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The theory of love of Plato

The theory of love of Plato

March 28, 2024

The theory of love of Plato is one of the philosophical proposals that have generated the most interest of this thinker of Ancient Greece.

The world of love and personal relationships is, in itself, something to which we pay great attention, and when this area is linked to the approach of one of the great figures of philosophy the result is a theoretical legacy that attracts all eyes. However, this philosopher conceived love in a very characteristic way, since he linked it to his theory about knowledge and ideas .

We'll see now what are the main characteristics of Plato's theory of love and in what way was it related to his philosophy.

The dualism of Plato

Before we can understand how Plato conceived love, it is necessary to have a clear concept: dualism. This is a philosophical current to which Plato was ascribed, and that after his death was adopted by many other renowned thinkers, among whom is, for example, René Descartes.

What is dualism? Well, basically, and simplifying a lot, in the belief that reality is made up of at least two independent substances that can never be completely mixed: matter and spirit, also sometimes understood as the world of comings and goings consciousness These two substances are independent of each other, in the sense that although they can "come together", they do not mix, nor one is derived from the other.

Plato believed that the human being is essentially a soul trapped in a body , which in turn moves in an environment that is also only material. That is, while the mind belongs to the realm of ideas, everything else, the matter to which the mind is anchored, is a kind of material prison.

But the mind has a natural tendency to want to be close to other ideas , and that is why it is perfected every time it is able to see beyond the appearances of the material world of ideas to access the truth behind it, that which is universal and can not be located in time and space .

The myth of the cave of Plato, for example, is a mythical story that expresses precisely this: the liberation of the human being through access to the truth, not being deceived by the appearances of the physical world.

The theory of love of Plato

And what does this have to do with Plato's theory of love? Well it is very related, because for this philosopher love can be understood as the state of ecstasy and at the same time of moderate frustration that is experienced knowing that there is something beyond the physical that calls us but that, at the same time, it will not be delivered to us completely, because as much as we do not want it, we are still chained to the world of the material, the place where Enjoying things depends in large part on our proximity in time and space, and in which it is almost impossible to keep us apart from the influence it exerts on aesthetics, appearances.

The Platonic conception of love is, therefore, that of an impulse that leads us to want to go beyond the material in our experimentation of something, in the access to its beauty , which for the thinker has to do with its proximity to the truth and not its aesthetics.

In the case of people, this beauty belongs to a spiritual plane that we intuit but that we can not get to do ours, since for something it is not something material. What characterizes love is, therefore, the search for the true and the pure, which has to do with the very essence of beauty and which belongs to a plane of existence completely separate from the physical.

So, in mortal life, Platonic love is full of frustration, because even though beauty is intuited, it is impossible to experience it directly because of the limitations of the material.

Love as something unattainable

Sometimes it is said that the essence of Plato's theory of love is the impossibility of accessing what is loved. However, the impossibility of directly accessing this idea of ​​beauty is only a consequence of the distinction that Plato makes between the ideal and the material.

This philosopher made his theory turn totally around the world of ideas , and therefore did not establish very strict rules about concrete actions that must be followed to experience love in a correct way, as if our way of moving and acting on a physical space was in itself something very important.

That is why, among other things, he did not say that love had to be expressed through celibacy, since that would imply contradicting his principles by basing himself on the assumption that the experimentation of beauty must be connected to the way in which that is experienced with the material world.That was more a distortion of the dualistic philosophy used from the popularization of the Abrahamic religions , especially of Christianity.

Thus, brass left the door open to different ways of partially accessing the spiritual world, of transcending the boundaries between matter and what, according to him, existed beyond this.

Student Philosopher: Plato's Ladder of Love (March 2024).

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