Comment: One of the most Important Questions of Life!

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In post: What is Love?

One of the most Important Questions of Life!

This is one the most fundamental questions of human existence which means that it is in the first place a philosophical question. There is multiple different opinions, answers and theories to this question. These answers to this Love-Question include different forms of scientific, religious, spiritual, psychological, cultural, moralistic, etc. answers to this question, but this question is the source and inspiration for all of these different concepts of love. The question of love (What is Love?) is more important than different answers because these multiple answers easily exclude other answers or theories about love in a very unloving way.

The question itself is always more important than any answer to this question. Big danger of answers is that the answer of one form becomes the TRUTH and makes one forget the question which was the original driving force, that is, makes one forget the quest. In this sense it could be said that Love itself is perhaps a question of life, that is, a Quest of Life.

I recommend as a starting point in search of the Love-Question Plato's work "Symposium" which is in my opinion the best and the most important text ever written about Love. (This does not mean that it is the truth about love or that it automatically gives the best answer concerning love.) So why is "Symposium" the most important text on Love? The whole topic of 'Symposium' is the question of love (What is Love?), the quest of love. But what is important in this text is not that it gives a certain kind of answer to this Love-Question, but that it expands the readers idea concerning what love is or what it could be. In Plato's 'Symposium' there is seven different speeches given to praise the Question of Love, that is, seven different views about love. And none of these seven concepts of love is so called Platonic Love.

The Platonic Love does not have almost anything to do with Plato. It is just a misinterpretation of Plato as in the first place Plato never tells in any of his texts what he thinks himself about the issues because everything is in a form of dialogue and Plato himself is never any of the characters expressing their ideas. Often it is interpreted that what Socrates says is the opinion of Plato himself, but this is not always for sure the case. On the other hand, if we would take this traditional interpretation that Socrates is pretty much the mouth of Plato himself even then, and especially then, Plato has nothing to do with so called Platonic Love as Socrates says in 'Symposium' that sex is connected to love in a fundamental sense. Socrates says in 'Symposium', for example, "Love from the beginning has been attendant and minister to Aphrodite, since he was begotten on the day of her birth, and is, moreover, by nature a lover bent on beauty since Aphrodite is beautiful." (203c) Aphrodite was the goddess of love, beauty and sexuality and in the time of Plato the Greek verb "aphrodisiazein" meant to 'have sexual intercourse'. This would mean that it can be very well said that Socrates actually says: "Love from the beginning has been attendant and minister to Sex". What does this mean? That would need a new DP post titled 'What is Sex?' At least it means that there is no Love without Sex as everyone of us is born out of sex, out of sexual act. In this sense love is a product of sexual act as is the whole of our human existence. There is nothing human without sex. This sentence should not be interpreted in any trivial way, for example, in any banal Freudian manner. But what does that mean is another question and actually very complicated question concerning the mystery of sex.

One tip for reading Plato is that never trust the ordinary commentaries of Plato. These trivial commentaries are full of misinterpretations and simplifications of the complexity of Plato's writing. As I wrote that one of these complete misinterpretations is Platonic Love. Another misinterpretation is so called Plato's Theory of Ideas. Plato does not have this kind of Theory of Ideas which is represented in most of the so called Introductions to Plato or Histories of Philosophy.

Another brilliant text on Love is Plato's "Phaedrus". It is all about positive madness of love.

Plato's teacher Socrates was a philosopher of love. For Socrates, philosophy is one of the most important expressions of love.

Read Plato's 'Symposium' and 'Phaedrus' as they are the source, together with the Bible, of almost all different Western concepts of Love. Of course most of the interpretations of Western thinkers concerning love are misinterpretations of Plato. So go to the source. After one has drank from the source the tap water (for example, different psychologies of love) just tastes tasteless, banal or even disgusting.

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--