What does Epicurus say about love?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

Epicurus, the ancient Greek philosopher, had a unique perspective on love. According to him, love is a form of madness that can have negative consequences for both the lover and the beloved. He rejected the idea of romantic love and viewed it as a destructive and obsessive desire.

Epicurus believed that love is a passionate and intense emotion, focused on and projected onto a specific individual. This intense desire can consume a person’s thoughts and actions, leading to irrational behavior and a loss of control. It can become an obsession that takes over one’s life, causing distress and unhappiness.

The philosopher argued that this kind of love is detrimental to both the lover and the beloved. For the lover, it can lead to anxiety, jealousy, and possessiveness. The intense desire for the beloved can create a constant state of longing and suffering. The lover becomes dependent on the beloved for their own happiness and well-being, which can be emotionally exhausting.

On the other hand, the beloved can also suffer as a result of this intense love. They may feel overwhelmed by the constant attention and expectations placed upon them. They may also feel trapped and suffocated by the lover’s obsessive behavior. This can lead to a strained and unhealthy relationship, devoid of true happiness and contentment.

Epicurus advocated for a different kind of love, one that is based on friendship and mutual respect. He believed that true happiness and fulfillment can be found in the company of friends who share common values and interests. This kind of love is free from the intense desires and possessiveness associated with romantic love.

In my own experiences, I have witnessed the destructive nature of intense and obsessive love. I have seen friends and acquaintances become consumed by their desire for another person, losing sight of their own well-being in the process. I have also seen relationships suffer due to the overwhelming expectations and possessiveness that can accompany romantic love.

However, I have also experienced the beauty and joy of friendship-based love. The companionship and support of true friends have brought me a sense of contentment and happiness that is free from the anxieties and pitfalls of romantic love. It is a love that is based on mutual respect, understanding, and shared experiences.

Epicurus rejected the idea of romantic love as a destructive and obsessive desire. He believed that it has deleterious effects on both the lover and the beloved. Instead, he promoted a love based on friendship and mutual respect as the path to true happiness and fulfillment. My own experiences align with this perspective, as I have seen the negative consequences of intense love and the benefits of friendship-based love.