January 16, 2014
Discussion on CS Lewis, The Four Loves
• Provides a taxonomy on the nature of love
• Makes distinctions, convergences, and discontinuities in Love
• Has Aristotelian aspects
GiftLove and NeedLove
• GiftLove giving to another for the sake of the other
o Example: God gives himself to his son
o There are times when one gives love as a gift but also has a need to do so
Example: mother cat gives her kittens milk but must so that they
survive and so she feels loved.
• NeedLove : Based on sustenance or relies on someone else intellectually, socially,
o Example: The way a child needs his mother
o Lewis initially thought NeedLove was negative, but it is not necessarily
wholly negative because need is not selfish
This is the mark of an egoist, when one rejects the idea that he or
she has needs
• There are many levels of love, selfsacrificial being the highest and most superior
• There is a paradox between these which Lewis states
o “Man approaches God most nearly when he is one sense least like God.”
o Parallels to Dependence vs. freedom
Not necessarily opposed because they change over time.
The more we live into our dependence the nearer to God we
A creature is a dependent entity fundamentally; we are
ontologically dependent (Ontos means being).
• God creates creatures because he freely wills them to be,
not because he needs them (GiftLove).
• The creature depends on God for being, God does not
depend on his creatures for being.
o To understand the Paradox using a different set of language
The ego, or false self, thinks it is in control of everything, but the
true self lets go of the ego and realizes it can depend on others
We are closest to God when we let go of the false self and show a
willing dependence on God.
We can be defensive or open and when we are open we are more
o A result of this paradox can be that others take advantage of and oppress