This question was asked by Ken Gallinger in his column, Ethically Speaking, in the Toronto Star on November 25th. Ken describes the four kinds of love this way in part:
Eros: a lusty melange of heart and hormones, and highly conditional
Mania: short lived and obsessive (as in “I love chocolate”)
Phileo: this form of love, when expressed between parents and their kids, for example can be quite powerful – but it’s ultimately based on feelings and feelings are forever fragile.
Agape: unconditional love. And Ken describes it this way…Agape is not based on emotion, passion or possession. It is based on conscious decision, a unilateral choice that only the “lover” can make. Agape sounds like this: “No matter what you do, no matter whether I like you or hate you at this particular moment, I will always do what I believe is best for you.” Agape is unconditional love. It is “the love that will not let you go. It can be excruciatingly painful. Agape is tough love, rooted neither in passion nor affection, but rather in sheer determination to do what is just and right; it allows for no conditions. As such Agape is the foundation of every ethical decision, and a thing of great beauty.
Ken’s column is definitely worth the read.
Is unconditional love a myth? I don’t think so. If it was many of us would not experience it in all its beauty and heartache.