Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Distinctions

So many of the details that define our conscious understanding of this life get blurred together until there is, in time, no truth in meaning for the common person. Learning to make distinctions directly effects our ability to understand the complexities of awareness which can be achieved, and opens us to a myriad of emotional subcategories that, if applied properly and responsibly, can change the manner in which we interact with one another.

Simple, yet profoundly complex, would be the example of love. Too many times this perspective is misunderstood, misapplied, or misdirected. We've seen such misfortune historically, as in the example of Vincent Van Goght, and tragically see it daily in our lives with regard to the deaths of whole families due to unbridled jealeousy. In the past such acts were romanticised due to their seeming rarity. As well, those early times acknowledged the specifically defined understanding of language and were able, again, to make distinctions regarding affections, and viewed precision in speech with reverence.

For example, the Greeks, classically, distinguished between five various forms of love expressed. Xenia was the attention given by a host to a guest...a form of respectful reverence which, culturally, was wrong to deny. Philia, familiarized in our culture by the word "Philadelphia", signified a love of, and loyalty to, a companion or friend..."brotherly love" as it is commonly expressed. Storge referred to the affection held by a parent toward her children. Eros, from which we get the word "Erotic", is, well, pretty self-explanitory...

And then there is Agape, signifying the act of being completely given over to someone...or something. Strangely, this same word described those who were attached to material possessions or entitlements as well.

Imagine the difference it would make in our culture if each of us were conscious of these distinctions and made use of them in our speech and motivations. How much more responsibility would that place in our hands regarding the way we direct our interpersonal dealings? If we could simply understand and define the various levels of attention we give others, would that not go a long way toward resolving much of the emotional turmoil that seems to plague this human race?

Well, this is a dream, to say the least. I don't claim to be one who often holds out much hope for humanity in this, but that doesn't give me an excuse to give up. Too much is at stake, and life seems a rare and precious commodity.

Our minds are wondrous devices, capable of expansion beyond scientific measure. Will we settle for a meager "less than 10% usage at any given moment, despite the fact the every part of our brain is functionally capable of processing information?

We, as a race, grow increasingly lazy in our desire for progress. We dream, we invent, we push forward, but we do it within a downward spiral of intellectual and emotional apathy. We are the epitome of terra-bound walking contradictions.

As a race, we live as if we are without hope. But hope lives, sometimes despite ourselves.

In the hearts of two who love deeply, hope is the foundation. In a child who grows daily, learning the depths of this life, hope is the life-blood of their imagination. In one whose body is painfully ravaged by disease, hope is the cure for their soul.

As for me, my hope endures in threes.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agape is used in the new Testament Greek as God Love; truely given to God and God alone is able to Agape anyone as in uncoditional love your hostess love is one I don't know. Eros was never used in the New Testament.
Unconditional love so in demand and so utterly impossible. Mother Thresia was on her knees for hours for this to be in her life. I know no one who can do this; I know I can't;I know I am not able that is God size...God can flow through me and I can chose/will to do God's will...

Remember, Koina greek, was common street everyday greek except for Luke and Paul[clasical high] none of the others were that educated.


Dear sister

Alysyn said...

Yes, you are correct that in most cases it was used in reference to God's love for others, which is why many have mistakenly referred to Agape as "Divine Love".

Yet, in fact, there is one place that I'm aware of where it was used to describe the love of the physical realm. In 1John we are told not to love [agapeo] the world or the things in the world (those temporary physical things).

But, more than that, from Matthew to Revelation, we are continually admonished to show Agape toward one another in truth. Furthermore, we are told to love - agape - our enemies! How is it "impossible" and yet expected of us at the same time? I know that whenever we are given a task to do we will be always be properly equipped for it's success. If it is impossible to you, then you have indeed failed to utilize the tools give to you, but that only means that YOU have given up, not that it's impossible.

It is important that we show the love that we would want in return. It is not an easy road, nor is it full of warm fuzzies. Often times it is fraught with trials and difficulties, but it is always satisfying to the soul.