Philia, Agape, and confusion.

I'll start off this post with something really original: I've been thinking a lot about X :P hooks are horrible! Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about friendship, and the difference between loving certain people as friends, and loving people overall out of selfless Godly love, and how these interact with one another. So...first of all we have to decide what Friendship we'll pull out the Greek card and call it "Philia". So...being curious of what Aristotle thought the first place to look was of course Wikipedia!

Okay, anyway...Aristotle placed Philia into three categories: Friendships of unity, friendships of pleasure, and friendships of the "good" The first one, friendships of unity...might be called what C.S. Lewis meant by the word in "the four loves" that the friendship is formed not from attention to one another, but by a mutual goal in mind, sort of...drawing people together in unity of a goal, and they become friends, and come to love one another in quite a selfless way, or almost similar to a natual affection. The more I think about this...the less it seems to be the truest kind of friendship. Lewis says that the friendship has to be "about" something....I disagree.
The second one, friendship of pleasure is basically friends which you share a common interest both enjoy arguing, or you both like golf...or what an Irishman might call a "drinking buddy".
The third, and what Aristotle calls the highest form of Philia is friendship for the other persons sake. You like their Character, and are concerned for them. From "Rhetoric" "wanting for someone what one thinks good, for his sake and not for one's own, and being inclined, so far as one can, to do such things for him"

Now all of that is basically from I have some ideas about it. I think that the third is in essense "friendship", or "philia" and the other two are either ends of their own, or means on which become become real "friends"...Katie has noted though that I have a quite narrow view of friendship. The first, of having a mutual goal...the trouble comes when that goal is gone...are you still "friends?" do you love each other? I think you can, through having a common goal you come to love that person for their own sake, because they are them. The second of having something in common is also a great way to become friends at first...and sometimes it never goes farther than having that mutual hobby or interest, but sometimes as you spend time with this person you slowly come to love them for them as well.

Here is the real issue that is coming to me: How much of my friendships are selfish? Am I only their friend because they make me happy? Now I am certain that that is not all of it...but it is some of it. I know that no matter how much I love someone a part of it is always selfish. But I know that if Micah were to go into a comma and be unable to move or speak I would still love him, and my grief would not only come from my happiness being taken away. I ask myself sometimes (wow this post is disorganized) why do I love my friends more than someone I don't know? Is it only because they make me happy?
I think the answer is simply that I have spent more time with them...there is that intouchable element of "closeness" that only comes with time.

Here it is:
Philia can be selfish, but it doens't have to be. Lewis talks about Eros in the four loves saying that if it is not under the guidence of God, and under "Agape" or selfless love, then it first is set up as a "God" and then becomes a devil, when the other person no longer meets YOUR needs. I think Philia is the same, if it is under God's guidence and Agape love than it is a good friendship, if it is not, then it falls. Let it be noted that non-christians can love selflessly too...I am convinced that that is true. This post is all a "quagmire of confusion" but...what i mean is that any love that is not based in selfless love falls, and...I know I love my friends selfishly, but I also know that I love them selflessly as well. And I will always need God's help to help me to love them more and more selflessly.

Okay...I just can't seem to finish what I'm saying...and you're all going to be so confused by this posts disorganization...but there is a part of loving someone for their own good that is different in "Philia" than simply "Agape" love for man...*sigh*


SarahA said…
*sigh* Ha! I always put that! *dance*
Hayley said…
I wonder if it's even biblical to love someone for their own good. Are we supposed to love people for any other reason than Jesus loves them and we're trying to be like Him? I don't know, I wonder.

And isn't it funny, how it's easier to love selflessly the people we don't know than it is to know the people we do know.

The more I think about love, the less I understand it.
Michael said…
As far as I know the bible says nothing against loving people for people sake. The bible supports romantic love, why not friendship? is confusing.
Art said…
"it's easier to love selflessly the people we don't know than it is to know the people we do know." Most definitely. It's a little discouraging, but logical.

But does the Bible support romantic love in the sense that you mean? It seems most injunctions to marry are in order that you won't waste away from passion, or to help you build the kingdom of heaven better. So, perhaps friendship and romance are good only to the extent that they are God-centered. (Other-centered, of course, but only in order to fulfill another end. Basically, we should love people "pragmatically," not for themselves, but to achieve the end of loving God.)

After that whole paragraph, I don't think I've clarified matters at all. I guess we can just try to love selflessly, and pray that God will give us wisdom to know what that means?

But that is also silly, because a way of finding wisdom is by discussing it...heh, I guess we should just continue in our puzzlement.
Micah E. said…
Is it even possible to love people for themselves without lying to ourselves? As in, is anybody really lovable?

I forget what book it was, but the father character told his daughter "It's a good thing I love you so much, be cause I sure don't like you."

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