Philia (Brotherly Love)

Philia (Brotherly Love)

May 31, 2020

I feel like I can only write so much when it comes to describing brotherhood inside the military. It’s something words can’t fully explain. The raw emotion felt when experiencing life or death situations with another person can best be described as uncommon—especially during a time when everyone is so connected yet so detached from one another.

I’ve been staring down giants my whole life. Since experiencing trauma at a young age, I have constantly thrown myself to the wolves—whether it was signing up in the Marine Corps during a time of war or conducting suicide-prevention work for Military Service Members, Veterans, and Military Family Members in Portland, Oregon. Regardless of my environment, I’m privileged to be surrounded by a group of Americans that had a positive influence on my life, and many of them are the reason why I am still alive, on and off the battlefield.


To reach self-actualization during my lifetime, I started writing about my love for others inside the military—our brotherhood. The ancient Greeks had seven different words for love, each describing a certain form of love which one could carry. These types of love include (1) Eros—a passionate love, (2) Ludus—a playful love, (3) Storge—a family love, (4) Philautia—self-love, (5) Pragma—a committed love, (6) Agápe—a love for everyone, and (7) Philia—a brotherly love. Many ancient Greek warriors developed Philia due to fighting side-by-side on the battlefield. Additionally, Philia has two parts: the first was through choice, and the second was through being soulmates. 


by: Jeff Wise
I never had a man love me the way he did.
Afghanistan brought the coldest nights
My bones have ever felt.
I’ve never been as aware of my hands,
The skin becomes an irritable shade of blizzard blue,
Feeling my blood coursing,
Keeping time with each beat of my chest,
A personal metronome shoved under each filthy nail.
What was supposed to be 12 hours turned into 408.
15 degrees,
With only thin rayon covering my skin.
I huddled into him beneath a layer of frost
In moon dirt so fine it clung to skin,
On a windblown hill
Surrounded by Afghani dogs
Sounding off like California car alarms.
Survival in its most primitive form,
Your body screaming at the fates NOT TONIGHT.
The blood that coursed through his body,
Passed warmth and energy to mine,
I recycled it back to his.
I have never loved a man the way I love him.


When rounds start snapping next to you, the love you feel for another American service member is indescribable. You would risk your life for them. Why should it take an extreme to achieve this level of devotion to one another? Why is it that traumatic experiences in our society either unify us or tear us apart? I have witnessed the level of greatness this country can achieve through the love I have felt for the men and women I have served with. I have done my best, with every fiber in my body, to share this level of devotion with my children—To honor and respect fellow Americans through perspective and compassion. Through brotherhood and unity, we may fully grow as a community and a society.

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