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4 1 2 stars I bumped it up 1 2 star for the last chapter awesome Lewis explores love24 March 2013 This is one of those books that every time I read it this is the third time I think I learn something new, so I guess I am going to have to put this book up in the realms of literature The interesting thing about this book is that when Lewis wrote it he had not been in a relationship he remained single until he met Joy Davidman, which is actually the subject of a book, a movie, and even a play so he is not actually writing from experience However, we should note that Eros plays only one part of this particular book and, as Lewis demonstrates, love is much, much than erotic love The title of the book comes from the idea that in Greek there are four different words for love and Lewis puts them down as affection, friendship, erotic love, and charitable love Like the Symposium which no doubt he was familiar with he also rates them in the order of importance, with Charity being the highest form of love The idea of charity is doing things for people with no expectation of anything in return simply out of the goodness of your heart In fact, doing such things for strangers and for people who can never actually give anything back is the essence of this type of love Lewis explores each of these forms of love, though he adds a fifth, which he does not necessarily consider to be love, but rather a fondness of something in this he outlines the love of one s country patriotism and the love of nature Throughout the book though with the exception of Charity he is also exploring the dangers that with these forms of love give rise okay, he does not actually do that with friendship, and indicates that any of the dangers that arise from affection and eros go beyond what that form of love really is He makes mention of the dark gods numerous times, and since he was a Christian when he was writing this, he is no doubt referring to demonic forces Obviously with a love of nature he considers the idea of worshipping nature as a god one aspect of this, and with patriotism, the extremes of which give rise to another form However, remember that when this book was being written and he had also fought in the trenches of World War I World War II was in full swing It is interesting what he says about friendship or as another person puts it, brotherly love in that it is something that people do not recognise as a form of love in our modern society In fact people stay away from it for fear of it giving rise to accusations of homosexuality which was still illegal in his days However, as is true to Lewis, he does not shy away from discussing this aspect of friendship, and I note from what he has written, in those days homosexuals were seen as being effeminate than not Of course he completely debunks that idea by referring to the fact that homosexual love did exist between warriors in the ancient world, and to refer to them, as he says, as pansies , is shows a complete mis understanding the nature of it though I suspect that this idea, as it is still today, is a means of denigrating those who live a homosexual lifestyle Another interesting thing that he points out is how certain people fear the friendship love, especially people like religious leaders and corporate bosses The idea is that with friendship love there is not only a lack of control over the relationship, but also the fear of a conspiracy Fortunately in most of the churches that I have been involved with there has not been any attempt to destroy friendships, but I have heard of churches where fake friendships are formed to maintain control over people Obviously this is so in the corporate world where friendships can be viewed as a threat to somebody s authority In fact some bosses will encourage in fighting amongst the employees so that their position may remain secure Anyway, I could probably write a lot on this book, but since this is my last day in Hong Kong before I head off to Europe, and that I have laundry to get done as well as packages to post back to Australia I ended up buying just a little to much while I was here I must sign off now. Overall a fascinating read, though a bit high brow than my usual fare Having a background in the classics, as in OLD classics, would help to make of it understandable And sometimes I got a little lost in his logic However, the points of view on the different types of love were very useful to me, in reflecting on my own life and relationships If I were to sum up the effect on me in one word, it would be clarifying I am an incurable romantic nevertheless through the years I have adopted and a non romantic view of marriage relationships One of my wife s and my favorite sayings is, Nacimos para amarnos Loosely translated it means we were made for each other Part of me believes it was our destiny to meet and become life partners, that we were uniquely suited to each other But another part of me believes our relationship succeeded not because we each found that one and only person that we could be happy with, but rather because of God s Love and His influence in our lives, our commitment to Him and each other, and our willingness to change and sacrifice along the way The fact that my wife is an absolute angel is, of course, also a factor We are still very much in love but it s not anything like the cupid phenomenon that first drew us together So I have often mused on being in love and how that relates to present and future happiness in married life In many cases, it seems, people put too much emphasis on the romantic side of prospective relationships, and in others not enough C.S Lewis provides an excellent perspective on this issue, and the idea of balancing different considerations, in his Eros discussion. With clarity C.S Lewis outlines the four loves as he understands them As I read I recognized the roles these loves play, and have played, in my life and in the lives of those I know People and possible motives for their actions became apparent to me It is a book that captures reflections to share with the reader and allow them to create of the same Below is an excerpt that I wished to share There is no safe investment To love at all is to be vulnerable Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken If you want to make sure of keeeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries avoid all entanglements lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness But in that casket safe, dark, motionless, airless it will change It will not be broken it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeembale We shall draw nearer to God, not be trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him throwing away all defensive armour If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it. Simple straightforward observations on the 4 types of love Basic information that can enrich anyone s understanding of human relationships Listened to the only recording of the author himself via audiobook The four categories are Storge near relations , Philia friendship , Eros obvious , and Agape God These Greek concepts are nothing new But the parallels and clear examinations of human interaction Lewis writes about are timeless. The other works of C.S Lewis that I have been reading recently, tackle of the concept of Christianity Lewis, arguing in those works concepts that I agree with Namely that Christians aren t any moral than any other people, nor are they any spiritual after all there can be spiritual good and spiritual evil , but that Christianity is about returning the natural to the supernatural However, here in this work of non fiction, he chooses to discuss the topic of love.Love is one of those ideas that everyone believes they understand It is one of the most talked about topics in the world after all Lewis here attempts to show his readers that they know less about love, and that love is harder to discuss, than you would think He attempts to divide love into two initial categories Give Love and Need Love Need Love, Lewis claims, should not be seen as purely selfish, after all, humans are created with certain needs that are required to be lovingly met He does make the point however, that an imbalance of this Need Love is detrimental.He continues on to discuss four particular types of love which connect to these two categories storge, philia, eros and agape Or in modern terms affection, friendship, romance and charity Affection storge is family love, the humble love It is the love that you feel for people that you are close to, without it being erotic in nature It is here that Lewis first explores and notes that like with any love if you turn it into a god it becomes a devil Or, in other words, if you idolise aspects of this love, you turn it into something that curses you If I constantly give to others because of my affection, to the point where I am giving them things that they do not need I am smothering them It is this aspect of affection that Lewis criticises as Need Love Not to mention that affection is the type of love which many people take for granted, when, like any love it never is.Friendship philia is the love between brothers or sisters It, as Lewis, explores it, is the love which we turn into the idea of equality today and though writing decades ago, he even tackles this idea Friendship s goal is not to turn love into something that serves us to make others bow to our values and so on but is about finding the common ground between friends and it is this issue I have with equality that it trues to bend others to one side s values and ideals rather than finding the common ground The danger of friendship however, is that it can lead one to create separate friendship groups which ignore the point of friendship as love Romantic love eros is the sense of being in love Lewis separates this from purely being about sex by stating that he considers sex to be the Venus of erotic love This is interesting, because we have turned the word erotic into one which is laden with purely sexual undertones As Lewis points out however, lusty desire which is not love is desire which can be satisfied by any person who are sexually attracted to Eros on the other hand is the desire for ONE individual It is quite clear to see how eros as a love has been distorted by modern society I believe, yet Lewis also notes that eros can be dangerous in that it can be abused in a fixative sense that one can fixate themselves upon one person mindlessly.Finally we come to Charity, which is referenced in the Bible as agape though not by Lewis himself the greatest form of love This is spiritual love, the kind of love that God has towards us, and therefore is love in the sacrificial sense It is love without demanding anything in return, giving without receiving, and is therefore the highest goal of all other loves Together they are meant to work together towards, and with, charity in an individual s life.Though Lewis writes his book with a Christian worldview and with Christian audiences mainly in mind, this is one of the applicable of all Lewis books to a broad audience Within it, Lewis reveals the notion that love is not the single concept that we have turned it into And therefore, such arguments and excuses as but I love them can be turned on their head in the face of this realisation As said before, Lewis reveals that the aim of Christianity is to turn humanity towards becoming not naturally moral after all greed, gluttony and other vices are part of the natural order but supernaturally perfect To that end, this book serves to address how Christians should live with love and further what the aim of love should be. Though Lewis is a favorite writer of mine, this is the first time that I ve read this particular short volume, presenting his theological, moral, psychological and philosophical reflections on the human experience of the four kinds of love referred to by different Greek words in the New Testament One reviewer spoke of this as an apologetic, and indeed Lewis wrote many apologetic works, designed to make a rational case for Christianity for unbelieving readers However, this isn t one of them Here he s presupposing that the Bible and the Christian gospel are true, and writing to offer readers who share that view his insights into how, in the light of that truth, we should think about love in its various manifestations Non Christian readers would probably not be interested in that approach to the subject although, since all truth is God s truth, he draws his thoughts from a lifetime this was published three years before he died of observation of human beings, not simply from Scripture and theology It s also not a book that s designed to be a practical manual, laying down all sorts of rules for day to day conduct Rather, it s concerned with helping people to think about the subject rightly, in the consciousness that ideas have consequences for behavior The vocabulary and thought, as always in Lewis writing, is aimed at the ordinary intelligent layman it avoids jargon, and while it s profound, it s never pedantic.The six chapter structure of the book is simple and logical First, he introduces the subject of love in general in Chapter 1, moving beyond the facile labeling of gift love as invariably positive and need love as invariably inferior and negative, and expounding the idea that God is love and not the converse Chapter 2, by way of prolegomena, treats our Likings and Loves for the Sub human, including love of nature, and patriotism these aren t the types of love for personal beings spoken of in Scripture, but have a certain continuity with them Finally, he devotes a chapter to each of the loves addressed in Scripture the natural affection of family and close association freely conferred friendship Eros, or romantic love and charity Latin, caritas Greek, agape , the kind of unconditional, self giving love God has for us and desires us to have for Him and for each other.Simply recounting the chapter schema, however, doesn t reflect the variety and depth of insight here, and summarizing it in the limited space of a review wouldn t do it justice This is a meaty, pithy book to sink your intellectual and spiritual teeth into, and designed to make you think Even when you disagree with him and I do on one or two minor points , here as elsewhere, Lewis is always intellectually stimulating, and leads you to insights you wouldn t have come to without the interaction But what he proffers, he does so with a profound humility that commands my respect and admiration as much as his wisdom His was a first rate mind and it s always a privilege to read his work. I talk about how much I dislike Lewis and yet read two of his books in the space of a few days Hypocritical much If you enjoy Lewis continual didacticism, this is the book for you I found it hard to get through though I persevered due to sexist anachronisms women, as homemakers, cannot understand a man s world or thoughts and statements with which I vehemently disagree presented as facts don t get me started Admittedly, I don t read philosophy or dogma well, and this is both However, it is to Lewis credit though I m not sure how that I finished the book at all and actually started critically thinking about how much love I was putting into important relationships in my life and how I could do a better job of it The combination of a having a very high fever and reading The Great Divorce which I had read the day before was a one two punch against which I had no defense Lewis got through The Four Loves, C.S LewisThe Four Loves is a book by C S Lewis which explores the nature of love from a Christian and philosophical perspective through thought experiments The book was based on a set of radio talks from 1958 Taking his start from St John s words God is Love , Lewis initially thought to contrast Need love such as the love of a child for its mother and Gift love epitomized by God s love for humanity , to the disparagement of the former However he swiftly happened on the insight that the natures of even these basic categorizations of love are complicated than they at first seemed a child s need for parental comfort is a necessity, not a selfish indulgence, while conversely parental Gift love in excessive form can be a perversion of its own.The four loves Storge Empathy bondPhilios Friend bondPhilios Friend bondAgape Unconditional God love The four loves, C.S Lewis , San Diago A Harvest Book , 1991 1370 141p, ISBN 0156329301 1999 20. ^READ E-PUB ↝ The Four Loves ↟ The Four Loves Summarizes Four Kinds Of Human Love Affection, Friendship, Erotic Love, And The Love Of God Masterful Without Being Magisterial, This Book S Wise, Gentle, Candid Reflections On The Virtues And Dangers Of Love Draw On Sources From Jane Austen To St Augustine The Chapter On Charity Love Of God May Be The Best Thing Lewis Ever Wrote About Christianity Consider His Reflection On Augustine S Teaching That One Must Love Only God, Because Only God Is Eternal, And All Earthly Love Will Someday Pass Away Who Could Conceivably Begin To Love God On Such A Prudential Ground Because The Security So To Speak Is Better Who Could Even Include It Among The Grounds For Loving Would You Choose A Wife Or A Friend If It Comes To That, Would You Choose A Dog In This Spirit One Must Be Outside The World Of Love, Of All Loves, Before One Thus Calculates His Description Of Christianity Here Is No Less Forceful And Opinionated Than In Mere Christianity Or The Problem Of Pain, But It Is Far Less Anxious About Its Reader S Response And Therefore Persuasive Than Any Of His Apologetics When He Begins To Describe The Nature Of Faith, Lewis Writes Take It As One Man S Reverie, Almost One Man S Myth If Anything In It Is Useful To You, Use It If Anything Is Not, Never Give It A Second ThoughtMichael Joseph Gross