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Plato's Symposium

  • Jan 9, 2013 · 7:30 PM
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Inga will be leading us in a probing discussion of "Platonic love". Love is at once sublime, mysterious, passionate and unruly; tough but tender; seductive and overpowering. Even the strongest of men are reduced to putty in Her hands.

Each of the interlocutors in Plato's Symposium takes a turn trying to define what "Love" is - both in itself and in terms of its object, beauty and goodness. Socrates reports on the wisdom of Diotima who sees "Love" as a mean that mediates all.

Come prepared to discuss "Love", both in its philosophical context and in its modern cultural representation. What is this thing we call "Love"?

See you January 9, 2013.

Robaire

Organizer

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  • Robert ("Robaire") N.

    Once again it was an excellent foray into the explosive waters of erotic love. Good energy; stimulating subject matter (how could erotic love be anything other?)

    As for whether there is any place for sexual attraction in "Platonic relationships" today, my own view is that the concept of Platonic love - to be meaningful at all - must be rooted in Plato's dialogues (of which The Symposium is the most apposite). For me, sexual attraction may indeed be a constituent element of Platonic love, but need not necessarily be so. Even where it is, it is never given physical expression. It draws the lover to the beauty behind the sexual attraction he sees in the beloved, and if he or she dares to pursue where that beauty leads, the door to Plato's contemplation of Beauty in itself is opened. Where sexual attraction is ultimately given expression in physical pleasure, it ceases to be Platonic. What vexes me is whether it is ever possible to harness sexual energy within Platonic love?

    January 13, 2013

  • Jim A.

    Our new participants added a lot of expertise and "spice" to the discussion. Robert did a superb job of directing the meeting through this delicate subject and keeping things under control. Looking forward to the next one!

    January 12, 2013

  • alice g.

    Inga, you may have missed the meet-up, but I would invite you to post a comment or two about the group's debate (for lack of a better word) about whether or not 'Platonic Love' is purely spiritual or whether it can contain the sexual attraction factor (though unexpressed persay)...?
    What say you Inga?........Can we have any kind of conclusice resolution to this most 'Platonic' of questions.........as embodied in "The Symposium"............or otherwise? Weigh in, my dear......

    January 12, 2013

    • alice g.

      oops...i.e. "conclusive"

      January 12, 2013

  • Robert ("Robaire") N.

    To pick up on Alice's comment, Aviva spoke quite correctly about the subjective experience of love, to which Elaine added eloquently of her own personal experience of love. Alice responded that love is in itself objective, that it embodies objective truth. My modest contribution was to agree with both of them, i.e. that "love" in itself is an objective reality; but that it is experienced subjectively. This reflects Socrates' retelling of Diotima's account of love as being the way to contemplation of the Beautiful in itself. This led to the question of how we interpret "Platonic love" or Platonic relationships" in our modern 21st Century culture and whether there is any place for sexual attraction in these forms of Platonic relationships. As Alice said in her earlier post... this led to some 'spicy', stimulating dialogue...

    January 12, 2013

  • alice g.

    Hi Inga, Hope you're beginning to see the end of the abhorred flu!
    Well, one conclusion was that while the experience of love is, by necessity, subjective (Aviva), the nature and essence of love has objective truth (yours truly). Robaire then knit our two views together into a whole as they are not mutually exclusive.

    January 12, 2013

  • Ingeborg

    reading these comments on how much fun you all had I am even more dismayed that this dreadful flu hit me when it did! I was so very very sorry I missed this. I had been looking forward to it for so long.
    So did you all come to a final conclusion on what love really is???

    January 12, 2013

  • alice g.

    Really 'spicy'! So much energy, diversity...so many ideas...much articulation of... Overall, an excellent and inspiring session.

    January 9, 2013

  • Robert ("Robaire") N.

    Good group of people. Very stimulating dialogue. But then, how can the topic of "erotic love" be otherwise?

    January 9, 2013

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  • Robert ("Rob­aire"­) N.
    Robaire, Organizer,
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