Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

 Éros is the sensual love and desire, romantic love we feel for a boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.

Philia is the brotherly/sisterly love we feel for our friends and family. It means friendship in modern Greek.

Agápe is the unconditional love we can feel for humanity and human kind, used in ancient texts to denote feelings for a good meal, one's children, and the feelings for a spouse.

In the good old days, we called this The Golden Rule, yet this notion crosses many faiths, and is discussed in many of them in official teachings. It is discussed in the philosophies of ancient India, Greece, Judea and China. It exists in both positive ('Do to others what you would like to be done to you') and negative forms ('Do not do to others what you would not like to be done to you').

To my mind, this is a day upon which to reflect what you have done for others, not for yourself, if you at all doubt your purpose in this world. This is the day, in my classrooms, when we would talk about these types of love. In elementary school, there was often much jeering and teasing around the issue of sexual proclivities, and I tried to direct our attitudes and discussions towards another direction: the Ethic of Reciprocity.

In my classrooms we would celebrate Random Acts of Kindness week. In this way, we turned our attitudes around not towards, what are you going to do for me, but what will I do for others?

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