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The Four Loves Hardcover – November 7, 1991
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Who could conceivably begin to love God on such a prudential ground--because the security (so to speak) is better? Who could even include it among the grounds for loving? Would you choose a wife or a Friend--if it comes to that, would you choose a dog--in this spirit? One must be outside the world of love, of all loves, before one thus calculates.His description of Christianity here is no less forceful and opinionated than in Mere Christianity or The Problem of Pain, but it is far less anxious about its reader's response--and therefore more persuasive than any of his apologetics. When he begins to describe the nature of faith, Lewis writes: "Take it as one man's reverie, almost one man's myth. If anything in it is useful to you, use it; if anything is not, never give it a second thought." --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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And so, once more, C.S. Lewis has changed my thought on a broad portion of life. He's done it to me before--the Narnian Books, Mere Christianity, An Experiment In Criticism--have all been books that have greatly shaped me. Now I can add the Four Loves to the list.
One does not often sit down and ponder the different kinds of love. One may have generalized "loved ones" such as family and friends, we may "love" certain activities or places, we may even say we are "in love" ... but do we stop to consider our words?
Lewis spends time surveying the lay of love's different lands. Building on blocks of seemingly deepening emotion, he moves from looking at affection to friendship to erotic love (Eros) to the love of God (Agape). Each is looked at in detail, their meaning and impact on life is explored.
The most helpful thing about this book is that Lewis allows the reader to think about how they deal with their own loves in life. Does one stress a certain kind of love in an unhealthy way? Do we ignore the possibilities of one love because another kind holds too much sway in our lives?
I believe Lewis makes the case that God's love should be primary in the lives of humans. The other loves, though they can be wonderful in their place, can be used unnaturally and ineffectively to try and fill in for Agape if it is not felt. A healthy life will involve all four loves. Yet they must be rooted and grounded in Agape.
My own favorite passage in this book is in the friendship section.Read more ›
He desribed storge as the kind of love we have for people whome we spend a lot of time with, but whom with we do not necessarily have a lot in common with. For example, if you have a sibling whom you do not share many interests with but whom you love nonetheless, it is probably storge. These are people whom you probably would not be friends with if you were not related to or neighbors to these people. Lewis notes that these are people we often do not really realize how much we loved until they are gone (or until we realize that they are those kind of people to us).
He had an amazing chapter on phileo and the gift of friendship as well. I won't go into much detail so that you can enjoy it more when you actually get around to reading it. Let me just say that it made me appreciate my friends much more, and changed my views on what a friend is. He had the amazing insight that each friend brings out a different part of you. He noted that his friendship with J. R. Tolkien was not quite the same after Charles Williams died, because Williams brought out parts of Tokien that Lewis did not. Very insightful.
Lewis' discussion of eros was very insightful as well. He discussed the nature of romantic love, and what romantic love looks like in a marriage. His main point seemed to be that eros loves the other person, and does not try to make the other person become more like himself.Read more ›
Lewis counters that kind of thinking. Love is vulnerable, and you will get hurt, he says, and the only place you can fully escape from the "dangers and perturbations" of love is in Hell.
This book helped me, and I hope it will help you, to break free from the mindset of seeking to avoid hurt in relationships, and replace it with a desire to truly love other people.
We can never entirely avoid hurt or pain in relationships, but if we approach relationships with the mindset of avoiding pain, we will never experience the joy of true love.
This book's scope is not limited to one kind of relationship. It is the "Four Loves," after all. Four kinds of love...affection, friendship, eros, and charity.
Lewis truly goes through the whole gamut of love. He covers what he calls the "likings and loves for the sub-human" (like a pet), simple affection for other people and family, the love that friends share, romantic love, and then God's love--the fullest expression of love.
I think perhaps this is one of the best books on love and relationships (for the two are inexplicably bound up in each other) that I have ever read. I don't think you will be able to read this book without being changed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am using this book this semester at La Salle University for my Philosophy course and this book is easy to read. And the price wasn't too bad.Published 22 hours ago by Elsa J. Astacio
What can I say? It's a combination of deep philosophy and vigorous good humor.Published 4 days ago by Philip Epling
I would recommend Ralph Waldo Emerson's works on the subject, especially Emerson's writing on "friendship" compare with Lewis's.Published 6 days ago by Mary S. Whistler
A masterly disentangling of the various levels of love. Christian viewpoint but can be read by a non-Christian - the logic is sound.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
Lewis is once again on point in his incredibly concise writing. He appeals to the mind while at the same time hitting the heart. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Ben Breit