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PLATONIC LOVE: an concept of divine and transcendental love.....

08.11.2009 01:43 EST
What is Platonic Love? Dictionary says that Platonic Love means "A pure, spiritual affection, subsisting between persons of opposite sex, unmixed with carnal desires, and regarding the mind only and its excellences; -- a species of love for which Plato was a warm advocate." Platonic love is a term commonly applied to an affectionate relationship into which the sexual element does not enter, especially in cases where one might easily assume otherwise. The English term dates back as far as Sir William Davenant's Platonic Lovers (1636). It is derived from the concept in Plato's Symposium, of the love of the idea of good which lies at the root of all virtue and truth. Platonic love, in its modern popular sense, is a non-sexual affectionate relationship. A simple example of Platonic relationships is a deep, non-sexual friendship, not subject to gender pairings and including close relatives. At the same time, this interpretation is a misunderstanding of the nature of the Platonic ideal of love which from its origin was that of a chaste but passionate love, based not on lack of erotic interest but on spiritual transmutation of the sex force, opening up vast expanses of subtler enjoyments than sex. In its original Platonic form, this love was meant to bring the lovers closer to wisdom and the Platonic Form of Beauty. It is described in depth in Plato's Phaedrus and Symposium, where the examples given refer exclusively to the love between a man and a boy. In the Phaedrus, it is said to be a form of divine madness that is a gift from the gods, and that its proper expression is rewarded by the gods in the afterlife; in the Symposium, the method by which love takes one to the form of beauty and wisdom is detailed.


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