Only in love and through love does a man become a man. Without love, he is an inferior being, devoid of real life and depth and unable to either act effectively or adequately understand others and himself. And if a person is a central object of philosophy, then the theme of human love, taken in all its breadth, should be one of the leading in philosophical reflections.
Philosophical analysis of love unfolds in two main directions: a description of specific diverse types of love (from the most distinct of its species to species that are on the verge of attraction and partiality) and the study of those common features that are inherent in each of the types of love. The main attention is paid to sexual (erotic) love, which is the paradigm of all love. Love is interpreted as inclination, impulse, inspiration, as the will to power and at the same time striving for loyalty, as a special sphere of creativity and at the same time stimulating creativity in other areas, as an objective expression of the depths of the personality and its freedom, while freedom willing to voluntarily bring themselves into slavery, as a complex, multi-plane enumeration of the biological and social, personal and socially significant, intimate, secret and at the same time open, seeking, pretending.
Childhood of human love
For a long time, people asked themselves when love arose — whether a man took it from the animal kingdom, or did it appear later. Many believe that love was born later than their fellows – hate, envy, friendliness, maternal feelings. Cavemen who lived in a horde, group marriage, probably did not know any love. Ancient scholars say that it was not even when monogamy began to arise. Proceeding from the works of such researchers, Morgan and Bachofen, Engels wrote: “Until the Middle Ages, there could be no question of individual sexual love. It goes without saying that physical beauty, friendships, the same inclinations, etc., awakened in people of different sexes the desire for sexual intercourse, which for both men and women was not completely indifferent to whom they had entered into these intimate relations . But from this to modern sexual love is still infinitely far. ”
Many philosophers, psychologists, scientists believe that during antiquity there was no love, but there was only bodily eros, simple sexual desire. Eros of antiquity – this is what they call the love of that time, and this is a walking look, which many consider to be an axiom. It is unlikely, of course, true that in ancient times there was no true love. About love is now and again stated in the most ancient myths of Greece, and in the classical era, almost twenty-five centuries ago, even theories of spiritual love appeared – Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. And the Greek gods of love? In the retinue of the goddess of love, Aphrodite, there were many gods – patrons of love. One of them personified the beginning and end of love (Eroth had an arrow giving birth to love and an arrow that quenched it), the other – carnal desires (Gimeroth), the third – reciprocal love (Anterot), the fourth – passionate desire (Pof), the fifth – love persuasion (goddess Peyto), the sixth – marriage (Hymen), the seventh – childbirth (Eilithia). And since there were gods of love and even theories of love, where did they come from, if not out of love?
When the ancient temples lived then priestess of love, they were revered, and love was deified as a mysterious force. Of course, this is still a simple eros, bodily, devoid of spirituality. But even in those times it was clear to people that this eros is not just an animal feeling, it humanizes man. With the passage of time, people changed, others were made their way of life, their psychology. And probably, it is impossible to deduce the rules common to all epochs of antiquity, to think that love was the same in them, equal to itself.
The love of early antiquity may well be called ancient eros. It is a kind of pre-love, there is still a lot in common with the natural, the same for humans and other living beings. The corporeal (although already spiritualized) aggression, desires of the flesh — such was, apparently, the early eros of antiquity. It is often said in myths that the gods took on the appearance of other people in order to appear to their beloved under their guise.
It is interesting that love appears at a time when a woman falls under the domination of a man. One would have thought that love arose in history as a psychological compensation for female slavery: having subjugated a woman, the man himself was taken prisoner by her. But this is an external approach – and very single-line. It can be assumed that similar morals reigned in the early times of the barbaric patriarchy. Love could not stand this psychological ice age and perished. And only after many millennia, when the relationship between a man and a woman began to soften, love began to be born again. The personality begins to separate itself from society, it becomes more and more aware of its separate, private interests, more and more bring them to the fore. And along with this isolation, love is also deepening dramatically, it seems to be pushed forward, falls under a magnifying glass, and the comprehension of its values is made much more profound and branched.
It is then that a feeling of exclusiveness of love, of its incompatibility with other feelings, appears. Every now and then the poets say that love is the center of life, the most important thing in it, that it is stronger than anything in the world – stronger than the bonds of blood, stronger than even the instinct of life. Therefore, in ancient poetry begins to sound a note of the endlessness of love feeling
With the course of civilization, the ancient syncretism is increasingly disintegrating, and the times when spirituality has not yet left the lap of physicality are farther and farther away. Now it is often self-sufficient, independent, already exists by itself. Love is pervaded more and more by spiritual burdens, and this can be seen not only in the lyrics, but also in the late antique novel. For the ancients, love is a mixture of honey and poison, and it was not for nothing that their tragedy wrote about it with such fear. Together with the advent of love, not only the joys of life, but, perhaps even more, its sorrows, its pain, anxiety, sharply increased. Love is a huge psychological enhancer of perception, and it increases in the eyes of people both happiness and unhappiness, and perhaps unhappiness even more than happiness. And so there is so much grief and pain in the ancient drama, in the ancient lyrics, and indeed in poets of all other eras – from Petrarch to Blok and Mayakovsky.
Entering into the life of humanity, love changes the whole structure of its value.
Love in ancient Greece
The ancient Greeks distinguished several types of love.
This, above all, of course, is Eros, deified eros. Eros, or Eros, is love-passion, love, borderline with madness, mad love. The ancient Greeks said this: “erotomania” – “crazy (reckless) love”. There was a verb “ereomaneo” – “to be mad with love”.
Eros is mainly sexual love. Hence, “erotica” is the art of love. Hence the name of the work of the Roman poet Levi “Erotopaynion” – “Love fun”, similar to Ovid’s Latin-language poem – “The Art of Love”. True, love-passion can be directed to another. Herodot wrote about the Spartan king Pausanius (this is not the one in “Peer”), that he “had a passion” (“erota schon”) to become a tyrant of the whole of Hellas … However, love passion, like any passion, is rare and short. Like everything immeasurable (the ancient Greeks understood the irrational, insane as immeasurable), passion, devouring its carrier, devours itself.
More calm “filia”. The noun “filia” has its verb – “phileo” – “I love” (“phileo sous” – “I love you”). This love has a wider range of meanings than Eros. Such love is difficult to love many-sided. It is, moreover, not only love, but also friendship. Therefore, erotic love is only one type of filia.
Love as the highest degree of a good emotional attitude of “I” to “not-I” oscillates between self-love, where “not-I” is “I”, and “friendliness”, love for “not-I”, for which mediated self-love may be concealed when the object of love (“philton”) is reduced only to the object and to the means of satisfying self-love, and is not considered as something valuable, as something even more valuable than “me”. Love in the first sense is consumer love. This is not true love. Only the second, selfless, true love. It was not for nothing that Hegel said that true love is finding oneself in giving up oneself and disappearing oneself in another. True love is selfless. It includes the element of pity and compassion for the object of love.
In addition to “Eros” and “Filya”, the Greeks had other terms for love. These terms are derived from “filia”: “phylostorgia” – “tender love, ardent affection”, “filotec” – “friendship, affection, love”. Even softer than “filia” love is, perhaps, “agapecis” – love-attraction. At the time of the evening dawn of pagan culture and the morning dawn of Christianity, this love took the form of “agape” – New Testament love (agaps are fraternal meals from early Christians).
Among the kinds of “filia” was the love of myths (“phylomuthos” – “loving tales, myths”). Ancient Greek mythology, as it is known, is rich in images, plots, legends, many ancient Greek tragedians, poets, prose writers, artists, sculptors drew their themes from it …
Mythology is anthropomorphic. In mythology, people, not knowing the laws of nature, genuine cause-and-effect relationships in the world, explained the phenomena superficially, associating them associatively, by analogy with their relationships and properties. There was a great metaphor – the transfer to nature of human properties and relationships, which is why, since human nature is alien to nature, human things transferred to nature accumulated above nature, forming a supernatural, supernatural world personifying certain natural, as well as some social phenomena of supernatural beings, gods, demons, etc. And even if these creatures are outwardly not like people, zoomorphic or monstrous, they still think, speak and act like people, guided by human motives. This is an implicit anthropomorphism.
Love was mythologized and deified. In ancient Greece, it was mythologically represented in the images of several mythological creatures. This is primarily Aphrodite and Eros (in Rome, respectively, Venus and Cupid).
Aphrodite – the goddess of love and beauty. She was attributed a large role. She submits almost all living things. Aphrodite even reduces the gods with women, and goddesses with men.
He had his own mythological image and eros. This is Eros – the son of Aphrodite (according to some versions, Artemis, who changed her virginity). That cute, playful and ruthless boy with wings, with a bow and arrows of love, which, according to his whim, he lets out into gods, then into people, is the fruit of Hellenistic art, and in the beginning Eroth was depicted as an untreated stone boulder.
Homer does not mention Eros in the number of gods. This is an impersonal force, attracting gods and people of the opposite sex to each other.
And here we find the transition to philosophy.
Among the kinds of “filia” was the love of knowledge. These are “filomateia” – “love of knowledge, curiosity” (“matema” – “knowledge, teaching, science”, hence mathematics), “philology” – “love of scholarly conversations, studies”, hence philology (however, “logos” meant not every word, but only a scientific, rational one, hence the different meaning of the term “philology”, which is now accepted), “philopeustia” – “curiosity, curiosity”, finally, “philosophy” – “love of knowledge, curiosity; research, teaching, science; love of wisdom, philosophy; philosophical doctrine. The verb “philosopheo” meant “to love knowledge, to be inquisitive, to think wisely …”, and the noun “philosopher” is “an educated, enlightened person, scientist, lover of wisdom …”.
Philosophy, having arisen from the mythological worldview under the influence of the special knowledge of the intellect, logos, which had gotten strong in life itself, as well as in the spheres of special knowledge of the intellect, logos (logos cannot be identified with philosophy, logos – thanks to which philosophy exists), still managed to get rid of anthropomorphism. They are like philosophers “plugging holes” in their philosophical systems. For this, the remaining, in essence, mythological images of love were used, first of all of Aphrodite, Eros, Filiya. The ancient Greek pre-philosopher Hesiod, unable to explain the driving force of the cosmogonic process, the process of origin and development of the cosmos (and who can explain it?), Finds this force in the cosmic, universal eros.
The image of Eroth was philosophically comprehended by Plato in The Feast. Participating in this conversation, Socrates (through whose mouth Plato speaks, who avoided speaking out on his own behalf in his writings) essentially accepts Pausanias’ thought about two Eros: vulgar, earthly and sublime, heavenly (although he does not use this terminology), filling it with idealistic content in the spirit of the teachings of Plato on the two worlds, the earthly, physical, sensual and heavenly, ideal, imaginable. In Platon’s “Feast” dialogue, Socrates in his own way develops the image of Eros, saying that it’s true that he heard all this from a certain wise woman, Diotima, who enlightened him in terms of love. Eros is not beautiful and not good in itself, but neither is it ugly and mean, it is not wise and ignorant in itself. Eros lies midway between these extremes. He is like a unity of opposites. Such, in our language, is the dialectical nature of Eros.
Eros is the son of the god of wealth Poros and the goddess of poverty (there was such a goddess!) Singing (hence the “penalty”). Being the son of such dissimilar parents, Eros is controversial. Eros is not just a kind of “golden mean” between the beautiful and the ugly, between wisdom and ignorance. Eros – the pursuit of a worse state for the better. “Eros is the love of beauty”, and wisdom is one of the most beautiful goods in the world, therefore Eros in the image of Socrates – Plato is a lover of wisdom, a philosopher. So Plato explains the higher meaning of the term “philosophy”, introduced into circulation by Pythagoras (6th century BC), who proceeded from the fact that only the desire for wisdom is available to people, but not wisdom itself. In Socrates – Plato, Eros is a supernatural being, a demon is a mediator between gods and humans.
Further, Socrates proves that the love of beauty is the love of his own good, the love of the eternal possession of this good, the love of immortality. But people are mortal. The proportion of immortality that immortal gods have given people is the ability to be creative (and this is “everything that causes the transition from non-existence to being”), to birth (“birth is that fraction of immortality and eternity that is released to a mortal being”). However, the pursuit of beauty has a higher meaning. This is the pursuit of an ideal, heavenly, or more precisely, non-heavenly world. Here, Eros is no longer just a mediator between people and gods (this is still the mythological aspect of Eros at Socrates – Plato), but an intermediary between the physical and ideal worlds, the very desire for beauty as such, for the idea of beauty. Everyman loves beautiful things, beautiful bodies. But the philosopher loves beauty in itself. It is pure, transparent, unalloyed, not burdened with human flesh, colors, and every mortal gaze, it is divine and uniform. Having seen such a beautiful thing once, a person can no longer live the same miserable life. Such a person no longer gives birth to the ghosts of virtue, but the very virtue, not the ghosts of truth, but the truth itself … So, Socrates says, the wise Diotima told me, “and I believe her. And, believing her, I try to assure others that in the pursuit of human nature for such an inheritance she will hardly find a better helper than Eros. Therefore, I affirm that everyone must honor Eros … ”
Such is the image of Eros in the philosophical system of the idealist Plato. Behind all kinds of love: for parents, for children, for a woman, for a man, for a fatherland, for work, for poetic and legal creativity, etc., etc., should be supreme love – love for the world of eternal and unchanging ideas to the highest world of goodness as such, beauty as such, truth as such.