You’d think, being romance writers and all, that we’d have a pretty good handle on what love is. But actually, love is complicated. That’s why we write whole books about it.
Thinking about love for this post, I naturally thought of the Greeks who gave us Cupid and 4 types of love. Eros, the Greek name for Cupid, is romantic love. It also mean love for beauty. Plato thought it didn’t have to be sexual from which we get the word platonic.
The Greeks also had Agape or the love of God for man and vice versa that was usually seen as charity, Phila or affection for friends, and Storge or love between parent and child.
Kama, God of Love, 18th-19th century
The Hindu god of love is like Cupid in that Kāmadeva is a handsome, young man with wings and green skin and a bow and arrow. His name is a combination of Kama or sexual desire and Deva meaning heavenly or divine. Sex takes on a spiritual significance. His wife Rati represents desire.
Judaism includes romantic love in ahavah or intimate feelings between parent and child, close friends, or between a man and a woman. Another word often used for love, chesed, means kindness or compassion. This is where we get the ‘Great Commandment’ in Leviticus to love thy neighbor as thyself.
Islam considers the love of God most important, followed by love of the prophet like a father for his son, and love for your fellow man. Love between a man and a woman belongs within marriage.
Kuan-yan (Guan Yin), bodhisattva associated with compassion, Northern Sung dynasty, China, c. 1025, wood
TheBuddhateaches that love is kindness, compassion, appreciative joyfulness and the calm that comes from spiritual enlightenment. By intending these attitudes and practicing them particularly when dealing with our fellow man, we learn to appreciate and to manifest love.
Christianityalso recommends kindness as the key component of love. The Book of Corinthians in the Bible says ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.’
So we can see that love runs a gamut from sex to simple kindness. As writers, we might focus on the romance, but it struck me in conversation with other writers how much we depend on kindness. Just think about how we ask strangers to read our work and promote our efforts for basically a well-spun yarn. It’s an amazing, even loving, effort on the part of bloggers, reviewers, and street teams. So this Valentine’s, remember your readers, and if you have a book coming out,let me know. Always happy to blog for a friend!
originally published on smpauthors.wordpress.com 2/13/16