For example, compassionate outreach and volunteer workers' "love" of their cause may sometimes be born not of interpersonal love but impersonal love, altruism, and strong spiritual or political convictions.People can also "love" material objects, animals, or activities if they invest themselves in bonding or otherwise identifying with those things.Most commonly, love refers to a feeling of strong attraction and emotional attachment.Ancient Greek philosophers identified four forms of love: essentially, familial love (in Greek, storge), friendly love (philia), romantic love (eros), and divine love (agape).If sexual passion is also involved, then this feeling is called paraphilia.A common principle that people say they love is life itself.Love encompasses a variety of different emotional and mental states, typically strongly and positively experienced, ranging from the deepest interpersonal affection to the simplest pleasure.
Some historians date modern conceptions of romantic love to courtly Europe during or after the Middle Ages, although the prior existence of romantic attachments is attested by ancient love poetry.Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love.Non-Western traditions have also distinguished variants or symbioses of these states.The complex and abstract nature of love often reduces discourse of love to a thought-terminating cliché.Several common proverbs regard love, from Virgil's "Love conquers all" to The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love". Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, defines love as "to will the good of another." People can be said to love an object, principle, or goal to which they are deeply committed and greatly value.Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning.This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.Love as a general expression of positive sentiment (a stronger form of like) is commonly contrasted with hate (or neutral apathy); as a less sexual and more emotionally intimate form of romantic attachment, love is commonly contrasted with lust; and as an interpersonal relationship with romantic overtones, love is sometimes contrasted with friendship, although the word love is often applied to close friendships.(Further possible ambiguities come with usages "girlfriend", "boyfriend", "just good friends").Abstractly discussed love usually refers to an experience one person feels for another.Love often involves caring for, or identifying with, a person or thing (cf.