Find Life Purpose

What is Love: Eros

Hannah Arendt
1906 - 1975

Guten tag! My name is Hannah Arendt. I am a German Jew and, as they say, one of the most influential political philosophers of the 20th century.

But before we start, let me light my cigarette up.

Even though I was chased by totalitarianism, which I narrow escaped in the US, I dedicated my life to exploring the origins of evil and power.

Nevertheless, the topic of love was my starting point. I obtained my doctorate in philosophy analyzing this phenomenon in the thought of Saint Augustine.

One of the perceptions there is amor qua appetitus, ‘craving love,’ that illustrates the Greek definition for Eros.

Romeo and Juliet - Frank Bernard Dicksee (1884)

Along with Philia and Agape, Eros is one of three the most fundamental forms of love.

Nowadays, Eros is associated with sexual intimacy, but it goes against the original sense. Originally, it is a common desire that seeks supernatural in particular things, like people or art.

The foundation of this form is some characteristics that please you. If the trait ceases to exist, the reason for love would be gone.

You may recognize it in the heart quickening at the start of new relationships, or when emotions run high during some activity you’ve dedicated your heart to, whether it’s pottery-making or sky-jumping.

The definition of Eros that I developed is “to love is indeed nothing else than to crave something for its own sake.”

It is a striving toward specific someone or something, toward happiness.

Pursuit to satisfy the needs of the soul and body is a part of human nature. Stupid are those who reject what they genuinely want.

Reflect on your most memorable past events. When did you feel the excitement or passion?
What were you doing? Who was there with you?

You may wonder: “Why is Eros important? If it is elementary, then shouldn’t I tend to suppress it?”

There is nothing more obvious than our wanting to be happy, so craving love is here to give us happiness.

To get a better self-understanding, make a list of things that bring you satisfaction and joy.
For example, “I love to do my research and discover something new.”

Sehr gut! After this little exploration, I hope your vision of yourself becomes clearer.

Anyway, the best part of the journey is still ahead.

Do not hesitate to step on the second rung of the ladder of love - straight to Philia.

Hannah Arendt
1906 - 1975

German-born American political scientist and philosopher best known for her critical writing on Jewish affairs and her study of totalitarianism.

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