Greco-Christian terms which can be rendered into English as “love”. The other three agape and eros nygren pdf storge, philia, and agape.
The term erotic is derived from eros. Eros has also been used in philosophy and psychology in a much wider sense, almost as an equivalent to “life energy”. Love at first sight” was explained as a sudden and immediate beguiling of the lover through the action of these processes, but this was not the only mode of entering into passionate love in classical texts. Whether by “first sight” or by other routes, passionate love often had disastrous results according to the classical authors. In the event that the loved one was cruel or uninterested, this desire was shown to drive the lover into a state of depression, causing lamentation and illness. Occasionally, the loved one was depicted as an unwitting ensnarer of the lover, because of her sublime beauty—a “divine curse” which inspires men to kidnap her or try to rape her. The classical conception of love’s arrows was developed further by the troubadour poets of Provence during the medieval period, and became part of the European courtly love tradition.
The role of a woman’s eyes in eliciting erotic desire was particularly emphasized by the Provençal poets, as N. According to this description, love originates upon the eyes of the lady when encountered by those of her future lover. The love thus generated is conveyed on bright beams of light from her eyes to his, through which it passes to take up its abode in his heart. In some medieval texts, the gaze of a beautiful woman is compared to the sight of a basilisk—a legendary reptile said to have the power to cause death with a single glance. These images continued to be circulated and elaborated upon in the literature and iconography of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. If Love’s a Sweet Passion, why does it torment? If a Bitter, oh tell me whence comes my content?
Or grieve at my Fate, when I know ’tis in vain? That at once it both wounds me, and Tickles my Heart. The ancient philosopher Plato developed an idealistic concept of eros which would prove to be very influential in modern times. In general, Plato did not consider physical attraction to be a necessary part of eros. Eros, understood in this sense, differed considerably from the common meaning of the word in the Greek language of Plato’s time. It also differed from the meaning of the word in contemporary literature and poetry. For Plato, eros is neither purely human nor purely divine: it is something intermediate which he calls a daimon.
Its main characteristic is permanent aspiration and desire. Even when it seems to give, eros continues to be a “desire to possess”, but nevertheless it is different from a purely sensual love in being the love that tends towards the sublime. According to Plato, the gods do not love, because they do not experience desires, inasmuch as their desires are all satisfied. Nevertheless, eros remains always, for Plato, an egocentric love: it tends toward conquering and possessing the object that represents a value for man. To love the good signifies to desire to possess it forever.
Love is therefore always a desire for immortality. Paradoxically, for Plato, the object of eros does not have to be physically beautiful. This is because the object of eros is beauty, and the greatest beauty is eternal, whereas physical beauty is in no way eternal. In Freudian psychology, eros, not to be confused with libido, is not exclusively the sex drive, but our life force, the will to live. It is the desire to create life, and favors productivity and construction.