The following speech was our President’s, Doug Pigg, winning entry in the International Speech Competition. Sadly due to family commitments, Doug is unable to compete at the Area Competition. Steve Richards and Dave Smith will be representing us on Sunday March 22nd at Sturminster Marshall Golf Club.
LOVE is all around you, but what does love mean to you?
Over the next few minutes I’m going to wrestle with that question as I guide you through the emotional labyrinth that we call LOVE.
The English Language won’t help us much on this journey of discovery because – for the Grammarians amongst you – love is an abstract noun, a word that is obviously unattached to anything real or sensible.
I chose this topic after an evening’s discussion at The Portland Philosophy Café. We spent two enjoyable hours debating the meaning of love. Philosophers have been analysing it for 2500 years without reaching a definitive conclusion.
Plato’s view of love was that it is chaste and non-sexual, a love that is defined by the loveliness of the other person inspiring the soul – today we call it Platonic Love.
Aristotle’s, one of my heroes, view of love was more secular describing it as ‘two bodies and one soul’. For Aristotle, the body and soul were unified in the same way that a piece of wax with an impression stamped on it are unified – if the body dies, or as the wax melts, so does the impression of the soul.
The English language seeks to give to love some sense of meaning by embellishing it with the three Greek terms – Eros, Philia and Agape.
For Eros read Erotic – that part of love which is associated with an intense desire for something. The Greeks thought that this was a base, common and animalistic form of love. Do you agree? Is it black and white; or more like 50 Shades of Grey?
For Philia read Filial, – a deep fondness and appreciation of someone. Filial love is not just about family, it can extend to our pals, our politics and our profession. My pal Aristotle’s view was that the basis of filial love is our own happiness and for that he argued that you need to love yourself . That means look in the mirror and try and see what your mother sees!
Agape love is more complicated. Essentially it is about the love for a God (or a football team), BUT it can extend to include a love of all humanity. Agape love seeks to be a perfect kind of love that can be one way without the need for any return of affection. Of course my mate Aristotle argued that universal love was logically empty. If love is an excess of feeling towards one person then you can’t truly love everybody.
Well that’s dealt with the Greek Philosophers view of love, so let’s move on to the modern world of romanticised love. A world where the classical notion of love has been debased by commercialism and social media – Or has it?
Advertising sets out to induce within us that base, intense desire for things (Think Eros). It plays upon our emotions, directly influencing the choices that we all make. Unfortunately, beauty is often the main driver.
The world of fashion can improve our self-image, our ego, and our confidence in relationships with others (Think Philia). On the other hand, it can lead to an unquestioning fan worship (Think Agape).
Social Media supports filial love. Many displaced families regularly stay in touch through the internet. However, this virtual world of two-dimensional communication can hide many of the emotional and physical clues that our subconscious uses to tell us the true feelings that someone has for us.
Today Fundamentalism is always in the news. It promotes a love of God that demands absolute devotion, awe and a desire that transcends earthly cares and obstacles. For some, this provides a simplicity of life and a certainty of love that appears to be missing from their perception of the modern world.
We are now at the end of our short journey through the emotional labyrinth that we call love. Hopefully, like me, love is no longer all Greek to you and you are a little wiser in your understanding of the love that is all around you
I leave you with a reminder to Love Yourself as a way of bringing you happiness and also to bring your own true love within ‘two bodies and one soul’
| Competitors in the Club Contest for International Speech and Evaluations