The scale of 10 stages of love is described by Jean‐Yves Leloup and Catherine Bensaid in their book “Qui aime quand je t’aime?” (éditions Albin Michel, 2005) and here below adopted and adapted by Jan into the multidimensional perception of love. It is a study on various types and degrees in which human beings love one another. Each of the ten stages is given a greek name.
In the very beginning, love is totally confused with the instinct for survival, the appetite, hunger, and thirst for sustenance, what the Greeks called pornéia. Deep in ourselves will always exist this child that wants “to eat its mother”: it is the very base of our sensuality. But a person who only knows this stage will not really become human.
In childhood and adolescence, this animalistic hunger gets amplified with erotic feelings and aesthetic pleasure that can take total delight out of the simple contemplation of the beauty of the loved one of the loved objects. This in-love-ness is eros. It is the stage where love gradually starts to evolve from immaturity towards maturity. Immature love considers the other as an object for one’s own satisfaction. Mature love recognizes and appreciates the other as the individual that he/she is. Immature love maintains the sense of lack, just like pothos (need for love) sustains possessiveness and pathé (passionate love) perpetuates seduction.
The whole perspective tilts with the emergence of tenderness (storgè in greek) that sees the other more and more as a free subject and accepts his/her differences. It is in this trend of decreasing selfishness one matures into philia, the friendship that takes joy in the fact that the other is happy, eunoia, the service one devotes naturally for the best of the other, and charis, the natural care that loves another without any condition.
The love of love
Maybe only a few humans reach this stage of agapè where one, by the mere fact of existing, radiates of love in all directions, just like the sun sheds its light on earth and all its creatures without any distinction. In this stage, it becomes clear that it is not really me who loves you, but it is Love that loves through me. This is no doubt a mystic perspective that is shared by many great traditions.
The 10 stages of maturity
Here the 10 aspects of love are considered as a gradual evolution from an instinctual survival over an egocentric gratification towards a more inclusive care of self with others to end up in an awakened state of universal love.
1. pornéia: hungry love: I will eat you – I love you like an animal
2. pothos: needy love: you are everything for me – I need you – I depend on you like a child
3. mania / pathè: passionate love: I love you passionately – I have you under my skin – you are mine and mine only – I love you like crazy – I can’t live without you
4. eros: erotic love: I desire you – you give me pleasure – you are beautiful – you are young
5. philia: friendship: I respect you – I admire you – I appreciate your differences – I feel good without you – I feel better with you – you are my best friend – I love being together with you – you make me feel all right
6. storgè: tenderness: I become a better version of myself when you are around – I feel a lot of affection and tenderness for you – I am happy when you are around
7. harmonia: harmonious love: what is life beautiful when one loves – we are good together – with you everything is like music – the world is prettier
8. charis: devotional love: I love taking care of you – I am in service of the best in you
9. eunoia: celebrated love: I love you because I love you – it is a joy – it is a grace to love and to love you – I love you without conditions – I love you for no reason
10. agapè: liberated love: the love that makes the universe move, that touches the human heart and other stars – it is not me loving you, but it is Love that loves through me.
The 10 love aspects and the 5 human dimensions
Here we don’t consider the 10 aspects of love in terms of stages of evolution but rather make an interpretation of how the facets of love manifest in the 5 dimensions of humanness, from the physical body over the personality, soul, and spirit into the core being.
The 10 love stages and the 7 subtle energy bodies
Here as well we don’t consider the 10 stages of love in terms of levels of evolution but rather as a section of the whole spectrum of human incarnation, from the physical body over the 7 subtle energy bodies into the core being.