The Four Loves: Affection

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I have been reading The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. In this work, Lewis desires to define love and distinguish between types. He claims that there are four types: Affection, Friendship, Eros, and Charity. Before diving into these four, he defines his purpose in writing the book, as well as prefacing his investigation with pointing out the difference between Need-love and Gift-love, as well as defining pleasures. I recently finished the chapter on Affection. The Greek word for this love is storge. The following passage stood out to me:

Affection produces happiness if – and only if – there is common sense and give and take and “decency.” In other words, only if something more, and other, than Affection is added. The mere feeling is not enough. You need “common sense,” that is, reason. You need “give and take”; that is, you need justice, continually stimulating mere Affection when it fades and restraining when it forgets or would defy the art of love. You need “decency.” There is no disguising the fact that this means goodness; patience, self-denial, humility, and the continual intervention of a far higher sort of love than Affection, in itself, can ever be. That is the whole point. If we try to live by Affection alone, Affection will “go bad on us.” (pp. 160-161)

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Love, having become a god, becomes a demon. (p. 161)

Lewis does not put Affection to shame. Affection seems needed in all of the other loves (but I haven’t read those chapters as of yet). But mere affection is not enough. Not enough for what? Affection is not sufficient for real love. I don’t mean real love as in what you see in a romantic comedy. I am talking about true, sacrificial love–what I expect to read about in Lewis’ last chapter on Charity (the Greek word for this love is agape). Affection cannot be the end of the story, because there is rampant selfishness and idolatry in Affection (when it is by itself). We are striving to reach something more than this, but Affection is nevertheless required for what we are striving for. Affection is necessary, but not sufficient.

————

Friendship

Eros

Charity

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One thought on “The Four Loves: Affection

  1. Pingback: The Four Loves: Friendship | Lankford Press

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