Two weeks ago during our seminar class under Mr. Ricardo, we were asked to write our version of Plato’s “Symposium” focusing on the concept of love. This is what I submitted and I know that this is still a work in progress. No one can actually write and discuss love in its full extent because it is just complicated.
Please take note that the Socrates here is not Socrates of the Ancient times. He is used only as a medium to help me elaborate my thoughts on the matter.
So, here it goes. Share me your thoughts after reading it!
The symposium ended with everyone being drunk and other staking the opportunity to rest. Meanwhile outside the skirts of Agathon’s home, Socrates meets one his students as he was making his way back to the town.
Kristi. I am pleased to see you today O Socrates! The news has reached us upon last night’s symposium and I cannot resist but commend the gathering of the great minds for a wonderful discussion on a theme, I am very interested, which is love. In appraisal of the mighty Eros who has walked among us and through us in several ways. I have heard the sides of Phaedrus who speaks of love as a matter of sacrificing one’s self as if placed in a battlefield. He who has sacrificed his life will be rewarded by the Gods? Does the God speak of any ill of this?
Socrates. I am afraid not. The Gods are pleased with it but they are shamed by the inglorious act of letting a beloved one die in vain as he mentioned in the story of Achilles.
Kristi. Has he not considered that it is more honorable not to die but to achieve victory and be with the beloved and to be held in their arms once again? Is it this not a better reward- a reward of another life spared by the Gods themselves?
Socrates. I do not see your point. How will you define Eros?
Kristi. It cannot be defined. It is the greatest gift of all. It is a gift given by an individual who is willing to share a piece of him to another. It is not head over heels because of the objectification of the person.
Socrates. What is then the difference of the two? How would you know which is which?
Kristi. The gift is a taste of the heavens. It is to feel that you are complete and that you have finally placed yourself in the universe.
Socrates. Is it then abstract?
Kristi. No. I can grasp it. To say it is a taste of the rewards of the Gods is better placed as sharing one’s self to another because there is a feeling of contentment and satisfaction. Love is restraining oneself from going forth into battle because someone is waiting for you. Love is constantly reminding oneself that even though you are neglected and taken for granted because it is selfless. Love is every minute of the day. Love understands in its purest form. It is with the Gods.
Socrates. What is the highest form of love then?
Kristi. When one first sights an object of attraction and immediately adores it, it is a young love. It is an innocent one like how a newborn holds dearly its toy. When an inclination towards another with appreciation is felt, it is friendly one. This is what we share among our people. This is acknowledging the efforts and correcting them for what they have done. When one assumes that he has been swept completely off one’s feet, it is an infatuation. It only takes the form of eros. It is an illusion filled by what one’s desires and ideals which the mind puzzles.
Socrates. Therefore, love includes a hierarchy of emotional appeal? What then is the highest?
Kristi. The highest form is encapsulated in the image of a mother and a child. It is taking the risk, sacrifices, and giving birth to a new life. By all means, to renew a life and save it from its troubles without wanting anything in return, I shall commend as true love. It is going against all the odds. This is the highest appreciation and devotion we can address to Eros.
Socrates. Do you not side with any of the speakers of the drinking party?
Kristi. I am glad that you have mentioned that. I have always admired the style of Aristophanes. I heard he was not comedic but rather tragic in his speech. Is it true?
Socrates. You are correct.
Kristi. Well, eros then can be tragic and comedic. What an irony! Socrates, have you ever wondered why the sun and the moon can never be together? It is because he loved her so. There remains the sacrifice that the Gods admire! There will always be the great love that can never be together. He may be right that there is mutual love between the androgynous but then, they can never always be together. Blessed are those who have found it and never let go; wretched are those who shall live in regrets of the loss of their sun- the loss of their happiness.
Socrates. That is tragic, indeed. Oh well. We shall continue this next time. Remind one‘s self that the tragedy of the emotion is and will always be the best thing in the world. The individual will always be driven by the desire to love and be loved. There are those who enjoy the pain of the emotion it brings because this is what makes them human. This is the irony of life, we will always wonder about.