The Symposium: A Philosophers Guide To Love

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The Symposium: A Philosophers Guide to Love

As much as our society has become involved in the advancement of feminism and

the equality of the sexes, there is one fact that neither gender can ignore;

none can survive without the other. Love and the want of a soul mate keeps each

member of man and womankind in constant search of the perfect person with whom

to become one. Yet if this bond is a necessity of the human race then why has

the meaning, purpose and pursuit of it eluded us for so many generations. There

has yet to be a one universal explanation of love and there has yet to be one

who understands it's powers fully. As we see from Plato's Symposium, even the

wisest of men in a time when the search for knowledge was seen as the pathway to

enlightenment love was still a concept that was not understood and unknown.

Though many of the guidelines and characteristics of love are wise, some may not

apply to modern society.

The writing serves as a pamphlet that depicts some of the guidelines of love as

the philosophers of Plato's time saw them. The intervention of the God's in the

orations of the philosophers can be interpreted to mean the different aspects of

love and their effects on people. The text goes into many characteristics

about the god or gods that were love , yet for the purpose of this essay, it

would seem relevant to stick with the guidelines and ideals that were presented

in the speeches given by the men. It seemed as though in each of the lectures

given, Plato put a message into each one. Each man brought up valid guidelines

for dealing with love and each should be concentrated on.

The speeches started with Phaedrus who began to state many of the powers of love.

He spoke about the honor between one and their beloved and how it was a great

virtue in a relationship. The point that Phaedrus made was that a man of any

nature would rather suffer humiliation in front of a great mass of people or all

of mankind itself than to suffer the loss of respect or the loss of dignity in

front of their lover. This point is definitely true yet Phaedrus failed to

make a definite cause as to why this was prevalent. It may pertain to modern

society that to suffer indignation in front of a lover as seen by the male would

be to suffer the loss of one's masculinity and the inability to protect their

lover, whereas for the female it...

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...ty, I feel is outdated and does not apply to modern society.

I believe that these ideas about the characteristics of love and the ideas that

coincide are outdated and are not very relevant to today's society. In our

modern monotheistic society the idea of love as a god is certainly invalid.

Also the ideas of actions done out of virtue and respect rather than love also

seems to be a dated concept. Whether our motives for actions such as self

sacrifice or procreation have gotten more respectable or less remains to be seen,

yet it is evident that they have changed since Plato's era. Thus if the

characteristics and motives of love have changed then the concept of love must

have evolved as well. This evolution of love may be a characteristic of the

concept itself. Love may be an ever changing concept that adapts itself to the

society in which it exists. Our concepts of love and what is noble is

undoubtedly different than those of the eastern cultures and as we have seen

from the previous example, love definitely changes with time. Therefore the

concept of love may have no exact meaning except for that which the society in

which it exists perceives and excepts it to be.

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