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What is Love: Philautia

384-322 BCE

Hello! My name is Aristotle.

In my writings, I covered dozens of topics, and my ethical statements are the most transformative of them.

My main ethical work is ‘Nicomachean Ethics’, where I introduce the concept of Philautia, my understanding of what ‘self-love’ means.

I saw it both as self-acceptance and self-improvement.

Allegory of Virtue and Vice (1505) by Lorenzo Lotto

This form of love is the last rung before the ultimate one because to love unconditionally, you need to learn to love yourself first.

Ironically, people spend their lives to find their significant other in the hope to feel whole and complete, forgetting that their most precious treasure is already with them.

According to my philosophy, human is first and foremost rational being. Thus, the concept of Philautia as healthy self-love is more like a rational principle than passionate dictation.

Let me make it clearer.

There is a popular opinion in society that conflates self-love and self-indulgence.

They say it is a disgrace to love yourself. Because a good person only lives in the service of others and sacrifices one’s own interest for their sake.

What is self-love for you?

Good point! Anyway, indulging all cravings and fulfilling every selfish desire isn’t self-love.

To love yourself means to take care of and master the highest parts of our human nature, which are our mind and virtues.

Admirable people cherish themselves not because of popularity, beauty, or success, but because they make noble use of what is most excellent in them - their moral character.

They might love their generosity, benevolence, bravery, loyalty, and trustworthiness, which are primarily concerned with caring activities and attitudes towards others.

But they don’t love their personality because it gets them things like having others in their debt or the approval of others. They love it for its own sake.

What are the moral virtues that you respect most in yourself?

For example, generosity, benevolence, bravery, loyalty, or trustworthiness

I hope, now you understand that self-love has never been a bad word but a compliment.

Philautia is the most important form of love to exercise since there is no one closer to you than yourself.

As soon as you are ready, the highest manifestation is waiting to be experienced — Agape.

384-322 BCE

Ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, one of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history. He was the author of a philosophical and scientific system that became the framework and vehicle for both Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy.

Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remained embedded in Western thinking.

Source: Britannica

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