Love is a universal language!


Why have only one word when Love can mean so many things?

Alejandro Laine Cruz, Staff Writer

In English, we have one word that describes our feelings for our parents, our best friends, our significant other, even our dog and our favorite dessert, but in Greek there are multiple ways to express the concept of LOVE.

One of the most familiar is the word eros. Named after the Greek god of fertility and the source of our word “erotic,” eros represent the idea of sexual passion and desire. Some of the Greeks were afraid of it because eros included the loss of control.

Another familiar word is philia which implies friendship. The Greeks valued this more than eros. Philia concerned deep comradely friendship that developed between people who had fought alongside each other. It also was showing loyalty to your friends and sacrificing yourself for your friends. It is the root and reason for words like philosophy and Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.

Ludus is another Greek word that is translated as “love.” This means playful love. The Greeks had valued it as well as the philia. Ludus suggests a sort of puppy love between children or casual lovers.

Perhaps the one most associated with spirituality is the word agape. This means love for everyone, a spiritual concept. This is where you show love for everyone. Agape in Latin is associated with charis, which is the origin of the word charity.

Another Greek word for love is pragma, which is the root of our word pragmatic. It means a long standing love, a mature, realistic love which is found in couples that have been together for a while. When people are pragmatic, they are practical in their love and make an effort to give love rather than receive it.

Philautia is similar to philia, but rather than focusing on friends, it focuses on oneself. Some Greeks, like Aristotle, believed that there are two versions of philautia; one that is unhealthy and leads to Narcissism and one that is healthy and helps people develop a wider capacity for love. The idea of philautia is that, if you love yourself, you can give
love to others.

The ancient Greeks found different ways of expressing love with friends, family, people, themselves, and strangers. The message from the Greeks is that there is not only one way to love, or say love, but there are specific feelings of love for each recipient.