The season of love quickly approaches us as stores all over the world try to sell you chocolates, jewelry, or simple cards to express your feelings to your significant one, family, or even friends. In other countries (namely Japan and Korea), they even observe two holidays: Valentine’s and White’s day.
It is truly an astonishing holiday to observe; however I began to grow more confused about the idea of love as I continued to age. Which does leave a very important question. What is love?
Before I begin, I want to make a few things very clear. I am fully aware connotations the word love carries. I’m not confused, I’m not disillusioned, nor am I sad about the situation I’m currently in. While I may be single, I don’t really care too much about it at the moment. There are a few things I am worried about, but they’re for different reasons and I’ll explain that in a different post. For now, let’s discuss the concept of love for a little bit, shall we? First off, let’s talk about Valentine’s Day.
Over 10 centuries ago, it has been said a man by the name Saint Valentinus performed many weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to be wed off. The saint felt Claudius’ outlaw of marriage for young men was unfair and thus took it upon himself to perform these weddings himself. As a result, he was imprisoned for his “crimes” and later persecuted under the Roman Empire (According to Angsar, author of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint valentine). Legend has it that he had healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. Before the saint was to be executed, Valentinus had given a letter to her and signed as, “Your Valentine”.
The truth is that there were several saints who were named either Valentine or Valentinus. Not only did they share similar names, but they were also martyred. It is difficult to ascertain as to who carries the true and honest identity of Saint Valentine, however his deeds are acknowledged by the Roman Catholic church. If you are interested in learning more in depth, you can check out the links at the far bottom part of this post.
Fast forward to present day. February 14th is now an established holiday where all the markets try their best to sell chocolates, jewelry, or even romantic events at certain places. Love is in the air and they’re selling it pretty hardcore! However while Americans of both gender share their love on one day, countries like Korea and Japan celebrate it a little differently.
For them, the males are the only ones who receive the chocolate on Valentine’s Day. No worries, however! Exactly one month from Valentines, females will be able to get their share from the males on White’s Day!
The holiday first created as another hallmark holiday that was created by a confectionery company (they were called Ishimuramanseido) to help market marshmallows as a way for men to pay women back for the chocolates they had received. I personally think it’s rather clever and an interesting way to celebrate the holiday that’s meant to help spread romance. I think it’d make the holidays much more interesting in the US. Though it’s such a big cultural difference that I doubt it will ever happen but that’s fine. It’s not as though I really celebrate the holiday anyway ahaha.
Now let’s talk about love, shall we?
For centuries, there have been many philosophers who pondered upon the idea of love and what it means to us. The idea of love has evolved constantly over the years but it can be generally accepted as affections toward any individual or group of people. As to what defines love is what eludes many people. Even though food is obviously love, its connotations and interpretation remains to fluctuate between each person you ask. Some would say it’s strictly the strong emotion of physical attachment whereas others would say love is “a manifestation of strong spiritual connections”. It can generally be agreed, however, that love is also when you care deeply about your partner.
An interesting way to approach this further would be to look at how ancient Greek philosophers described love.
Eros, as one would guess, is the physical attraction between humans. This is usually what draws couples together at first which is perfectly fine and healthy. It’s not always meant to be sexual as it the name would suggest. Physical attraction does often draw the first spark of interest between two lovers and thus become the starting point of most relationships. However, Plato would often argue Eros is not always a necessary step in order to really love someone.
Philos is the love that is often found between friends. It’s the “mental” kind of love many people often share when they can connect with others. It’s the bond best friends would have to the point where they would literally take a bullet for them if it came down to it. Something similar to a maxed social link from Persona 3 and 4. Aristotle often used this to describe the love you would find between friends and family (however lovers are not excluded from this).
Agape love is something that is very rare (usually exclusive to mothers) and almost impossible to have under ordinary circumstances. In greek, s’agapo is literally translated to “I love you”. What makes agape love extraordinary is that it is unconditional love. It’s the kind of love that transcends above all other love where the lover asks for nothing in return. While Philos may sound similar in a few aspects, it’s a give and take kind of relationship. This is normal for mothers to have for their children. Otherwise, this kind of love is almost impossible and would almost seem creepy under certain context. Jokes aside, depending on the situation, I think this kind of love is the purest and can be the most beautiful.
For the most part, I’ve always felt that there have been too many people who focus on the eros part of love. As a result, there are many fallouts since the couples never had a chance to really understand each other as humans. As a result of growing up having never had a romantic relationship, I’ve become more accustomed to philos love than anything else. I’ve learned to really appreciate the love that is often found in “families” and friends as it is the closest thing to love that I’ll come to really know about. I can’t say I’m completely asexual but I definitely have become indifferent towards romantic relationships.
Nevertheless, I often find myself more comfortable loving people for who they and maintaining a non-romantic relationship. I still continue to ponder what “true love” is supposed to be like, but I’m just far too busy with many other things to honestly bother. There are things that I’m concerned about, but I’m not worried enough to let it get to me.
I do hope that everyone’s relationship (whether it be romantic or not) will continue to last and prosper. May your bonds with your friends be as strong as Kirk’s and Spock’s bond was and as everlasting. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
Now for a little fun.
Nico: Nico Nico nii~~~ <3
Snake: Sorry kid. I’m not into children.
Nico: Ugh?! (ᇂ∀ᇂ╬)
Snake: Hey Otacon… those girls you had me tail one time… There’s one that I’m kind of interested in.
After facing many tragedies in the past and committing countless evils, is Snake still allowed the privilege to at least love?
Perhaps by opening ourselves up, we can allow others into our lives and change each other for the better! Again, happy Valentine’s day to everyone~
Time for a photo dump.