Archives for March 2009

The three forms of love: Eros, Philos, Agape

Paulo Coelho

[…]

The band struck up a waltz. People moved to a small paved area in front of the band-stand to dance. The alcohol began to show its effect and they all became merrier and drenched in sweat. I noticed a girl dressed in blue who must have been waiting for this wedding just for the moment of the waltz to arrive because she wanted to dance with someone she had dreamed of embracing ever since she entered adolescence. Her eyes followed the movements of a young man, well dressed in a light-colored suit, who was sitting with a bunch of friends. They were talking away merrily, they had not noticed that the waltz had started, nor had they noticed that a few yards away a girl in blue was staring at one of them.

I thought of small towns, of marriages with the chosen boy, dreamed of ever since childhood.

The girl in blue noticed me looking at her and moved away. And as if the whole movement had been rehearsed, now it was the boy’s turn to seek her out with his eyes. Discovering that she was close to other girls, he went back to his lively conversation with his friends.

I drew Petrus’s attention to the two of them. He watched them exchanging glances for a while and then returned to his glass of wine.

“They act as if it were something shameful to demonstrate that they love one another,” was his only remark.

Another girl was staring at us, she must have been half our age. Petrus raised his glass, made a toast, the girl laughed in embarrassment and made a gesture pointing towards her parents almost in apology at not coming closer.

“That’s the beautiful side of love,” he said. “Love that challenges, love for two older strangers who have come from afar and tomorrow will already have parted down a road that she too would like to travel. The love that prefers adventure.”

Then he continued, pointing to an elderly couple:

“Look at those two: they haven’t let themselves be affected by hypocrisy, like so many others. They look like they are a couple of farm workers: hunger and need have obliged them to overcome many a difficulty together. They have discovered love through work, which is where Eros shows his most beautiful face, also known as Philos.”

“What’s Philos?”

“Philos is love in the form of friendship. It’s what I feel for you and others. When the flame of Eros no longer able to shine, it’s Philos who keeps couples together.”

“And what about Agape?”

Tomorrow Agape will be posted here

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Image of the Day : Political Cartoon

Quote of the Day

Paulo Coelho

Anything a man does can bring him closer to the Supreme Wisdom, as long as he works with Love in his heart.
(Brida)

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Today’s question by the reader : Sylvia

What is more important to be loved or to love?

Dear Sylvia,
I think that if you could only choose one solution”: the best is to love. When you are in love, you live this miracle and you feel this strength.
On the other hand – to be loved – without the counterpart of loving is unbearable.
Your question though reminded me of a song by a very famous Brazilian singer: Roberto Carlos – “I will only love someone who loves be back”. This in my view is the perfect configuration.

The three forms of love: Eros, Philos, Agape

Paulo Coelho

In 1986, when I was on the road to Santiago with my guide Petrus, we passed through the city of Logroño while a wedding was taking place. We ordered two glasses of wine, I prepared something to nibble on, and Petrus discovered a table where we could sit down together with the other guests.

The wedding couple cut an immense cake.

“They must love one another,” I thought aloud.

“Of course they love one another,” said a man in a dark suit sitting at our table. Have you ever seen anyone get married for any another reason?”

But Petrus did not let the question go unanswered:

“What type of love do you mean: Eros, Philos or Agape?”

The man looked at him without understanding a word.

“There are three words in Greek to designate love,” Petrus said. “Today you are seeing the manifestation of Eros, that sentiment between two persons.”

The bride and groom smiled for the cameras and received compliments from the guests.

“The two seem to love one another. In a short time they will be fighting alone for life, establishing themselves in a house and taking part in the same adventure: that’s what makes love grand and dignified. He will pursue his career, she probably knows how to cook and will make an excellent housewife because since she was a little girl she was brought up to do that. She will accompany him, they will have children and they will manage to build something together, they will be happy for ever.”

“Al of a sudden, however, this story could happen the other way around. He is going to feel that he is not free enough to show all the Eros, all the love that he has for other women. She may begin to feel that she has sacrificed a career and a brilliant life to accompany her husband. So, instead of creating together, each of them will feel robbed in their way of loving. Eros, the spirit that joins them, will start to display only his bad side. And what God had meant to be man’s most noble sentiment will begin to be a source of hatred and destruction.”

I looked around me. Eros was present in many couples. But I could sense the presence of Eros the Good and Eros the Evil, just like Petrus had described.

“Notice how odd it is,” continued my guide. “Despite being good or bad, the face of Eros is never the same in all persons.”

Tomorrow, the second form of love – Philos – will be published here.

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My Favorite Artists: Rodin

Quote of the Day

Paulo Coelho

It is unnecessary to talk about Love, because love has its own voice and can speak for itself.
(The Pilgrimage)

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Today’s question by the reader : Catherine

I would be interested to know what one word you yourself could use to describe the common thread that links all your images of the day.

The common tread that links all the images of the day is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes not revealing the Ariadne’s thread leads us towards a much richer maze.

Timeshifting – Part 2

Paulo Coelho
[…]

Deal with experiences in more depth: a study on the visitors to the National Zoo in Washington showed that the average time that people spend looking at an animal show is less than ten seconds. So why go to the zoo? Better just to leaf through a book with photographs, right? A guide explained to me that people complain that the hippopotamuses are always under the water, but as a matter of fact the average length of submersion is between 90 seconds and a maximum of five minutes – so, the urge to rush ahead is what makes the visitors miss all the enjoyment.

Knowing when to reflect or act: a patient of mine with an obesity problem said she was prepared to do anything to get better. I asked her, whenever she felt the urge to eat, to observe the feeling and not act. “But I feel hungry!” she answered. “Exactly,” was my comment. “If you can manage to live with that feeling, observe the hunger, let it come in all its intensity, suffer occasionally – but without acting – soon you will manage to attenuate the anxiety and you will the master of your will rather than the slave of your impulses.”

Acting in the face of negative emotions: when we sit down on the sofa, we turn on the television (which is actually a way to “turn off” from the world). Or else we grow very anxious, feel we are wasting time, that we need to call someone, do gymnastics, tidy up the house. Why? Because if we stay quiet, all the wave of repressed emotions will assail us, depress us, leave us feeling sad or guilty. But the more we “keep busy” the more these emotions pile up, until one day we run the risk of seeing them explode out of control.

Yes, we all have our problems, which have to be faced – why not do this today? Stop. Think. Maybe suffer a little. But in the end, understand who we are, what we feel, what we are doing here at this very moment – instead of wanting to determine the Agenda of Life.

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My Favorite Painters – Matisse

Henri Matisse

Quote of the Day

Paulo Coelho

All suffering goes just as it came. So it is with the glories and tragedies of the world.
(The Fifth Mountain)

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Today’s Question by the reader : Juan

My question to you is : What you say about those like me who are workaholics and have a need to keep striving for acknowledgements for others instead of self-fulfillment?

Dear Juan,
Being a workaholic myself, the only solution I found was allying my work with my mission. It was a very long process, but becoming a writer helped me a lot in achieving this fragile equilibrium.

Guardian interview

Some people see you as a guru. Do you accept that?

Of course not.

Is it flattering?

No. It’s totally out of reality.

Are you a political writer?

Everybody is a political person, whether you say something or you are silent. A political attitude is not whether you go to parliament, it’s how you deal with your life, with your surroundings. I am at least giving the readers the sense they are not alone. But instead of trying to answer the question, “What is the meaning of life?” I try to give some meaning to my life.

When you were 17 your parents had you committed to an asylum.

Yes, three times, and also I was in jail three times, but I never saw myself as a victim. This is part of my journey. My parents wanted me to follow their dreams, not my dreams, and the simple fact that I didn’t accept that does not make me a criminal or an outcast. I thought, “One day I will write about it,” and I did. I wrote Veronica Decides to Die, and the book was about this: accept your differences and this is how you make a difference.

You can listen 3 minutes of the interview by clicking here.

Or you can read the whole interview by clicking here.

Your Space in my Blog: 25th of March 2009

This space is for you to share your ideas on anything that you consider relevant today.

You can publish here excerpts from your blogs or news and articles in general that you think make a difference to the world today. Try to make a bit of editing on what you post here – try to highlight passages with copy-paste, rather than simply giving links.

Please keep in mind that this blog is currently viewed by 230.000 unique visitors a month, and chances are that many of them are going to read your thoughts.

Your Space in my Blog: 24th of March 2009

This space is for you to share your ideas on anything that you consider relevant today.

You can publish here excerpts from your blogs or news and articles in general that you think make a difference to the world today. Try to make a bit of editing on what you post here – try to highlight passages with copy-paste, rather than simply giving links.

Please keep in mind that this blog is currently viewed by 230.000 unique visitors a month, and chances are that many of them are going to read your thoughts.

My Favorite Painters – Georgia O’Keefe

Georgia OKeefe

Quote of the Day

Paulo Coelho

When you travel towards your objective, be sure to pay attention to the path. The path teaches us the best way to arrive.
(The Pilgrimage)

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