This poem is inspired by seven of the different types of love described by the ancient Greeks, described well in this article (copied below).
The ancient Greeks had seven words for love that corresponded to different types of love, ranging from physical love (eros) to purely spiritual love (agape). Here are the seven kinds of love according to the ancient Greeks.
1. Eros: Love of the body
Eros was the Greek God of love and sexual desire. He was shooting golden arrows into the hearts of both mortals and immortals without warning. The Greeks feared that kind of love the most because it was dangerous and could get them into the most trouble. Eros is defined as divine beauty or lust. Eros is mainly based on sexual attraction and it is where the term “erotica” came from.
Example of Eros love: A young couple that meets and immediately feels attracted, and lustful, towards one another.
2. Philia: Love of the mind
Also know as brotherly love, Philia represents the sincere and platonic love. The kind of love you have for your brother or a really good friend. It was more valuable and more cherished than Eros. Philia exists when people share the same values and dispositions with someone and the feelings are reciprocated.
Example of Philia love: Two friends talk about how deeply they understand each other, and how that security and openness causes them to feel comfortable and taken care of.
3. Ludus: Playful love
Ludus is the flirtatious and teasing kind of love, the love mostly accompanied by dancing or laughter. It’s the child-like and fun kind of love. If you think about it; this generation loves Ludus more than anything else.
Example of Ludus love: Modern love at its finest, Ludus love is best described by thinking of two people who just want to have fun together, with little need for security or roots.
4. Pragma: Longstanding love
The everlasting love between a married couple which develops over a long period of time. Pragma was the highest form of love; the true commitment that comes from understanding, compromise and tolerance. It is pragmatic this is why it is referred to as “standing in love” rather than “falling in love” because it grows over time and requires profound understanding between lovers who have been together for many years.
Example of Pragma love: Think about your grandparents, and how they have endured so much, but have always chosen each other.
5. Agape: Love of the soul
Agape love is selfless love, the love for humanity. It is the closest to unconditional love. The love you give without expecting anything in return reflected in all charitable acts. It is the compassionate love that makes us sympathize with, help and connect to people we don’t know. The world needs more Agape love.
Example of Agape love: The person in your life that is always giving to others, and needing nothing in return. This is the way they show their love, and this is the way they are energized through love. By giving all that they have, and all that they are, to those around them, they find beauty in life.
6. Philautia: Love of the self
The ancient Greeks divided Philautia into two kinds: There is one that is pure selfish and seeks pleasure, fame, and wealth often leading to narcissism and there is another healthy kind of love we give ourselves. Philautia is essential for any relationship, we can only love others if we truly love ourselves and we can only care for others if we truly care for ourselves.
Example of Philautia love: Selfish Philautia love is the kind of love that takes and does not give back in return — this is someone who only uses others to excel in life. Think about the social climbers of the world. On the other hand, the positive kind of Philautia can be seen in a couple that is a union, not a melting pot. They both do their own things, but they come together and support each others own growth.
7. Storge: Love of the child
Storge is the love parents naturally feel for their children. It’s based on natural feelings and effortless love. Storge is the love that knows forgiveness, acceptance and sacrifice. It is the one that makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe.
Example of Storge love: Think about the kind of love your mother gives you, or your very best friend. It is rooted in friendship, and understanding, but there is also a deep emotional connection there.
Ed Gillespie is a writer, speaker, futurist and poet. His latest poetry collection is ‘Songs of Love in Lockdown’. In 2007/8 he circumnavigated the world without flying and wrote ‘Only Planet — a flightfree adventure around the world’. He is a serial entrepreneur and an adviser to or investor in a number of ethical businesses. Ed is also a facilitator with the Forward Institute’s responsible leadership programme, a Director of Greenpeace UK and Co-Founder of Futerra