Europe in Love is an Erasmus + project that took place between the 2015-2017 school years within the association of 6 countries (Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Finland and Slovakia). The main topic of the project is Love, a universal value, a concept valid for all countries and places in the world and especially the European Union.
It is a transversal theme in education but so far it has not been dedicated a special study, an attempt to convey it specifically as the engine of our lives, as the only concept that should prevail if we want Europe to remain a unit. If we want the idea of Europe to survive and be real, we must reject the hatred that gave us birth in the twentieth century and walk hand in hand as siblings in this 21st century in which we live. Let the 21st century be the century of love and we will be able to remain united to progress. And that idea is what we intend to transmit with these didactic units in schools across the continent. We intend to develop a material that can be used by teachers from all countries, of all ages, to convey this idea of unity to all students in Europe.
For their elaboration and programming we have been based on the multiple intelligences of Howard Gardner and their application to the basic educational competences that the students must acquire, as the European educational laws indicate us through the different ministries of education of all the partner countries in this project. Our aim was to create activities based on them, that were complete and attractive for students, for different educational levels and subjects.
We want to teach the students of the European Union to love each other to stay together and move towards a better future. If there is no love, nothing will work.
But the word Love is unique, although it has many meanings. We have resorted to the cradle of our civilization, to ancient Greece to try to define its typology. They did not have a single word to define this feeling as we have the word Love. They had different words depending on their typology. We have chosen six of them, to try to transmit love in all its variety and magnitude: agape or love for our neighbor, eros or passionate love, philautia or self love, pragma or mature love, ludus or flirtation and philia or friendship. We have dedicated the same number of didactic units to each of them. That is the objective of this work, to make available to the entire European educational community, in case it may prove useful, the universal value of love that will guide us together towards a better future.
Eros is irrational love. It is passion and desire, madness, the love that sometimes makes people lose control if they let themselves go. It is usually the first phase of love or infatuation, the most obsessive and the most pure and intense. For passionate love you would be willing to perform any feat, anything. Everything is possible for a person in love: to achieve all goals, to fight for any ideal, to cross the limits of the rational. Passion is what has made the world progress.
The European Union needs to be passionate about the idea of unity. And for them, this typology of love is absolutely necessary to try to get us moving forward without losing heart, believing with intensity and passion in the idea that together things will go much better.
Philia is friendship, loyalty, fidelity. All human beings need someone to trust, friends to share their joys and sorrows, friends who can be counted on to overcome difficulties and enjoy and share achievements and progress. It is the lasting basis of the advance of the whole community, which is necessary, which we must strengthen and value in its right measure.
Friendship between the member countries and among the students makes us much more united. Creating lasting bonds of friendship through the Erasmus + project like this, we have the students to consider the members of other countries as friends and brothers, who they exchange experiences, joys and difficulties with. Encouraging friendship between our young people, we are convinced that in the future there will be solid links between the new generations that will lead the European Union. It will be our little bit of sand, our contribution to a time in which the European will favour their relations of friendship to their particular interests.
Ludus is playful love, flirting. Sometimes flirting is intentional: seeking a partner, acceptance by others, social integration through the display of our own skills and characteristics. And at other times it is an innocent flirtation, which simply pretends to reaffirm its own characteristics. Loving others always reaffirms personality and makes people happy. And it can be done through dancing, grooming and the care of personal image (following fashion or the implementation of a style of our own), personal relationships, smiles, looks or impressions we cause to others.
Each of the member countries of the European Union are unique and we have our own characteristics that make us unique and attractive. Showing the best of each one of us makes the rest of the people around us appreciate the best of each one of us. And for that, we have to show the best that we have without ambiguity or hindrance, without fears. We are beautiful and special. Others will accept us as we are if we are able to show the best of each one of us.
Agape is selfless love, love to our neighbour. It is about being an example without intending to be so, giving without expecting anything in return. It is universal goodness, generosity without retroactivity, the point of departure to the internal language regardless of origin, belief or political affinity. It is to love in the purest form that exists, especially to those who need it most. It is a vital mission that is to surrender, to be supportive when you are most needed, to go to them when you are required and also when you see others suffer even if they do not claim you. It is charity well understood, not as alms, but as a vital approach, surrender to the poor, sick, sad, disabled, refugees, children and the elderly … To those who need it most. Just because it is just and necessary, because we feel better, trying to be happy looking for the happiness of others or at least, trying to make them suffer less and improve their living conditions.
Unfortunately in Europe we face many problems of all kinds: poverty, violence, need, crisis, unemployment, immigration, despair, loneliness, injustice … If we teach our students that through agape, we can alleviate the pains of those who suffer. Laying the foundations of a better, more supportive, more just world, in which we are all brothers and sisters. Is not this the essence for which the European Union was created, to be united and help each other when we need it most?
Pragma is prolonged love in time, mature love, solid, assimilated, clear and pure, firm, faithful and constant. Despite the difficulties, the pros and cons it is the acceptance of our own defects and others’ , the consideration that we all have a positive part and that we should favour it. It is the understanding of the others in a reasoned way. It is the search for a united vital path, of joint reason, of justice, of peace. Because all these things are good for all and we know that. Our present Western world is mounted on the pillars of reason. And it is feelings what demonstrates the maturity of the human being. It is therefore a reasoned and reasonable love.
For Europe it is fundamental. We have come together, logically and reasonably, to the conclusion that together we will advance more than separately, that it is in our best interest for everyone to walk hand in hand, in a mature and coherent way, in a balanced and participative way. Let us love our ideologies, respect our differences, because through dialogue and negotiation, through the use of reason, we will be able to create a world in which we all have space, more just and more egalitarian, in which we can show our progress and raise our future challenges. Let’s be pragmatic.
Philautia is the love for oneself. In order to love others we must begin with ourselves. If we respect ourselves, we will be respected. Philautia is to give importance to the self, to individualism, which is also necessary. There are two types of philautia, just and necessary self-esteem that improves us, which pretends that we are good inside to be able to be well on the outside and where this goal is sought through fashion, hobbies, sport, seeking the inner balance through food, healthy habits, of our leisure activities. And the other type is the one we must correct, the one that borders on narcissism, which sometimes makes us put the self beyond the reasonable: excessive fame, pride, cult of the body, self-obsession, personal fortune, selfishness…, defects which we must fight against.
In Europe we must respect the taste for oneself, for the country itself. Because it is necessary that we value ourselves positively, but without passing, without falling into chauvinism or ultra nationalism which can lead to separation and rupture. And that is one of the main dangers of the Union. Let us teach this feeling correctly and avoid greater evils that are coming, which have already been established. We have a great opportunity to transmit to the European students what is reasonable and what is exaggerated and can lead to disaster.