Love And God Among Humans (Symposium By Plato)
Our world is very mysteries, as there are quite many events that cannot be explained from the scientific point of view. Theses are events that people relate to the paranormal category. From the ancient times people tried to find the explanations, prove or disagree the question of existence of evil spirits, afterlife and ghosts. As we know, our ancestors tried to explain some events that were beyond understanding of people. They believed in the existence of God, ghosts, evils spirits and paid particular attention to the process of reincarnation, considering it the beginning of a new life after the death.
It s not a secret that people are always connected the notion of God with love. These two notions are very interrelated. Existence of love as well as the existence of God is very difficult to explain. It has no physical form and it cannot be touched or explained in words. Many philosophers and writes explained its existence or non-existence. It is also very difficult to explain and tell what it is. It is non-material, like spirit, God or dreams. It exists only in our souls that is why, everybody has his own explanation about love. Speaking about love in connection with God, we may say that sometimes these notions are practically the same, as God is always associated with love, immense and amazing. There are also quite many philosophical works connected with the topic of love and many philosophers tried to explain what is it and how it is presented in our life. The question of love existence and finding out what form it has is very disputable. This question cannot be answered unanimously. There were a lot of strengths and weaknesses in the arguments supporting the idea of existence of love. The work under consideration and discussion is Symposium by Plato. This work has a lot of different topics to pay attention to and discuss but the main one is, probably, love and its existence. It is very tricky to explain what love actually is. Sometimes it is explained as a spirit that exists in soil of every person, but it is very hard to explain and see. Some philosophers, examining the existence and notion of love considered it some sort of opium of the people. It is the only feeling that makes people weak. When people are exposed to love, they are very weak and are very easy to control. The elimination of love as the deceptive happiness of men was a requirement for their real happiness. The call to discard their illusions about condition was to call to dump a condition, which needed illusions. Considering his theory more thoroughly, it sounded rather reasonable. As we know, religion is one of the most powerful sources of control and oppression that is why it was used as a powerful tool to control people’s lives and impose some ideas. The same we can sayd about love. It is impossible to measure or touch, it can only be felt. In general, the notion of love existence or inexistence is very personal, as it is only up to the person to decide, what to believe in and whether the existence of love is truthful or not.
Plato firmly supposed and believed that the physical world did not matter at all. It was presented in the form in the ideal world and this importance and realization of the of form and thought can be seen in a great number of the works of art. According to Plato, in the physical world, people were not able to see the real objects, they could only see and pay attention to the shadows of it. The Symposium by Plato provides readers with a numerous different points of view and theories about love, its existence, importance and insignificance. This drunken conversation of Eros demonstrates ideas that are still relevant. Many modern writers and philosophers use this work as a basis for their considerations and understanding of love, its meaning and sense. A lot of things underwent some changes and there have been many diverse points on approximately every subject that is known to man, but the thoughts and ideas presented in Plato’s Symposium still hold the truth today. Unfortunately, today people are more worried with Common Love than its Heavenly alternative. They judge other people and see beauty by its outside appearance not its inherent inner beauty. They stick to Common Love leading to divorces and unhappiness. Plato tell about two kinds of love, one attracting the eyes, and lust; and the other kind of love moving the hearts, the love that is judged not by physical beauty, but by interior beauty.
Plato states that Love is the kid of Resource and Poverty, appeared on the day when Aphrodite was born. Plato discussed the existence of love in his work, stating that this notion was very old and it appeared with the appetence of Earth and Gods. It is not impossible to understand, but only to feel. Feelings give the birth of understanding what love actually is.
It does not matter, whether love is mortal or immortal, it can appear in the beginning of the day and then disappear before the day came to the end. He can come back to life once more like his father Resource, but he is not able to hold onto the resources he possess. Living between mortality and immortality, Diotima names Love a great spirit (Plato 202) He states that such great spirits are kind of intermediates for the Gods and Humanity. This proves once again, that Love is impossible to shape, it is considered something special, close to Gods. Like people cannot explain the existence of God, see the subsistence of evil spirits, Love cannot be explained as well. Love falls between amazing sweetness and the heart-wrenchingly bitter (Scott Welton 25). When people love something it is often something they cannot obtain, and once they have it, they continually tend to fall out of love with this thing. The most controversial thing is that people are always struggling for Love, but when they got it, the value of it disappears (Plato 56). People seem interested only in what they cannot posses at the time. People are always looking for something beautiful and good, but what does not belong to them. It is like the law of love, stating that people are always struggling for something unknown to have it and love, but when the goal is reached, they loss the interest. Since nothing is enduring, this is just another thing people cannot have and as a result want to love.
Plato connects the notion of love with the existence of Gods. They express prayers and sacrifices from people to the Gods, and commands and presents from the Gods to people. Because of Gods, the universe is all interrelated and whole. The Gods never talk directly to people, but they always use their spirits in order to convey their commands. People always pray about love and ask Gods to send it that is why we can se the relations between love and god. However, the most interesting thing is that neither love, nor God can be seen, both of them are not material (Plato 45). This is, probably, one of the most interesting things we can find in the novel by Plato. Love is also amongst wisdom and ignorance, as neither the gods nor the ignorant love wisdom. The Gods already have this wisdom so they do not need it more; consequently, love has no part in it. Ignorant people do not like wisdom or desire it, as they are entirely satisfied with themselves. As they think they do not require wisdom, they do not wish or love it. As a result, the idea of love stands between wisdom and ignorance.
The work by Plato and themes considered in it can are very popular, that is why they were actively discussed in many other works by different writers and philosophers. Among a great number of questions that people were interested in, the problem of God existence is, probably, one of the most interesting and burning. It has evoked a lot of lively discussions and arguments. Except Plato, many philosophers have demonstrated arguments supporting the idea of the existence of God and love, as its main consequence. For instance, Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician provided people with a logical argument supporting the existence of God. He stated that, God may exists or may not at all. If people believe in God and his existence, then they will be rewarded with the perpetuity in heaven (Swinburne 36). He also stated that due to the existence of God, people can be forgiven in all their sins, but if not, they are forced to live with sins.
One of the arguments proposed by Nietzsche is that it is exactly man who made God n order to have at least something to base people’s morals and values on. He says it is time for people to understand this, re-estimate their morals and values, and consider life positions from different point of view (Clarke 23). This is a very good argument as if people accept the idea, they are basing their principles on a creature that does not exist. If this is true, they need to re-estimate their morals. Marx was one philosopher arguing against the existence of God. In accordance with his argument, religion was regarded as a part of some ideological view that supported the oppressed to recognize their fate. He stated that religion was the sigh of the oppressed human being, the emotion of a cold-blooded world, and the soul of inexpressive conditions.
In general, there are quite many things that can be learnt learn from Plato’s Symposium on love and God. Love should come from the heart not from yearn and depravity. Existence of God and love are always interrelated by many people, as they connect love with God, thinking that only God can give us the real love. Actually, the problem of God existence is very subjective, as people have their own attitude to this topic. Plato has demonstrated his personal vision of love and God, proving their existence in a real world.
Clarke, Richard, F. The Existence of God: A Dialogue in Three Chapters. London: READ BOOKS, 2006
Plato. The Symposium. New York: Forgotten Books, 2000
Scott, Garry Allan and William Welton. Erotic wisdom: philosophy and intermediacy in Plato's Symposium. Los Angeles: SUNY Press, 2008
Swinburne, Richard. The existence of God. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004