Romantic Vs Community Love?
The Ancient Greeks had 7 distinct words for love:
Eros - Romantic love.
Philia - Friendship love.
Erotoropia - Flirtatious love, they were from Ancient greek after all…
Storge - Familial love.
Philautia - Self love, your ego’s favourite type of love.
Pragma - Compassionate love.
Agápe - Universal love, this is centered around empathy.
Fast forward a few thousand years and we think the Greeks would be a little dumbfounded about just how much emphasis we have on romantic love. If you’ve got amazing friends, a solid family network but are perpetually single this can become the focus of conversation or bemusement despite your best efforts to avoid the subject. It is not surprising is it? Turn on Netflix and you have a plethora of Rom Coms with beautiful actors, flick through social media and watch the sea of baes drinking coffee in a pretty cafe and don’t forget the arranged reminders of your singledom throughout the calendar year from Valentine’s Day to Christmas.
Here at Innate we love to question the status quo and how doing this can benefit your own lifestyle so here we ask, is modern life’s fixation on romantic love serving us or are we missing out on other types of love? Here we could go into the history of how capitalism has slowly manipulated romantic love for its own benefits but you probably already know that, this blog definitely hasn’t been sponsored by Hallmark Cards & Tinder being a couple of the most billion dollar examples. Putting the history of romantalism (yes we did just make this word up) to one side, the real question we want to ponder is how important other types of love are for us humans to have the most fulfilling lives.
Lets not pretend for a second that romantic love doesn’t have its moments, finding someone you connect with on such a deep level you feel you are almost one can be a magical experience. But love can be fleeting, frustrating and often it can even be a distraction from being able to have enough time to continue to grow. It feels weird questioning love in this way because it is on such a pedestal and no doubt can be great, but do you also feel sometimes that it may not be the complete answer to what our love computer, the heart, really needs to be fulfilled?
The Greek’s 7 words for love is a good starting point to re-evaluate and take a step back and think ahh maybe we’re on the wrong track. To help ensure this article isn’t a phd on the multi-faceted nature of love we’re going to focus on one of the other types of love, Agápe, the selfless love. We’re also biased giving our aim to create co-living retreats all around the world but hey ho. Agápe can be seen as charitable love but it is more than that. It is unselfish love where you commit to being there for others without expecting anything in return.
Although not directly referring to community, we feel this type of love can offer solid foundations for communal thinking which seems so lacking in our super individualistic world. Especially given it seems a common occurrence that new ways of thinking about how we can create new ways of living enter a cultish & egoic realm, Charles Manson being a cautionary tale here.
We’ll get more back to the point of this article in a minute, apologies for a quick tangent..
Within the context of co-living and intentional communities, we can look at the day to day life and more philosophically to see how Agápe love can play out. Although these both have the potential to offer an exciting departure from the hyper-capitalism period we’re in, we need to go into it with the right mindset. If we can create spaces where everyone is there for the group, at the end of the day we’re all going to win and the experience will be richer. From simple things like chipping in and doing the dishes to looking out for other people’s wellbeing the potential for building beautiful human first places is endless. This is something we’re super excited at Innate to try and help facilitate but ultimately all we can do is help set the space and it is the people attending our co lives which will define the experience. It will of course take time for all of us to grow and everyone is at different points in their journey, but if we can all go into it with a wider understanding of how we value love this will increase the chances of truly fulfilling experiences.
So going back to the point of this article, romantic love vs community love? Which is more important, do you think? Not to cop out but we don’t pretend to know the answers. However, we think that looking at the different types of love we are capable of emitting and receiving offers a great diving board to jump off into the abyss of rethinking how we can live our lives. All seven types of the Greek’s love are part of the human experience and if we can try to balance out where romantic love sits in our complicated lives, the opportunities presented offer ground breaking eye openers to a new way of life.
With all our content we ask ourselves, what’s in it for the reader, i.e. you of course. So in this case to finish off why may this really matter to you? We think that by taking a step back and looking beyond the alluring nature of romantic love and trying to place importance to other types of love there is the possibility to have as rich or even richer life experiences. In this case if we start to try and incorporate community love into our lives there is the potential of creating a more caring society. Plus there is less of a need for swiping at your phone!