Odious, cynical commercial enterprise, or lovely appreciation for the loved ones in your life… opinions are divided about St. Valentine’s Day.
I’ve never been one for fluffy hearts and twee poems, but I do believe in acknowledging the people in my life who buoy me up in good and bad times.
Back in the day the Greeks described four distinct categories for love: agape, eros, philia, and storge.
- Agape: a purer, spiritual love that can be applied in the abstract to humanity or divinities.
- Eros: denotes passionate, intense desire, from which springs the word erotic (Greek erotikos).
- Philia: it entails a fondness and appreciation of friends, loyalties to family, and even one’s political community, job, or discipline.
- Storge: the natural affection parents feel for their children, or siblings for each other.
The difficulty with Valentine’s day is that it tends to place all the emphasis upon love between couples, which of course makes those who are not in a romantic relationship feel left out.
Yet, each of us is embedded in a matrix of relationships, some of which are not romantic, but are just as important to our well-being. For many people their friendships far outlast their various romantic couplings. The heartfelt companionship provided by a dog or a cat can bring essential joy to its human carer.
So, no matter what your romantic status, today can be a good day to remember all the sources of love and support you draw upon. None of us are entirely alone in life, no matter how it seems during the darkest hours of the night.