Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Platonic Love


Plato (427-347 BC), the Greek philosopher, was mentored by Socrates (469-399 BC).   Plato’s most famous student was Aristotle (384-322 BC).

Quotes from Plato’s writing

Plato, left, with Aristotle

“At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.”
“Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods.”
“He was a wise man who invented beer.”
(Plato and his friends developed their ideas at “symposiums,” the name for their all night drinking parties.)

*          *          *
Helen, a graduate student studying philosophy, thought she was dreaming when she walked into a sports bar and saw him. He had a full gray beard and piercing eyes.

He was sipping beer as she approached.
Helen: Pardon me, you look just like Plato.
Plato: Yes, I am Plato.
Helen: But I thought you died centuries ago.
Plato: Oh, the report of my death was greatly exaggerated.
Helen: But how do you – I mean at your age – how do you keep….
Plato: You can extend your life, too. I just eat organic foods and throw the discus three times a day.
Helen: I’m so glad that I found you. You see, I need to know about love. I just ended a relationship and I need to know what makes perfect, lasting love.
Plato: What do you wish for in a love relationship?
Helen: Well, for starters I want complete trust. Also, I want our minds to meet and someone who can listen to my ideas and understand. I need someone who will be my best friend and sees the beauty of my mind and soul; a soul-mate!
Plato: You’re very perceptive. The beauty of your mind needs to be recognized by your partner. However, you must also accept and validate the beauty of your partner’s mind. Thus, a meeting of minds allows for lasting love. Hundreds of years after I wrote about love, others have called it “Platonic love.”
Helen: But I want physical intimacy, too!
Plato: Platonic love encourages intimacy. Examine my writings. I never said otherwise. In recent centuries Platonic love has been misinterpreted and the sexual and spiritual meaning of “eros” has been lost. Platonic love certainly includes sexual intimacy. In fact, physical intimacy reaches its peak and is most fulfilling after the meeting of the minds is achieved. However, both you and your partner must reach out to each other’s ideas. You need to cultivate an understanding and respect for each other’s thoughts even when there are differences. Love fades when couples rail against each other’s opinions. Love grows as differences are cherished and new ideas emerge. This allows you both to feel a spiritual awakening; the full passion of love.
Helen: For all these years I’ve searched for love and sought someone who thinks as I do. Now I realize I should seek Platonic love, where friendship and acceptance of differences brings us together. I’m already 25. I hope it’s not too late!
Plato, smiling at Helen, then glancing across the room:
Pardon me, but I have to meet my friend, Aristotle.
Helen: He’s alive, too?
Plato: Well, Aris is even more fit than I am. But, of course, he is younger.
Plato walks into the crowd. A few moments later Helen loses sight of him.

The Road to Power Snuggling
Use Plato’s words. Accept and cherish your partner’s differences. Validate their ideas by saying, “From your point of view, what you say makes perfect sense.” (Even when you don’t agree.) And stop there, without adding any “buts.” Listen and ask questions to fully understand your partner and they will respond in kind. Over time there will be mutual respect and greater agreement. A meeting of the minds will allow your love to grow.

Your Weekly Homework
Think of the areas, both similarities and differences, which will bring you closer to the Platonic ideal. Though no couple achieves the ideal, continue to work towards it. And physical intimacy, if accompanied with Platonic friendship, will lead to a more fulfilling relationship.

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One Response to “Platonic Love”
  1. says:

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