Quick! If someone asked you for Plato's Origin of Love, would you know what dialogue they are referring to?

Time's up. Someone asked me for this story yesterday, and I found myself in a situation where I thought I should know the answer, but didn't.

(And, I refrained from asking her if she meant Darwin's
Origin of Species. You know, given my blog title... okay, yeah. You get it).

Plato's The Symposium is a dialogue between Aristophanes, Socrates and a bunch of others in which they discuss the philosophical and intellectual properties of Love, and lament the fact that there are no love songs in their day (something that has since been rectified many times over). So much has been written about it already, and given that I only skimmed it last night, I cannot give it it's proper due.

But, I will share the thoughts running through my head as I jumped around the text last night.
  • I don't think I've actually read anything that Plato wrote before.

  • Humor has come a long way since then. The funniest thing happened...Plato (uninvited to the house of Agathon) walked in first, and Socrates (the guest) stayed behind for a minute and was nowhere to be seen. Crack me up.

  • They sure do take a lot of time to decide whether drinking is the first order of business or not. How different is that from what we do today? The first question I usually have is "what are you going to have"? (They finally decide drinking is not their primary objective, and let everyone drink as much or as little as they chose. Wise choice.)

  • Hmmmm...Green Melange Tea from the Tea Source is still my favorite.

  • My favorites of their observations are:
    • Open loves are held to be more honourable than secret ones (no secret love affairs, people)

    • in the pursuit of his love the custom of mankind allows him to do many strange things...and he will not be judged harshly by his friends for doing weird stuff in the name of love. (True. I tend to stand by my people when they have new crushes or boy troubles.)

    • If the object of one's affections turns out to be a jackwad, the person who is deceived is off the hook, for if he is deceived he has committed a noble error. For he has proved that for his part he will do anything for anybody with a view to virtue and improvement. (Don't give up! It's not you, it's him!!)

  • Oh, geez. Now they're going into elements, and seasons, and something else.

  • I wonder if Plato and his chums could relate to the girls of Sex and the City.

  • Interesting...they cure their hiccups by sneezing. And then they laugh about it.

  • I really like my "shhhh...I'm reading" mug from Barnes and Noble. I wonder if they make a "shhhh...I'm blogging" mug. (a few minutes of browsing through cafe press later) Not exactly, but they do have a lot of blog-related mugs.

  • Oh, lord. Now Aristophanes is describing the original three sexes - man, woman, and man and woman melted into one. Don't they have another party to go to? How much more of this is there? (See The Origin of Love from Hedwig and the Angry Inch for a description of this).

  • No wonder I didn't finish reading Brideshead Revisited before it was due back at the library. I'm easily distracted by stuff I find on the Internet. Okay. Back to The Symposium. I've made it this far, and have to finish. It would be much easier if I didn't have 8 pounds of perfect (my cat) crawling all over me...
And so on. There's a reason I never took a philosophy class, people.


Liz said...

Are you really the daughter of a woman who minored in philosophy? Go read his allegory of the cave.

Amy said...

That's funny! I liked what I've read of the Symposium and most Plato for that matter, but hey, that's why there are so many books out there, for all us different readers.