What is love? The ancient Greeks thought long about this question that influences us so much during our lifetime. The Symposium was written by Plato, and reflects what Athenian aristocrates thought about love. It’s a series of speeches on love presented by various men. (Students of Socrates).
Finally Socrates speaks. Socrates and Plato believe the object of love to be something that has nothing to do with the physical world, it has nothing to do with this attachment or dependency that we feel for a lover. They find all this physhical love unimportant; For them, love transcends space and time. It goes beyond the physical body. When you love someone, it has nothing to do with if you find them beautiful or handsome, or if they grow old. In order to express what he feels about love, he speaks through an Imaginary ‘priestess’, who explains to the group that love is not something that survives the test of time.
For Socrates, there are various levels of love; it’s like going up a ladder; The bottom rung of the ladder, is when you’re attracted to the physical beauty of the other person and you fall in love with them. The next rung recognizes that people are physically beautiful in similar ways, and are interchangeable, so you aren’t fixated on one particular person because of their beauty. The third run is where you appreciate both the spirit and body; love is appreciating someone for their virtuous spirit. Once you meet a beautiful spirit, you come to find there are many beautiful spirits, and they are even interchangeable; again you realize there are many others you could fall in love with because of their beautiful spirit. This makes you desire something even more unique and permanently beautiful. What could this be? It is the love of beautiful knowledge.
The very last rung of the ladder, at which we can all only aim, is the form of Beauty itself. That is ‘Beauty’ with a capital ‘B’. It’s the ideal of Beauty itself in all its forms, physical and meta-physical. It’s a process of giving birth. So for example a woman can give birth to a beautiful children, but our spirit can give birth to Virtue. This is a spiritual birth. A spiritual birth when we can instill virtue in everyone’s spirit.
This has nothing to do with being “in love” with a specific human being. It has do with having loving, beautiful thoughts that influence the reality around you. It has to do with being a force of good in the world, because of your love of humanity and life itself. Like creating or voting for good laws that, create a better world, with justice for all. To create a better society. Creating a beautiful and virtuous world or society.
This type of LOVE is a force that offers beautiful things and experiences to society and the world. This is true, unconditional LOVE. This is a LOVE from a ‘higher dimension’, it is a love of Truth and Virtue so that we can all live in a just and beautiful world. “an everlasting loveliness which neither comes nor goes, which neither flowers nor fades.”
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