Find Life Purpose

What is Love: Philia

Salut! I am Simone de Beauvoir, French existentialist and novellist.

In 1929, I became the youngest person ever passed the agrégation exam and the ninth woman graduate from the Sorbonne.

Due to circumstances, I had to support myself from my early 20s, which made me think a lot about freedom and responsibility in human existence and relationships.

In my most famous work, “The Second Sex”, I describe the concept of authentic love that can help you understand Philia a bit better.

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

The Duet - Frank Dicksee

Always about appreciation, this love is impossible without the response from others.

Selfish reasons come to the second priority because Philia cherishes shared happiness and well-being, giving as much as receiving.

Like Eros, this form of love is looking for something particular, but less passionately, more loyally.

It allows us to embrace the person as a whole, along with the traits we like and dislike.

Here lies the main difference between idolatrous love between subject and object and authentic love, a connection of two equals.

“Authentic love must be founded on reciprocal recognition of two freedoms... For each of them, love would be the revelation of self through the gift of self and the enrichment of the universe.”

I met my soul partner Jean-Paul Sartre at a young age, and for over 50 years until our deaths, we held open relationships, supporting the independence of each other.

Which relationship gives you pleasure, utility, and virtue all at the same time?

For example, I love my sister because of the joy I get speaking with her, because she makes delicious sandwiches for me, and because I find her really wise.

Philia involves us in psychological union above the physical, which purges affection of jealousy and pain.

Connections like friendship, brother- and sisterhood, and fellowship help to realize the self.

In authentic love, you are not face-to-face but rather side-by-side, sharing common values and vision.

Recall who you’ve mentioned in the first question and reflect.

Do those connections help you develop yourself? How do you think you help other people become better?

Check your relationships with these questions as often as you need. After all, life is too short to be spent on people who don’t deserve it!

The second rung of the ladder is behind. Welcome to the third one — Storge.

Simone de Beauvoir
1908 - 1986

French writer and feminist, a member of the intellectual fellowship of philosopher-writers who have given a literary transcription to the themes of existentialism. She is known primarily for her treatise Le Deuxième Sexe, (The Second Sex), a scholarly and passionate plea for the abolition of what she called the myth of the “eternal feminine.” It became a classic of feminist literature.

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