Breaking the word philanthropy down into its Greek origin becomes, “to love human beings.” Ancient Greece had four different words to describe love: philia, eros, storge, and agape. The first syllable in philanthropy translates as, “brotherly love.”
Valentine’s Day is fraught with various emotions for those who are not currently experiencing eros love. Yet, many understand they still have love in non-romantic ways. Too much emphasis is placed on eros love in movies and television. It seems the most fickle of all the loves, though.
Turning Valentine’s Day into a celebration of the four loves would bring more people together to simply enjoy love in all of its forms. Storge describes family love, such as between parents and grandparents. Agape, with its Christian origins, celebrates God’s unconditional love. The four loves are distinct, yet similar in their power and affect. Agape combines all the other loves and is believed to be the most powerful—not eros love.
Celebrating today by small acts of kindness for a family member, a stranger, or a lover, will fulfill an act of agape love. As famous twentieth century Christian author C.S. Lewis writes, “there is another way of giving to God; every stranger whom we feed or clothe.” Giving unconditional love to yourself and to others is empowering and has the ability to change our world.
Giving the amazing acceptance of unconditional love will create more joy and positive energy in our world. We all need this type of love. Feeling valued, cherished, appreciated, and cared for by everyday pleasantries and kindness, volunteering and simple acts of service, and charitable donations—even if you don’t have millions—will transform our world. Truly, there is no other answer to solving the world’s answers than love.
If celebrating friendship (phila), charity (agape), and communal affection (storge) is your idea of a party, then join me to continue to spread the message of creating and accelerating more brotherly love on earth.