Saturday, April 30, 2016
Socrates on Love (Plato's Symposium) 1st Report. Section 4 (9:40 am TTR)
Socrates believed love was the desire for things that cannot be possessed. He did not believe that love in itself was a good or even beautiful. Although he believed this, he did not think it was bad or evil either. Rather than love being beautiful or good, he believed love was a desire for those things. He also believed that "loving" someone or something brought him closer to immortality. This is because he was taught that love is neither mortal or immortal, rather, a spirit rested between God and human.
To dive a little more deeply into what Socrates talked about in Plato's Symposium, love is described in four different contexts. The first description of love is Eros which is another word for "intermediate." According to this context, love falls somewhere between God and human, wisdom and ignorance, ugly and bad, good and evil. It is secondly described as not being a god, being that if it were, it would be good and beautiful. This description more specifically states these things are what love lacks and what is also strives for. It is considered to be a diamon or "the very image of something intermediate." The third description given in Plato's symposium is love being the son of the gods Resource and Poverty. This is due to the fact that from these two gods is Eros. According to this belief, it because love lacks that it is striving. The fourth description focuses more on the human condition and where love falls between wisdom and ignorance.
I believe Socrates' analysis of love is wildly overthought (much like many philosophers'.) I suppose there is no correct answer considering love is not something that we can see with our eyes. Because I am a Christian, I believe true and genuine love is something that only God can understand. And what we as humans know to be love IS God. This does not mean that my beliefs are right, I think love leans more towards subjectivity because people love in different ways. However, I do not believe that love is a spirit that falls between God and human and I do not believe that it is not beautiful or good. In my opinion, love is already good. Socrates' analysis of love is interesting; however, it seems a bit nonsensical. There is no real proof or reason for him and Diotama to believe what they believed about love. At least there is no real reason given.