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Plato's Symposium (Diotoma's Ladder of Love)
Transcript of Plato's Symposium (Diotoma's Ladder of Love)
Rung #1: A Beautiful Body
Rung #3: Beautiful Souls
Then comes the realization that what sets the beautiful people apart is another matter to be considered: that the character and intellect of a person must be in proportion to beauty to satisfy.
Rung #6: Beauty Itself
In Plato’s Symposium the priestess, Diotoma, teaches Socrates "the philosophy of love."
Diotoma refers to this concept as "The Ladder of Love" because there are different levels towards achieving a deep spiritual connection of true and lasting love.
The journey to the “Sanctuary of Love” here is meant as a culmination of experience that leads to a deep understanding and appreciation for yourself and your place in this world. Which is what we are attempting to explain in terms of “The Good Life”.
What do you think the definition of "noble love" is?
What would be the opposite of "noble love"?
First, in youth, you experience the beauty of the body, the aspects of physical beauty, characterized by an emphasis on physical attractiveness as the only element necessary to feel love.
Gratification is achieved superficially because you don’t have a vision of who you are of what you stand for yet.
Loving a beautiful body is natural and easy to do so it’s the lowest rung on the ladder.
Rung #2: All Beautiful Bodies
A lover will feel passionate toward a beautiful person, then realize that many or all beautiful people are capable of satisfying the desire for beauty, and it becomes less fulfilling.
I must find the one!
Rung #4: The Beauty of Laws & Institutions
The passion for the "beauty of the body" is transferred to "the soul"
In later stages of maturity, a person moves away from focusing solely on other individuals and finds personal fulfillment in social graces and politics and is satisfied with constructing their individual identity.
Rung #5: The Beauty of Knowledge
Beauty of the body and soul has now been put in perspective with other aspects of life and is no longer a singular passion.
Fulfillment is found in education and hobbies so the satisfaction of passions is received in ways other than connection with an individual.
During these years stronger bonds with people are formed and relationships are more fulfilling because "spiritual loveliness" is sought out, and the individual discovers who he is and what he stands for and is better able to forge a connection with like minded people who have a maturity equal to his own.
The lover comes to a realization that meaning is not found in material things or in youthful beauty, but in deeper personal connections that sustain us.
It is after this recognition that we possess virtue, we understand what is valuable in life, and then it is said that we are closest to heaven on earth when we feel whole.
Do you think that Diotoma's ladder is an accurate portrayal of finding true love?
Siddartha claims that neither he nor anyone can teach the path to finding enlightenment becuase verbal explanations are limited and can never communicate the entirety of enlightenment.
However, Diotoma is able to teach Socrates how to attain the good life through the "philosophy of love."
Diotoma's Ladder of Love
Do think everyone makes it to the top of the ladder?