14. Agape / ἀγάπη / (uh-GAHP-aye)
Another Greek term, and one you might be more familiar with.
Agape, or unconditional love, refers to the highest possible form of affection that people can either give or receive.
Other types include philos, or brotherly love; and eros, or romantic love.
Way I remember this?
Philadelphia is the “city of brotherly love”, and eros looks an awful lot like “erotic”. Not a perfect substitution of ideas, but it’ll do for now.
What’s amazing to me, is that most every human being across place and time seem to universally agree that redamancy* is a necessary ingredient for eudaimonia.
(We’ll cover that tomorrow*)
Essentially, love others the way you love yourself.
But it’s not.
Like this diagram.
The blue and red lines represent the two main types of restrictive love based in convenience & victimhood.
They are origin of man’s lower nature, and are based in our physical reality.
So while we all start somewhere; the ultimate goal is to reach the top. Though unfortunately, most of us stay sidelined.
Our terrestrial love remains earth-bound, and we never quite make it to the inexhaustible fount of infinite potential that is Agape love.
Here’s the thing, philos and eros are both conditional.
Meaning that in order to experience them, one must fill out a sort of relational pop quiz before hand. Frankly, It’s a mess.
Philos is determined by proximity, whereas eros denotes attraction. Neither of which are sufficient to fully sustain a modern relationship.
Our human rules say that once you stop liking a person, the love stops.
That doesn’t seem right to me.
Like placing a boulder on a stream.
The source of life becomes compromised, and the flow trickles to a stop.
Agape on the other hand, is unconditional.
This is a completely novel paradigm in human thought. Like a strong river that flows despite apparent obstacles in its way, Agape is a well of depth and awe.
If I were able to effectively practice Agape…
(Not yet, sorry.)
…here’s what I’d do.
Be completely and relentlessly devoted to acting out of love at ALL times.
Because at that point, its becomes a commitment to the love itself, rather than to any one person in particular.
To love from a place of Agape, means to truly become yourself.
And that feels like an ideal worth striving toward.