 1% growth.
If we currently live only a small portion of this true meaning of love….and we increase it by only a little….the impact on our lives can be phenomenal in reality.
In this season of Christmas….of fertility, birth and renewal….and the new year that it heralds….let us all commit to grow our love….in all its true and beautiful meaning….by at least that small amount….and to the extent that we make it possible.
A little more love will bring more inner and social peace, safety and security….it will bring more self-confidence, self-control, self-respect and self-discipline….it will bring more personal and communal success…it will bring more happiness.
Belize and Belizeans can use that little extra dose of true love in its life.
Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to all…
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
This article was written by Richard Harrison, Belizean investor in production and services businesses in Belize. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University.
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