Essay on Love: Historical Approach


In this essay on love, PurEssay team will let you know how the perception of this notion evolved over time. The philosophical and anthropological problem of love emerged long ago, in ancient times. Each epoch had its philosophers, psychologists, sociologists and other scientific minds who concerned themselves with love. Probably this is the most interesting and popular subjects in the history of philosophy. Almost every thinker at least once tried to define or explain love. This issue is still topical even in the modern world, and now we will get to it.

When giving love definition, we find it appropriate to turn to an explanatory dictionary. Modern lexicographers explain love as a feeling of affection, but also as attraction that provokes sexual desire. The philosophy of love was seen differently in every period of human development, depending on historical and cultural environment. Let’s first of all try to classify our understanding of love and find out what types of it we can name.

Types of love

The history of love has several approaches to classifying this concept. Some people in their essays on love suggest dividing it into elevated and low. Other scientists single out different types of love, depending on its recipient: sexual love, paternal love, patriotic love, love for God and so on.

We suggest one more variant of classification, which is based on the specifics of a relationship between two subjects:

  • Selfish love – one person does not acknowledge the importance of the other and is eager to fulfill only his own needs.

  • Altruistic love – the willingness to give up your own interests for the sake of your loved one.

  • The love in between, which presents the golden mean, implying that both people present equal value in a relationship and are eager to live for each other. This type of love is ideal as it leads to harmony and a natural state of human soul.

Origins of love

The origin of love presents a highly disputable question. There exist a lot of points of view as to the moment when love first appeared. In our short essay about love, we will stick to the opinion that love appeared together with human race because a human always needed communication and close relationships with similar beings. Love originated as a result of socialization of instincts: instinct of self-preservation, which in a way united people, and reproductive instinct, together with maternal feelings, which established certain emotional closeness.

But only mentality could predetermine what kind of love it was. It depended on people’s values, social patterns, understanding of themselves and other human beings. As a human evolved psychologically, love acquired new complicated features and got new forms and their theoretic explanation. This process is indefinite because human evolution still goes on.

Love in ancient Greece

Our writing company finds it necessary to look for some answers in the culture of ancient Greece. During the earliest period, human feelings were mostly connected with instincts, and love was not a distinct phenomenon. However, classical antiquity brings exactly this understanding of love. People start marking out this feeling among instincts and even begin to fear it. The god Eros appears on stage; he is an unpredictable and demanding god, who evokes fear in other people and even other gods. In addition to Eros, there were more gods of love in Greek mythology who played significant roles as well.

Many essays about love point out that an individuality was considered as a part of society back then, that is why individual interests were strongly bound to public ones. Later such an attitude fades away, and people start getting interested in their own feelings and psychological conditions. It results in emergence of lyric poetry, which becomes the leading branch of poetry. Love is divided into the low, rude Aphrodite Pandemos and the heavenly Aphrodite Urania. The final goal of love was to gain immortality either by worshipping Aphrodite Pandemos and giving birth to children or by worshipping Aphrodite Urania and practicing intellectual work.

Ancient Greeks’ first priority was exploring the world, and only after that they put childbirth. As women were not fit for philosophy, marriage only distracted their husbands from thinking. But two men could achieve much more together, that is why Aristotle believed that love was equal to friendship.

Love in Middle Ages

In Middle Ages love completely conformed to religion. If ancient Greeks followed the principle of aesthetics, medieval society switched to the principle of morality. Such concepts as sympathy, kindness and mercy became topical and characteristic of that period.

What is more important, love changed its direction from a certain person to the whole humanity. Any medieval essay about love states that love towards God is the only true love, while chastity is the only virtue. When it comes to Christianity, it severely condemns relationships outside a family and treat corporal interests as low and sinful.

Love during Renaissance

Renaissance puts together all the previous opinions and gives birth to numerous treatises, in which humanism occupies the most important place, while love is just a simple human feeling. An idea that any other love is a result of love towards yourself starts gaining popularity. Neo-Platonism develops, too, with its supporters relying on Plato’s theories.

Modern approach

As for modern love essays, they give us distressing warnings. Violence and hatred seem to oppress love in our modern culture. Industrial society is focused on consumerism; mass production and new technologies lead to a more rationalized lifestyle. These circumstances give fertile soil to the so-called consumer love, whose characteristic features are limited to low sexual culture and lack of gentleness.

Some scientists believe that the future of love will be rational and deprived of emotions. Such prognoses are dangerous to our society because mechanized relationships between people speak of inhumanity. That is why many countries support organizations and movements that promote traditional family values.

So, in this article, PurEssay gave the definition of love, enumerated its main types and explained to you how the notion of love has evolved over time. Our writers can create a similar essay for your academic needs or to write a work on any given topic. PurEssay offers only quality writing from professionals in this field. Our services make your academic life easy and productive.

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