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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hailey Hall Section 8/2 The Symposium: Platonic Love

During 385-370 B.C. Plato wrote a philosophical text entitled the Symposium. In this a group of men are to present a speech, or an encomium, on their personal definition of love. In my third, and last installment, I will discuss Socrates portion of the Symposium where he discusses platonic love. This type of love is meant to be non-sexual and the term "platonic" is named after Plato who was the first to describe this type of love. Platonic love deals more with the mind and loving it than the attraction towards a body or physical being.


The main portion of this speech pertains to a certain prophetess, Diotima. Diotima informs Socrates of her final visions pertaining to the "mysteries". She tells him a story of a young boy who is attracted to multiple females but, one in particular. With this girl, the young boy wants to produce "beautiful discourses with". However, the first stage, in what is described as Diotima's ladder of love, is that the boy must recognize that all bodies are relatively the same and it is foolish to be attracted to one so, the boy must learn to love all the bodies. The next step is to learn to love the mind as well as the body and be able to distinguish between an attractive body with a beautiful mind as well. With this information, the boy will be able to learn to love under these practices and laws so that he will be able to be knowledgeable on his decision. Her ladder is ultimately informing that there is more to love than just attraction.


Therefore Plato came to an agreement with Diotima that the correct use of love is to direct one's mind to a love of divinity. The beautiful body/person inspires the mind and soul of the lover and directs them to a spiritual outlook on life. Socrates then defines two different forms of love: Vulgar Eros (love) or Divine Eros. Vulgar Eros is described as nothing more than physical attraction. This type of love lacks any sort of emotional connection and is strictly used as a means for reproduction and for physical pleasure. But, Divine Eros, is more of a journey through love. This journey begins with the physical attraction of two bodies but then forms to begin a gradual sort of love from a Supreme Beauty. This sort of love has since transformed into the term Platonic Love. Platonic Love is a type of love that is related to the mind rather than the body itself.

Image result for platonic love quotes


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First Blog Post: The Symposium: Eryxmachus
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Second Blog Post: The Symposium: Aristophanes
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1 comment:

  1. The claim that all human bodies are relatively the same is true, relative to non-human bodies. But how relevant is that, in the love-lives of most humans?

    Climbing that ladder would be a lot more appealing to some of us if we knew we could come back down as readily as we'd ascended. Purely platonic love has its attractions, but they're not exclusive.

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