Embracing Imperfection: Plato vs Nussbaum On Love

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Nick_A
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Re: Embracing Imperfection: Plato vs Nussbaum On Love

Post by Nick_A »

The author refers to Diotima's ladder of love

https://www.thoughtco.com/platos-ladder-of-love-2670661

The "ladder of love" occurs in the text Symposium (c. 385-370 BC) by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. It's about a contest at a men's banquet, involving impromptu philosophical speeches in praise of Eros, the Greek god of love and sexual desire. Socrates summarized the speeches of five of the guests and then recounted the teachings of a priestess, Diotima. The ladder is a metaphor for the ascent a lover might make from purely physical attraction to something beautiful, as a beautiful body, the lowest rung, to actual contemplation of the Form of Beauty itself.
Diotima maps out the stages in this ascent in terms of what sort of beautiful thing the lover desires and is drawn toward.

A particular beautiful body. This is the starting point, when love, which by definition is a desire for something we don’t have, is first aroused by the sight of individual beauty.

All beautiful bodies. According to standard Platonic doctrine, all beautiful bodies share something in common, something the lover eventually comes to recognize. When he does recognize this, he moves beyond a passion for any particular body.
Beautiful souls. Next, the lover comes to realize that spiritual and moral beauty matters much more than physical beauty. So he will now yearn for the sort of interaction with noble characters that will help him become a better person.

Beautiful laws and institutions. These are created by good people (beautiful souls) and are the conditions which foster moral beauty.

The beauty of knowledge. The lover turns his attention to all kinds of knowledge, but particularly, in the end to philosophical understanding. (Although the reason for this turn isn’t stated, it is presumably because philosophical wisdom is what underpins good laws and institutions.)

Beauty itself – that is, the Form of the Beautiful. This is described as "an everlasting loveliness which neither comes nor goes, which neither flowers nor fades." It is the very essence of beauty, "subsisting of itself and by itself in an eternal oneness." And every particular beautiful thing is beautiful because of its connection to this Form. The lover who has ascended the ladder apprehends the Form of Beauty in a kind of vision or revelation, not through words or in the way that other sorts of more ordinary knowledge are known.

Diotima tells Socrates that if he ever reached the highest rung on the ladder and contemplated the Form of Beauty, he would never again be seduced by the physical attractions of beautiful youths. Nothing could make life more worth living than enjoying this sort of vision. Because the Form of Beauty is perfect, it will inspire perfect virtue in those who contemplate it.
The ladder is a metaphor for the ascent a lover might make from purely physical attraction to something beautiful, as a beautiful body, the lowest rung, to actual contemplation of the Form of Beauty itself.


This ascent of love doesn't require condemnation of the imperfect. actually this is the danger of romantic love. The beloved has the obligation of allowing a person to experience love. Once a person becomes incapable of experiencing love, it will thought to be the fault of the beloved. Romantic love is the love of image while conscious or Christian love is a quality we can eventually give from a higher conscious perspective described in Diotima's Ladder of Love.
Belinda
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Re: Embracing Imperfection: Plato vs Nussbaum On Love

Post by Belinda »

Nick_A wrote:
This ascent of love doesn't require condemnation of the imperfect. actually this is the danger of romantic love. The beloved has the obligation of allowing a person to experience love. Once a person becomes incapable of experiencing love, it will thought to be the fault of the beloved. Romantic love is the love of image while conscious or Christian love is a quality we can eventually give from a higher conscious perspective described in Diotima's Ladder of Love.
I agree with your summary which explains the element of reciprocity rather well. I agree with "Romantic love is the love of image" and its comparison with Christian love. I am not sure about Diotima's Ladder of Love, as it omits the modern mystification of romantic love which is a historical and even an economic phenomenon.
Nick_A
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Re: Embracing Imperfection: Plato vs Nussbaum On Love

Post by Nick_A »

“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.” ~ Simone Weil
Romantic love and the attraction to image is like this. Conscious love requires ascent along the ladder of love. It enables the love of life for example. Why do men love the trophy wife? It is her image. When she loses it she is no longer a trophy.

The success of advertising is based on our love for image. Collective humanity is a long way from experiencing and loving the real good in the same way. Yet Jesus did it. How?
Impenitent
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Re: Embracing Imperfection: Plato vs Nussbaum On Love

Post by Impenitent »

Nick_A wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:01 pm Yet Jesus did it. How?... The success of advertising is based on our love for image.
-Imp
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