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On Love

- by Seneca the Younger

Since the Woodstock era, the West has tried to define love as a noun, rather than a verb.

This means Western nations are trying to claim love is something a person feels, rather than something a person does toward another person. This is unprecedented in the West and reveals an inhumanity regarding social and personal relationships.

Getting straight to the point, the West has the most adult understanding of love. There are four distinct loves. They all involve what we do more than they involve what we feel. The feeling Western popular culture calls love is actually lust or infatuation.

Adult love starts with Agape. This is principled love. It is the actions you take to help someone simply because he is a human. This is the love you see when a fireman runs into a building to save someone he does not know. You show Agape when you see somebody drop some money and you pick it up and give it to them. This is also manifest in the videos on YouTube when strangers "pay it forward" or on the signs we see telling us to "pass it on."

The second adult love is Philia. This is the love of friends, comrades, or teammates engaged in a common endeavor. This love is seen in actions between people on the same sports team, people in the same civic organization, people in the same line of work, etc. Philia actions come from the natural familiarity you instantly have with someone with whom you share a major interest or personality trait.

The third love is Storge. This is the love that comes from respecting what another person likes and respecting what they do not like. It follows that this love only comes from close personal contact over a long time. It is the natural actions that accompany family members, roommates, co-workers and other relationships where you get to know intimate details of others. Storge love is the process of using intimate information about another person to respect them rather than to berate them.

The fourth adult love is Eros. The West is most messed up about this love. Many Western nations consider erotic material to be "adult content." In reality, erotic feelings begin in the teen-age years or before, so much of the West is claiming adulthood does not go past the time when teenagers begin feeling sexual urges. Nevertheless, the Stoic School teaches that there is much more to adulthood than what a teenager feels. Eros is the action of creation. Of course it is pleasurable; creating something is pretty amazing. It is what brought about the Cosmos. However, the West condemns itself when it is all about the pleasure and they make procreation out to be a bad thing. Procreation through Eros is the only love necessary to continue humanity and civilization.

An interesting side note is that all four of these loves intersect only in the traditional Western definition of marriage.That is why the West has historically given special consideration to "nuclear families."

This is sufficient to introduce the Stoic teaching of emotions and actions regarding loves.

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