Peace Center, Dorchester, April 2007
a secret or illicit love affair or lover.
Middle English (originally in the sense of love or affection): via Old French from Latin amor ‘love.’ The current sense dates from the late 16th century.
1 Greek Mythology the god of love, son of Aphrodite. Roman equivalent Cupid .
sexual love or desire.
(in Freudian theory) the life instinct. Often contrasted with Thanatos .
(in Jungian psychology) the principle of personal relatedness in human activities, associated with the anima. Often contrasted with Logos .
2 Astronomy asteroid 433, discovered in 1898, which comes at times nearer to the earth than any celestial body except the moon.
Latin, from Greek, literally ‘sexual love.’
a friendly relationship
late Middle English: from Old French amitie, based on Latin amicus ‘friend.’
Christian love, especially as distinct from erotic love or emotional affection.
a communal meal in token of Christian fellowship, as held by early Christians in commemoration of the Last Supper.
early 17th century, from Greek agap_ ‘selfless love.’
or unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another, as
—from the Macintosh Dictionary
Buddhist Sister Clare Carter with a bereaved mother in Dorchester Massachusetts, April 2007, Walk for a New Spring
The Greek language, as I’ve said so often before, is very powerful at this point. It comes to our aid beautifully in giving us the real meaning and depth of the whole philosophy of love. And I think it is quite apropos at this point, for you see the Greek language has three words for love, interestingly enough. It talks about love as eros. That’s one word for love. Eros is a sort of, aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialogues, a sort of yearning of the soul for the realm of the gods. And it’s come to us to be a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love. Everybody has experienced eros in all of its beauty when you find some individual that is attractive to you and that you pour out all of your like and your love on that individual. That is eros, you see, and it’s a powerful, beautiful love that is given to us through all of the beauty of literature; we read about it.
Then the Greek language talks about philia, and that’s another type of love that’s also beautiful. It is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. And this is the type of love that you have for those persons that you’re friendly with, your intimate friends, or people that you call on the telephone and you go by to have dinner with, and your roommate in college and that type of thing. It’s a sort of reciprocal love. On this level, you like a person because that person likes you. You love on this level, because you are loved. You love on this level, because there’s something about the person you love that is likeable to you. This too is a beautiful love. You can communicate with a person; you have certain things in common; you like to do things together. This is philia.
The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men (sic), not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.
—Martin Luther King, Loving Your Enemies
Since I received your letter a few days ago I’ve been writing to you in my imagination, allowing the letter to write itself in my mind and heart. As if you are with me and I am speaking with you. So it is, pouring out. I hope it is not too long for you, taxing you with my peculiar and idiosyncratic English.
Quoting you, “’loin des yeux, loin du coeur’” (far from the eyes, far from the heart), but I don’t think it’s always true.”
I have a response: “Cor ad cor loquitur.” Heart speaks to heart. And I think it can be made to be true. That is, in writing to you I attempt to let my heart speak to your heart, and hope I can hear your heart speaking to mine. (The quote comes from Cardinal John Henry Newman.)
I’m pleased you like the word musing. Here’s what my dictionary says about its derivation: “from Old French, muser, to sniff around, cast about for a scent.” Do you know the word in French? For me personally, the muses are fictional but real beings that I thank regularly throughout the day for their assistance to my work. I occasionally invite them into a special project. I picture them as wisps, flickerings, slight breezes, darting and dashing about joyously, often giggling. The words museum and music and amusement derive from them. The Greeks apparently believed they were the 9 daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. The Greeks thought the muses were spirits or powers that could inspire and protect poets, musicians, and other artists. They are my lifeline to the creative spirit.
Joey with Cid, Brooklyn, July 2007
Jerusalem…when I mention the name, I see the white Jerusalem of summer when the brightness is blinding and the nearly cruel light is thrown at you from every stone. I see Jerusalem in the rays of twilight—neither orange nor pink nor purple—which embrace the surrounding mountains and caress its house of stone…It is hard to describe Jerusalem in words. One has got to feel it. Jerusalem is the source. It is the heart and the spirit, the soul and the oversoul.
—Aliza Auerbach, quoted in Cornell Capa’s Jerusalem: City of Mankind