Dialogue of the Platonic Love



The other important exhibition about love, Plato made it in the dialogue called The Phaedrus. Although this is an exhibition of another character about love, the fundamental expositions of both dialogues match, although their lines of unfolding vary considerably.

Everything begins with a discussion based on a speech of Lysias on the issue of whether it is better for a young person to grant his favors to a person who does not love him rather than someone who loves him. Lysias indicates that the lovers acting under impulses that are chained by the passion produces remorse and that appear in them like disease.

In addition, these are boasted of their conquests and soon they leave them, they are jealous of any company and they only orient their love to the fleeting flower of youth. However, those that are not impelled by the love, give a lasting and independent friendship of the sexual, because they look for the company without putting the glance in the immediate and ephemeral pleasure. Their affection do not arise from a passion, but from the search of a common purpose.

Although this speech had the merit of balance, prudence is misleading to the extent that confuses many different realities by not defining the terms that the author employs. The love (Eros), is certainly not the friendship (Filia), but no one denies the other, since they are both valid expressions of nature.

The following speech of Socrates will try exactly to make conceptual precision to the debate. Socrates begins making a diligent definition of love that says to us this one is desire, but even those that do not have Eros - according to the sense attributed before by Lysias- yearn for the beautiful thing. On the base from what we will be able to differentiate them? On the base of two governing principles that Plato affirms that they exist in us.

The first it is an innate desire of pleasure and the second a capacity of judgment developed tending to the optimal. Happens that sometimes such principles coincide and other times differ, in a permanent struggle by the supremacy.

When the judgment prevails, there is in us self-control, moderation; when, desire prevails drags us to the excess (hybris) and we acted against our judgment. However, in relation to the pleasure that provides the beautiful bodies, for Socrates the excess is Eros. Such Eros is, according to the philosopher, a wild physical passion, something brutal and in opposition to the reason. This form of love is bad for the soul of the loved one, because the lover paying attention only to his own pleasure harms the soul of the loved one when maintaining the love one in a state of dependency, of inferiority and when preventing the beloved, in addition, to leave in ignorance.

This is an Eros which seeks pleasure rather than the good, which is not only bad for the soul of the beloved but also for the body to the extent that the lover, owned by the selfish Eros, makes the beloved a physically weak person when forcing him to live locked up at home, thereby depriving of giving health to the body.

All this makes immensely more reasonable than the loved one favors to not be owned by the Eros, otherwise is exposed to an affection that is like the one of the wolf by the ewe. So is the accusation of Socrates against the Eros.

Nevertheless, such Eros is not the true one. Still more, Socrates considers that he has blasphemed against the God of love and must pay with a retraction - denominated pillioned in the Greek world, because must not have given the name of Eros to a erotic madness, totally corporal, possessive and absurdly egoistic.

Of what this palinode consists? That is the platonic myth of the trip of the soul will shed light not only on the true nature of the Eros, but also on the eternal soul and ideas, indispensable principles to understand the nature of Love.

According to Socrates teaching love is fundamentally a kind of madness -mania-that comes from the Gods, is worth to say, divine. It is a mania because is an irrational emotion, although only reaches its more high expression when is united to the clarity of the reason, for example, in the philosophical love of the truth and the beauty. Still more, the Eros is the psychological origin of the search of the philosopher, since the departure point of the movement and the main source of the action reside in the soul.

Plato represents here mystically the soul like Auriga that directs a winged car, formed by two horses, one docile one and the other obstinate one. When the death happens, the soul rises until the edge of the firmament and contemplates the eternal ideas that are above. Nevertheless, the overcrowding of the souls makes lose its wings rushing back to Earth. This soul that has seen the ideas with maximum clarity turns into philosopher or lover of the beauty, in an inspired being, but not with the inspiration of the artist - that is in a lower level, but with the inspiration of the cultured man, a wise in the art of the life.

From the platonic perspective, when in life we caught visually the shining splendor of the beauty, we recalled the Idea of the Beauty that we saw with the eyes of soul in the celestial world; nevertheless, we cannot make the same perception of the wisdom nor of other worthy realities of our love. Only the beauty is refulgent insofar as it is caught by the view that, according to Plato, is acute of our senses and by this same one it is loved by all.

However, that one that is not just initiated or has been corrupted, cannot go from the sensible beauty to the intelligible one. Hes glance is cached by that one imperfect form of beauty, giving himself to the pleasure. But the just initiated that has contemplated widely the things of the superior world, when seeing a divine face, a lovely imitation of the Beauty or a body of beautiful aspect tries to venerate it like a God.

After this he have wings again in all the territory of the soul, returning to that previous state in which he owned wings in his totality. Then, the soul finds rest in the contemplation of the loved one, gathering the sweet pleasure of that moment of union.

The initiate no longer will want to separate from the beloved because for him this one is the more precious treasure, a wonder that makes forget everything until the point to be willing in become a slave to be next to the love one. And this it is the state that the men call love, Plato says to us.

Next, Socrates describes in another aspect the effect of Eros on the soul , doing use again to the parabola of the soul like coachman and both horses. It happens now that the black horse jumps obstinately towards the loved one and does not obey to the orders of the coachman, jumping towards the loved one. Nevertheless, in the end it is tamed. Then, the soul of the lover, can approach the loved one surely and this one can be let venerate by a sincere lover, to who, finally accepts giving friendship to him.

Passed the time the things change, Plato states: “And once is received this treatment, the benevolence of the lover, that now sees close by, full of admiration to the loved one who understands that, even all the other together, friends and relatives, offer a small part of the friendship that finds in this friend posses by a God.

And when time passes in this deal and intimacy, over the contacts in gyms and other places of meeting, the source of that power when Zeus loved Ganymede called 'wave of desire', running in abundance towards the enamored one in part down to him and, in part, when is completely full, overflowing out, and as the breath or the echo of the objects that smooth and resistant jump back to the point where they departed, and the flow of beauty, passing through the eye turns back to the beautiful, and when, on that road, which is the road that leads naturally to the soul, has come to it and has filled, revive the holes in the feathers, giving impetus to birth of these and full of love the soul of the beloved.

“He is, then, enamored, but he does not understand of what; and nor knows what it happens to him nor he can explain it, but, he cannot allege any reason, as in a mirror, seen himself in his lover; whenever that one is present,both stop the suffering, and when is absent, in the same way they misses each other, having therefore a against-love that is the image of the love. He called it not love, but friendship, and desires, in a similar way, but more weakly, seeing, touching, to kiss to the other and sleep with.

And, certainly, is very probable that in these conditions, when they are laid down together, the undisciplined horse of the lover has something to say to charioteer and considers that, in exchange for his many difficulties, has taking little benefit; and on the other hand, the loved one does not have anything to say, but swollen of desire and not understanding the own situation, embraces the lover and kisses that person, demonstrating affection like to someone who really love, and whenever they are laid down is not able of refusing favors to the lover; their companion and charioteer resists to this with their reason and modesty.

Then, if is a ordinate life and the philosophy leads them to the victory of the best thing inside the soul, they pass this life in the happiness and the harmony, since, thanks to the dominion of themselves and moderation, they have put under which produced their virtue. And thus, when they have arrived at the aim of theirs lives, sustains by wings and light, of the three athletic fights of this truly Olympic joust, they have won in first, and neither the human wisdom nor divine madness can grant greater to the man.

If on the contrary, they take one more a cruder life, without love to the philosophy, but to the honors of this world, it is easy that in the intoxication or any other moment of negligence the undisciplined horses of both, taking to the souls off guard and liaising themselves for the same aim, they decide on the side which offers more happiness for the common people.

Once completed, they return in the future to the same, but rarely, because when they act like these they do not have the approval of all their mind. Friends, without a doubt, also are these, but less than those; they live the one for the other, as much while the love lasts as when they have left it, considering that has occurred mutually and received the one of the other the majors guarantees, to that is not allowed to lack once becoming enemies. And finally without wings, but without not to have made an effort to acquire them, they leave their bodies.

Consequently, the prize that they obtain from this loving madness is not small; because is not to the darkness nor to the underground where the law orders those who have begun the infra celestial trip, but taking a shining life, they travel happy in mutual company, and arrived the moment, they get to have wings by virtue of their love. So great and so divine the gifts that the friendship of enamoring will offer. However, the treatment of one who does not love, treatment mixed of mortal prudence and that is given to a mortal economy, producing in the friend soul a ruin that the masses praise like a merit, will make it roll nine thousand years around the Earth and underneath the Earth, in an irrational state.

“Socrates has tried here to explain the true nature of Eros that in this text begins and finishes with the loving relation between individuals. The Eros, really, maintains the eternal ideas and awakes by the vision of the masculine beauty, having as objective lead the beloved until the intellection of beauty and truth.

In synthesis, as much in the Phaedrus as in the Banquet - with different developments- we found the three same types of lovers. The lowest corresponds to those who are owned by the physical and merely egoistic passion. A little higher is the moderate lover who not being a true philosopher end up pleasing his sexual impulse, eventhough rationally. And is because his self control is defective. Is in truth, an intermediate state and that is positive if prepares for the philosophical life.

In the top of this scale of lovers is the authentic philosopher, who is beyond all servitude to the sexual. Here the lovers belong to the same sex and their goal is not other than the reciprocal inspiration in the investigation of the truth and the good. And although this love has a foundation in the sexual instinct, the lovers have had the force and the wisdom to sublimate it in a passion by the common study. This one is, also, the true meaning of the “platonic love” that so very imprecise is spoken.

From the point of view of the spiritual evolution the wisdom of Plato about the love has unquestionable merits, they are at sight. Nevertheless, his wisdom also suffers from too important errors like not considering them in this synthesis. For example, his concept of love clearly is founded on an homosexual attraction, although this has like extenuating that the platonic love is in essence a mental union. We remember, in addition, to the philosopher the highest manifestations of the love and affection they occur only between men. With this Plato simply expressed the normal feeling of his contemporaries, for those the woman was a mere physical being, without psychic qualities that made her worthy of the love of the man. By this Plato's Greece , the marriage could not be more than a union oriented to the satisfaction of the physical needs and to the procreation of the children.

Plato, in truth, does not go beyond the culture of his time when not giving any place to love, to the friendship, the companionship between men and women. Really, Plato saw in the love an irrational force and to that extent a value that is below the sphere of the reason. He did not know, therefore, this philosopher, the true Love that is beyond the irrational and of the rational

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