Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Love Pyramid

In my previous post, I pontificated over the definition of love. In this post, I'd like to build a love pyramid. At the top of the pyramid are those for whom you have the least amount of "Love". At the bottom of the pyramid are those for whom you have the most love.

1. Strangers - When we donate to charities, we are showing love for strangers. God commands us to love even our enemies. However, if asked to loan a stranger $100, most of us would say no.
2. Aquaintances - Typically, we have more love for aquaintances than for strangers. This is why news channels work so hard to make a connection between the subjects of their stories and the average news watcher. It pushes the love meter up a notch :-)
3. Friends - Most people have many "friends". These are not close friends, but people who you would feel comfortable talking to at a party. You usually know whether or not they are married, their wives names, kids names, etc... Most people would be taken aback by a friend looking for money, but many would loan it to them anyway.
4. Flirtations - A flirtation is a member of the opposite (hopefully) sex that you think has attractive qualities. Typically, this person is more important to you than your casual friends.
5. Confidant - A close friend that you trust. At this level you are willing to donate time and money when the friend needs it.
6. Girl/Boy friend - Often closer than your confidants. Your girl/boy friend is one you are evaluating for a potential move down the pyramid. This relationship is the beginning of the path to true Love.
7. Infatuation - After a certain point, the girl/boy friend becomes an infatuation. The infatuation demands a large amount of time and resources for both parties.
8. Parental - The parental relationship is often complicated, but is one of the strongest bonds, if it is made. The parent does not have to be biological or legal, but could be an older mentor.
9. Familial - A familial bond is the closest human relationship other than the soul mate. Typically, this is the first level where you would sacrifice yourself for the other. It is most often between a brother/sister (though not necessarily biological) or between a parent and thier child.
10. Soul mate - The soul mate relationship, when made, is stronger than even the familial relationship. At this point, you are living for the other person. This is not servatude towards the other, but a healthy interactive relationship where one is dedicated to helping the other.
11. Supernatural - The supernatural Love is between God and you. Like the soul mate, the supernatural relationship is one that must be of total dedication. Unlike the soul mate Love, the supernatural love must be one of unconditional surrender. Where "Do it if you love me" doesn't hold water in the soul mate relationship, it is paramount to the supernatural one.

Each of these stages of Love is dynamic. People may enter or leave any of these stages at any time (except Supernatural, it is static). Obviously, some levels may be unfilled - a person may not have yet found their soul mate, or they may not have any familial relationships.

Over time, we will delve deeper into each of these and find out signs and symptoms of each one.

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