Essay The Purpose of Love

Essay The Purpose of Love

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Why does one love? One loves for the sake of happiness. This was the common mindset in the pre-modern worldview from the time of ancient Greece. The ideas present in Plato’s The Symposium have however been replaced with a more contemporary view, particularly in Western societies. Allan Bloom details this transition in his work Love and Friendship. Bloom argues that the idea of “eros” has lost its true meaning; it has been morphed into a selfish and self-less act of mere sex: “Eros, in its Freudian version, is really all just selfishness and provides no basis for intimate human connection” (Bloom 24). Sex is no longer a form of a strong, intimate connection, but rather our contemporaries have allowed sex to become “no different from a description of eating habits” (Bloom 20). Society today sees sex everywhere, it is forced upon us by the media, but there’s no beauty in it. Love relationships once were for the purpose of exchanging knowledge, today it is a label frequently and erroneously used.
In the pre-modern view, love relationships were regarded as necessary for society to flourish. In The Symposium, love relationships had a general progression. One must love a single body. Then, realize that all bodies are beautiful. Finally, one must love another for one’s soul, and not just for one’s body; as we age, this physical beauty of the body fades. Love of the soul would last for the lifetime. Loving one’s soul leads to beautiful discourse. This beautiful discourse allows us to experience beauty itself, the ideal goal sought after by Plato. Love was not simply an emotion either, but rather a spirit within that connected beings; it was the compulsion for the good in another. Now, like sex, it is everywhere, in our romantic comedies...

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...of Nietzsche and Sarte, we then realize there is no God to follow, nor a core to turn in towards to. We must take actions to develop our selves. We have a standard view, developed by society. We are born with a clean slate, and it is our responsibility to avoid alienation. To avoid alienation, we are to be actively creative with the help of another, specifically an intimate other. The only way we can live in rejection of the standard view is through a love relationship with this intimate other. Our intimate other allows us to reach the end goal first set by the ancient Greeks—happiness.

Works Cited

Bloom, Allan. "Introduction: The Fall of Eros." Love and Friendship. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. 13-35. Print.
Guignon, Charles. On Being Authentic. London: Routledge, 2004. Print.
Plato, and R. E. Allen. The Symposium. Vol. 2. Yale U. P., 1991. Print.

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