Plato is one of the greatest ancient Greek philosophers. He was a student of Socrates and his writings delve into philosophy, theology, mathematics, cosmology and epistemology. He was the founder of the Academy of Athens, which was one of the first educational institutes in the western world and it was founded in the 4 th century BC. Plato, Socrates and Aristotle gave the foundations of Philosophy and Science.
Plato was a Pythagorean and as a Pythagorean he was familiar with numerology and music theory and harmony. Mathematics and harmony are interconnected. Therefore in the works of Plato there is the assumption that some type of a music code was embedded.
Jay Kennedy of the University of Manchester has done an extensive research into Plato and Pythagoras and now Kennedy suggests that he found a way to crack the code that Plato has used. He believes that the pattern that Plato used corresponds to the twelve note musical scale and is all over his texts.
Kennedy suggests that Plato’s hidden philosophy can be explained by the fact that he believed that the Universe is not governed by the Gods, which was pretty radical in this era, and therefore he used mathematical structures and music to hide his message from Socrates and the other conventional philosophers of that Era who were very careful when they talked about Gods…
As a result, is it possible to uncover a whole hidden meaning in the works of Plato, one that is yet to be deciphered? If that is the case it will probably take many years to fully decipher Plato’s writings.
The Pythagorean Theory of Music and Color
HARMONY is a state recognized by great philosophers as the immediate prerequisite of beauty. A compound is termed beautiful only when its parts are in harmonious combination. The world is called beautiful and its Creator is designated the Good because good perforce must act in conformity with its own nature and good acting according to its own nature is harmony, because the good which it accomplishes is harmonious with the good which it is. Beauty, therefore, is harmony manifesting its own intrinsic nature in the world of form.
The universe is made up of successive gradations of good, these gradations ascending from matter (which is the least degree of good) to spirit (which is the greatest degree of good). In man, his superior nature is the summum bonum. It therefore follows that his highest nature most readily cognizes good because the good external to him in the world is in harmonic ratio with the good present in his soul. What man terms evil is therefore, in common with matter, merely the least degree of its own opposite. The least degree of good presupposes likewise the least degree of harmony and beauty. Thus deformity (evil) is really the least harmonious combination of elements naturally harmonic as individual units. Deformity is unnatural, for, the sum of all things being the Good, it is natural that all things should partake of the Good and be arranged in combinations that are harmonious. Harmony is the manifesting expression of the Will of the eternal Good.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF MUSIC
It is highly probable that the Greek initiates gained their knowledge of the philosophic and therapeutic aspects of music from the Egyptians, who, in turn, considered Hermes the founder of the art. According to one legend, this god constructed the first lyre by stretching strings across the concavity of a turtle shell. Both Isis and Osiris were patrons of music and poetry. Plato, in describing the antiquity of these arts among the Egyptians, declared that songs and poetry had existed in Egypt for at least ten thousand years, and that these were of such an exalted and inspiring nature that only gods or godlike men could have composed them. In the Mysteries the lyre was regarded as the secret symbol of the human constitution, the body of the instrument representing the physical form, the strings the nerves, and the musician the spirit. Playing upon the nerves, the spirit thus created the harmonies of normal functioning, which, however, became discords if the nature of man were defiled.
While the early Chinese, Hindus, Persians, Egyptians, Israelites, and Greeks employed both vocal and instrumental music in their religious ceremonials, also to complement their poetry and drama, it remained for Pythagoras to raise the art to its true dignity by demonstrating its mathematical foundation. Although it is said that he himself was not a musician, Pythagoras is now generally credited with the discovery of the diatonic scale. Having first learned the divine theory of music from the priests of the various Mysteries into which he had been accepted, Pythagoras pondered for several years upon the laws governing consonance and dissonance. How he actually solved the problem is unknown, but the following explanation has been invented.
One day while meditating upon the problem of harmony, Pythagoras chanced to pass a brazier's shop where workmen were pounding out a piece of metal upon an anvil. By noting the variances in pitch between the sounds made by large hammers and those made by smaller implements, and carefully estimating the harmonies and discords resulting from combinations of these sounds, he gained his first clue to the musical intervals of the diatonic scale. He entered the shop, and after carefully examining the tools and making mental note of their weights, returned to his own house and constructed an arm of wood so that it: extended out from the wall of his room. At regular intervals along this arm he attached four cords, all of like composition, size, and weight. To the first of these he attached a twelve-pound weight, to the second a nine-pound weight, to the third an eight-pound weight, and to the fourth a six-pound weight. These different weights corresponded to the sizes of the braziers' hammers.
Pythagoras thereupon discovered that the first and fourth strings when sounded together produced the harmonic interval of the octave, for doubling the weight had the same effect as halving the string. The tension of the first string being twice that of the fourth string, their ratio was said to be 2:1, or duple. By similar experimentation he ascertained that the first and third string produced the harmony of the diapente, or the interval of the fifth. The tension of the first string being half again as much as that of the third string, their ratio was said to be 3:2, or sesquialter. Likewise the second and fourth strings, having the same ratio as the first and third strings, yielded a diapente harmony. Continuing his investigation, Pythagoras discovered that the first and second strings produced the harmony of the diatessaron, or the interval of the third and the tension of the first string being a third greater than that of the second string, their ratio was said to be 4:3, or sesquitercian. The third and fourth strings, having the same ratio as the first and second strings, produced another harmony of the diatessaron. According to Iamblichus, the second and third strings had the ratio of 8:9, or epogdoan.
The key to harmonic ratios is hidden in the famous Pythagorean tetractys, or pyramid of dots. The tetractys is made up of the first four numbers--1, 2, 3, and 4--which in their proportions reveal the intervals of the octave, the diapente, and the diatessaron. While the law of harmonic intervals as set forth above is true, it has been subsequently proved that hammers striking metal in the manner
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THE INTERVALS AND HARMONIES OF THE SPHERES.
From Stanley's The History of Philosophy.
In the Pythagorean concept of the music of the spheres, the interval between the earth and the sphere of the fixed stars was considered to be a diapason--the most perfect harmonic interval. The allowing arrangement is most generally accepted for the musical intervals of the planets between the earth and the sphere of the fixed stars: From the sphere of the earth to the sphere of the moon one tone from the sphere of the moon to that of Mercury, one half-tone from Mercury to Venus, one-half from Venus to the sun, one and one-half tones from the sun to Mars, one tone from Mars to Jupiter, one-half tone from Jupiter to Saturn, one-half tone from Saturn to the fixed stars, one-half tone. The sum of these intervals equals the six whole tones of the octave.
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THE CONSONANCES OF THE MUNDANE MONOCHORD.
From Fludd's De Musica Mundana.
This diagrammatic sector represents the major gradations of energy and substance between elemental earth and absolute unconditioned force. Beginning with the superior, the fifteen graduated spheres descend in the following order: Limitless and Eternal Life the superior, the middle, and the inferior Empyrean the seven planets and the four elements. Energy is symbolized by Fludd as a pyramid with its base upon the concave surface of the superior Empyrean, and substance as another Pyramid with its base upon the convex surface of the sphere (not planet) of earth. These pyramids demonstrate the relative proportions of energy and substance entering into the composition of the fifteen planes of being. It will be noted that the ascending pyramid of substance touches but does not pierce the fifteenth sphere--that of Limitless and Eternal Life. Likewise, the descending pyramid of energy touches but does not pierce the first sphere--the grossest condition of substance. The plane of the sun is denominated the sphere of equality, for here neither energy nor substance predominate. The mundane monochord consists of a hypothetical string stretched from the base of the pyramid of energy to the base of the pyramid of substance.
described will not produce the various tones ascribed to them. In all probability, therefore, Pythagoras actually worked out his theory of harmony from the monochord--a contrivance consisting of a single string stretched between two pegs and supplied with movable frets.
To Pythagoras music was one of the dependencies of the divine science of mathematics, and its harmonies were inflexibly controlled by mathematical proportions. The Pythagoreans averred that mathematics demonstrated the exact method by which the good established and maintained its universe. Number therefore preceded harmony, since it was the immutable law that governs all harmonic proportions. After discovering these harmonic ratios, Pythagoras gradually initiated his disciples into this, the supreme arcanum of his Mysteries. He divided the multitudinous parts of creation into a vast number of planes or spheres, to each of which he assigned a tone, a harmonic interval, a number, a name, a color, and a form. He then proceeded to prove the accuracy of his deductions by demonstrating them upon the different planes of intelligence and substance ranging from the most abstract logical premise to the most concrete geometrical solid. From the common agreement of these diversified methods of proof he established the indisputable existence of certain natural laws.
Having once established music as an exact science, Pythagoras applied his newly found law of harmonic intervals to all the phenomena of Nature, even going so far as to demonstrate the harmonic relationship of the planets, constellations, and elements to each other. A notable example of modern corroboration of ancient philosophical reaching is that of the progression of the elements according to harmonic ratios. While making a list of the elements in the ascending order of their atomic weights, John A. Newlands discovered at every eighth element a distinct repetition of properties. This discovery is known as the law of octaves in modern chemistry.
Since they held that harmony must be determined not by the sense perceptions but by reason and mathematics, the Pythagoreans called themselves Canonics, as distinguished from musicians of the Harmonic School, who asserted taste and instinct to be the true normative principles of harmony. Recognizing, however, the profound effect: of music upon the senses and emotions, Pythagoras did not hesitate to influence the mind and body with what he termed "musical medicine."
Pythagoras evinced such a marked preference for stringed instruments that he even went so far as to warn his disciples against allowing their ears to be defiled by the sounds of flutes or cymbals. He further declared that the soul could be purified from its irrational influences by solemn songs sung to the accompaniment of the lyre. In his investigation of the therapeutic value of harmonics, Pythagoras discovered that the seven modes--or keys--of the Greek system of music had the power to incite or allay the various emotions. It is related that while observing the stars one night he encountered a young man befuddled with strong drink and mad with jealousy who was piling faggots about his mistress' door with the intention of burning the house. The frenzy of the youth was accentuated by a flutist a short distance away who was playing a tune in the stirring Phrygian mode. Pythagoras induced the musician to change his air to the slow, and rhythmic Spondaic mode, whereupon the intoxicated youth immediately became composed and, gathering up his bundles of wood, returned quietly to his own home.
There is also an account of how Empedocles, a disciple of Pythagoras, by quickly changing the mode of a musical composition he was playing, saved the life of his host, Anchitus, when the latter was threatened with death by the sword of one whose father he had condemned to public execution. It is also known that Esculapius, the Greek physician, cured sciatica and other diseases of the nerves by blowing a loud trumpet in the presence of the patient.
Pythagoras cured many ailments of the spirit, soul, and body by having certain specially prepared musical compositions played in the presence of the sufferer or by personally reciting short selections from such early poets as Hesiod and Homer. In his university at Crotona it was customary for the Pythagoreans to open and to close each day with songs--those in the morning calculated to clear the mind from sleep and inspire it to the activities of the coming day those in the evening of a mode soothing, relaxing, and conducive to rest. At the vernal equinox, Pythagoras caused his disciples to gather in a circle around one of their number who led them in song and played their accompaniment upon a lyre.
The therapeutic music of Pythagoras is described by Iamblichus thus: "And there are certain melodies devised as remedies against the passions of the soul, and also against despondency and lamentation, which Pythagoras invented as things that afford the greatest assistance in these maladies. And again, he employed other melodies against rage and anger, and against every aberration of the soul. There is also another kind of modulation invented as a remedy against desires." (See The Life of Pythagoras.)
It is probable that the Pythagoreans recognized a connection between the seven Greek modes and the planets. As an example, Pliny declares that Saturn moves in the Dorian mode and Jupiter in the Phrygian mode. It is also apparent that the temperaments are keyed to the various modes, and the passions likewise. Thus, anger--which is a fiery passion--may be accentuated by a fiery mode or its power neutralized by a watery mode.
The far-reaching effect exercised by music upon the culture of the Greeks is thus summed up by Emil Nauman: "Plato depreciated the notion that music was intended solely to create cheerful and agreeable emotions, maintaining rather that it should inculcate a love of all that is noble, and hatred of all that is mean, and that nothing could more strongly influence man's innermost feelings than melody and rhythm. Firmly convinced of this, he agreed with Damon of Athens, the musical instructor of Socrates, that the introduction of a new and presumably enervating scale would endanger the future of a whole nation, and that it was not possible to alter a key without shaking the very foundations of the State. Plato affirmed that music which ennobled the mind was of a far higher kind than that which merely appealed to the senses, and he strongly insisted that it was the paramount duty of the Legislature to suppress all music of an effeminate and lascivious character, and to encourage only s that which was pure and dignified that bold and stirring melodies were for men, gentle and soothing ones for women. From this it is evident that music played a considerable part in the education of the Greek youth. The greatest care was also to be taken in the selection of instrumental music, because the absence of words rendered its signification doubtful, and it was difficult to foresee whether it would exercise upon the people a benign or baneful influence. Popular taste, being always tickled by sensuous and meretricious effects, was to be treated with deserved contempt. (See The History of Music.)
Even today martial music is used with telling effect in times of war, and religious music, while no longer developed in accordance with the ancient theory, still profoundly influences the emotions of the laity.
THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES
The most sublime but least known of all the Pythagorean speculations was that of sidereal harmonics. It was said that of all men only Pythagoras heard the music of the spheres. Apparently the Chaldeans were the first people to conceive of the heavenly bodies joining in a cosmic chant as they moved in stately manner across the sky. Job describes a time "when the stars of the morning sang together," and in The Merchant of Venice the author of the Shakesperian plays
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THE MUNDANE MONOCHORD WITH ITS PROPORTIONS AND INTERVALS.
From Fludd's De Musica Mundana.
In this chart is set forth a summary of Fludd's theory of universal music. The interval between the element of earth and the highest heaven is considered as a double octave, thus showing the two extremes of existence to be in disdiapason harmony. It is signifies that the highest heaven, the sun, and the earth have the same time, the difference being in pitch. The sun is the lower octave of the highest heaven and the earth the lower octave of the sun. The lower octave (Γ to G) comprises that part of the universe in which substance predominate over energy. Its harmonies, therefore, are more gross than those of the higher octave (G to g) wherein energy predominates over substance. "If struck in the more spiritual part," writes Fludd, "the monochord will give eternal life if in the more material part, transitory life." It will be noted that certain elements, planets, and celestial spheres sustain a harmonic ratio to each other, Fludd advanced this as a key to the sympathies and antipathies existing between the various departments of Nature.
writes: "There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st but in his motion like an angel sings." So little remains, however, of the Pythagorean system of celestial music that it is only possible to approximate his actual theory.
Pythagoras conceived the universe to be an immense monochord, with its single string connected at its upper end to absolute spirit and at its lower end to absolute matter--in other words, a cord stretched between heaven and earth. Counting inward from the circumference of the heavens, Pythagoras, according to some authorities, divided the universe into nine parts according to others, into twelve parts. The twelvefold system was as follows: The first division was called the empyrean, or the sphere of the fixed stars, and was the dwelling place of the immortals. The second to twelfth divisions were (in order) the spheres of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the sun, Venus, Mercury, and the moon, and fire, air, water, and earth. This arrangement of the seven planets (the sun and moon being regarded as planets in the old astronomy) is identical with the candlestick symbolism of the Jews--the sun in the center as the main stem with three planets on either side of it.
The names given by the Pythagoreans to the various notes of the diatonic scale were, according to Macrobius, derived from an estimation of the velocity and magnitude of the planetary bodies. Each of these gigantic spheres as it rushed endlessly through space was believed to sound a certain tone caused by its continuous displacement of the æthereal diffusion. As these tones were a manifestation of divine order and motion, it must necessarily follow that they partook of the harmony of their own source. "The assertion that the planets in their revolutions round the earth uttered certain sounds differing according to their respective 'magnitude, celerity and local distance,' was commonly made by the Greeks. Thus Saturn, the farthest planet, was said to give the gravest note, while the Moon, which is the nearest, gave the sharpest. 'These sounds of the seven planets, and the sphere of the fixed stars, together with that above us [Antichthon], are the nine Muses, and their joint symphony is called Mnemosyne.'" (See The Canon.)This quotation contains an obscure reference to the ninefold division of the universe previously mentioned.
The Greek initiates also recognized a fundamental relationship between the individual heavens or spheres of the seven planets, and the seven sacred vowels. The first heaven uttered the sound of the sacred vowel Α (Alpha) the second heaven, the sacred vowel Ε (Epsilon) the third, Η (Eta) the fourth, Ι (Iota) the fifth, Ο (Omicron) the sixth, Υ (Upsilon) and the seventh heaven, the sacred vowel Ω (Omega). When these seven heavens sing together they produce a perfect harmony which ascends as an everlasting praise to the throne of the Creator. (See Irenæus' Against Heresies.) Although not so stated, it is probable that the planetary heavens are to be considered as ascending in the Pythagorean order, beginning with the sphere of the moon, which would be the first heaven.
Many early instruments had seven Strings, and it is generally conceded that Pythagoras was the one who added the eighth string to the lyre of Terpander. The seven strings were always related both to their correspondences in the human body and to the planets. The names of God were also conceived to be formed from combinations of the seven planetary harmonies. The Egyptians confined their sacred songs to the seven primary sounds, forbidding any others to be uttered in their temples. One of their hymns contained the following invocation: "The seven sounding tones praise Thee, the Great God, the ceaseless working Father of the whole universe." In another the Deity describes Himself thus: "I am the great indestructible lyre of the whole world, attuning the songs of the heavens. (See Nauman's History of Music.)
The Pythagoreans believed that everything which existed had a voice and that all creatures were eternally singing the praise of the Creator. Man fails to hear these divine melodies because his soul is enmeshed in the illusion of material existence. When he liberates himself from the bondage of the lower world with its sense limitations, the music of the spheres will again be audible as it was in the Golden Age. Harmony recognizes harmony, and when the human soul regains its true estate it will not only hear the celestial choir but also join with it in an everlasting anthem of praise to that Eternal Good controlling the infinite number of parts and conditions of Being.
The Greek Mysteries included in their doctrines a magnificent concept of the relationship existing between music and form. The elements of architecture, for example, were considered as comparable to musical modes and notes, or as having a musical counterpart. Consequently when a building was erected in which a number of these elements were combined, the structure was then likened to a musical chord, which was harmonic only when it fully satisfied the mathematical requirements of harmonic intervals. The realization of this analogy between sound and form led Goethe to declare that "architecture is crystallized music."
In constructing their temples of initiation, the early priests frequently demonstrated their superior knowledge of the principles underlying the phenomena known as vibration. A considerable part of the Mystery rituals consisted of invocations and intonements, for which purpose special sound chambers were constructed. A word whispered in one of these apartments was so intensified that the reverberations made the entire building sway and be filled with a deafening roar. The very wood and stone used in the erection of these sacred buildings eventually became so thoroughly permeated with the sound vibrations of the religious ceremonies that when struck they would reproduce the same tones thus repeatedly impressed into their substances by the rituals.
Every element in Nature has its individual keynote. If these elements are combined in a composite structure the result is a chord that, if sounded, will disintegrate the compound into its integral parts. Likewise each individual has a keynote that, if sounded, will destroy him. The allegory of the walls of Jericho falling when the trumpets of Israel were sounded is undoubtedly intended to set forth the arcane significance of individual keynote or vibration.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF COLOR
"Light," writes Edwin D. Babbitt, "reveals the glories of the external world and yet is the most glorious of them all. It gives beauty, reveals beauty and is itself most beautiful. It is the analyzer, the truth-teller and the exposer of shams, for it shows things as they are. Its infinite streams measure off the universe and flow into our telescopes from stars which are quintillions of miles distant. On the other hand it descends to objects inconceivably small, and reveals through the microscope objects fifty millions of times less than can be seen by the naked eye. Like all other fine forces, its movement is wonderfully soft, yet penetrating and powerful. Without its vivifying influence, vegetable, animal, and human life must immediately perish from the earth, and general ruin take place. We shall do well, then, to consider this potential and beautiful principle of light and its component colors, for the more deeply we penetrate into its inner laws, the more will it present itself as a marvelous storehouse of power to vitalize, heal, refine, and delight mankind." (See The Principles of Light and Color.)
Since light is the basic physical manifestation of life, bathing all creation in its radiance, it is highly important to realize, in part at least, the subtle nature of this divine substance. That which is called light is actually a rate of vibration causing certain reactions upon the optic nerve. Few realize how they are walled in by the limitations
From Fludd's De Musica Mundana.
In this diagram two interpenetrating pyramids are again employed, one of which represents fire and the other earth. It is demonstrated according to the law of elemental harmony that fire does not enter into the composition of earth nor earth into the composition of fire. The figures on the chart disclose the harmonic relationships existing between the four primary elements according to both Fludd and the Pythagoreans. Earth consists of four parts of its own nature water of three parts of earth and one part of fire. The sphere of equality is a hypothetical point where there is an equilibrium of two parts of earth and two parts of fire. Air is composed of three parts of fire and one part of earth fire, of four parts of its own nature. Thus earth and water bear to each other the ratio of 4 to 3, or the diatessaron harmony, and water and the sphere of equality the ratio of 3 to 2, or the diapente harmony. Fire and air also bear to each other the ratio of 4 to 3, or the diatessaron harmony, and air and the sphere of equality the ratio of 3 to 2, or the diapente harmony. As the sum of a diatessaron and a diapente equals a diapason, or octave, it is evident that both the sphere of fire and the sphere of earth are in diapason harmony with the sphere of equality, and also that fire and earth are in disdiapason harmony with each other.
of the sense perceptions. Not only is there a great deal more to light than anyone has ever seen but there are also unknown forms of light which no optical equipment will ever register. There are unnumbered colors which cannot be seen, as well as sounds which cannot be heard, odors which cannot be smelt, flavors which cannot be tasted, and substances which cannot be felt. Man is thus surrounded by a supersensible universe of which he knows nothing because the centers of sense perception within himself have not been developed sufficiently to respond to the subtler rates of vibration of which that universe is composed.
Among both civilized and savage peoples color has been accepted as a natural language in which to couch their religious and philosophical doctrines. The ancient city of Ecbatana as described by Herodotus, its seven walls colored according to the seven planets, revealed the knowledge of this subject possessed by the Persian Magi. The famous zikkurat or astronomical tower of the god Nebo at Borsippa ascended in seven great steps or stages, each step being painted in the key color of one of the planetary bodies. (See Lenormant's Chaldean Magic.) It is thus evident that the Babylonians were familiar with the concept of the spectrum in its relation to the seven Creative Gods or Powers. In India, one of the Mogul emperors caused a fountain to be made with seven levels. The water pouring down the sides through specially arranged channels changed color as it descended, passing sequentially through all shades of the spectrum. In Tibet, color is employed by the native artists to express various moods. L. Austine Waddell, writing of Northern Buddhist art, notes that in Tibetan mythology "White and yellow complexions usually typify mild moods, while the red, blue, and black belong to fierce forms, though sometimes light blue, as indicating the sky, means merely celestial. Generally the gods are pictured white, goblins red, and devils black, like their European relative." (See The Buddhism of Tibet.)
In Meno, Plato, speaking through Socrates, describes color as "an effluence of form, commensurate with sight, and sensible." In Theætetus he discourses more at length on the subject thus: "Let us carry out the principle which has just been affirmed, that nothing is self-existent, and then we shall see that every color, white, black, and every other color, arises out of the eye meeting the appropriate motion, and that what we term the substance of each color is neither the active nor the passive element, but something which passes between them, and is peculiar to each percipient are you certain that the several colors appear to every animal--say a dog--as they appear to you?"
In the Pythagorean tetractys--the supreme symbol of universal forces and processes--are set forth the theories of the Greeks concerning color and music. The first three dots represent the threefold White Light, which is the Godhead containing potentially all sound and color. The remaining seven dots are the colors of the spectrum and the notes of the musical scale. The colors and tones are the active creative powers which, emanating from the First Cause, establish the universe. The seven are divided into two groups, one containing three powers and the other four a relationship also shown in the tetractys. The higher group--that of three--becomes the spiritual nature of the created universe the lower group--that of four--manifests as the irrational sphere, or inferior world.
In the Mysteries the seven Logi, or Creative Lords, are shown as streams of force issuing from the mouth of the Eternal One. This signifies the spectrum being extracted from the white light of the Supreme Deity. The seven Creators, or Fabricators, of the inferior spheres were called by the Jews the Elohim. By the Egyptians they were referred to as the Builders (sometimes as the Governors) and are depicted with great knives in their hands with which they carved the universe from its primordial substance. Worship of the planets is based upon their acceptation as the cosmic embodiments of the seven creative attributes of God. The Lords of the planets were described as dwelling within the body of the sun, for the true nature of the sun, being analogous to the white light, contains the seeds of all the tone and color potencies which it manifests.
There are numerous arbitrary arrangements setting forth the mutual relationships of the planets, the colors, and the musical notes. The most satisfactory system is that based upon the law of the octave. The sense of hearing has a much wider scope than that of sight, for whereas the ear can register from nine to eleven octaves of sound the eye is restricted to the cognition of but seven fundamental color tones, or one tone short of the octave. Red, when posited as the lowest color tone in the scale of chromatics, thus corresponds to do, the first note of the musical scale. Continuing the analogy, orange corresponds to re, yellow to mi, green to fa, blue to sol, indigo to la, and violet to si (ti). The eighth color tone necessary to complete the scale should be the higher octave of red, the first color tone. The accuracy of the above arrangement is attested by two striking facts: (1) the three fundamental notes of the musical scale--the first, the third, and the fifth--correspond with the three primary colors--red, yellow, and blue (2) the seventh, and least perfect, note of the musical scale corresponds with purple, the least perfect tone of the color scale.
In The Principles of Light and Color, Edwin D. Babbitt confirms the correspondence of the color and musical scales: "As C is at the bottom of the musical scale and made with the coarsest waves of air, so is red at the bottom of the chromatic scale and made with the coarsest waves of luminous ether. As the musical note B [the seventh note of the scale] requires 45 vibrations of air every time the note C at the lower end of the scale requires 24, or but little over half as many, so does extreme violet require about 300 trillions of vibrations of ether in a second, while extreme red requires only about 450 trillions, which also are but little more than half as many. When one musical octave is finished another one commences and progresses with just twice as many vibrations as were used in the first octave, and so the same notes are repeated on a finer scale. In the same way when the scale of colors visible to the ordinary eye is completed in the violet, another octave of finer invisible colors, with just twice as many vibrations, will commence and progress on precisely the same law."
When the colors are related to the twelve signs of the zodiac, they are arranged as the spokes of a wheel. To Aries is assigned pure red to Taurus, red-orange to Gemini, pure orange to Cancer, orange-yellow to Leo, pure yellow to Virgo, yellow-green to Libra, pure green to Scorpio, green-blue to Sagittarius, pure blue to Capricorn, blue-violet to Aquarius, pure violet and to Pisces, violet-red.
In expounding the Eastern system of esoteric philosophy, H. P, Blavatsky relates the colors to the septenary constitution of man and the seven states of matter as follows:
The stakes could not have been higher, and Raphael knew it
The first room that Raphael tackled was the Stanza Della Segnatura, or ‘Room of the Signature’, so-called as the location where the Church’s most significant documents were signed, sealed, and set into enforceable doctrine. The room also served as the Pope’s library and as the meeting place for The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura – the most powerful judicial body of the Catholic Church. Whatever colours and shapes, narratives and rhythms would ultimately adorn the four walls of this momentous chamber would oversee, if not potentially influence, some of the most consequential decisions affecting the lives (and afterlives) of all those who inhabited the sprawling Holy Roman Empire. The stakes could not have been higher, and Raphael knew it.
With four large walls to fill and a reputation to secure, Raphael set about dedicating individual frescos to each of the four principal subjects that could be found in the Pope’s library: law, religion, literature, and philosophy. First up was a painting devoted to theology, followed quickly by one on the topic of poetry, entitled Parnassus, after the mountain where according to classical myth Apollo, the leader of the muses, resided. Limbered up, Raphael was ready to take on the discipline of philosophy, which he would exalt by summoning into a timeless space nearly two dozen influential thinkers across a millennium of intellectual speculation – from Anaximander (the 7th-Century BC exponent of all things infinite) to Boethius, the 6th-Century AD author of The Consolation of Philosophy.
Ancient Aliens and Atlantis
If we take a look at ancient Egyptian History, we will come across a document titled The Tulli Papyrus.’
However, rather than being a Papyrus, the Tulli Papyrus is, in fact, a translation of a modern transcription of an ancient Egyptian document that records what is interpreted as fiery ufos. The Tulli Papyrus has cited by many as the most important ancient Egyptian texts which document the visitation of Ancient Astronauts to Egypt thousands of years ago.
In the year 22 third month of winter, sixth hour of the day (…2…) the scribas of the House of Life found it was a circle of fire that was coming in the sky (Though) it had no head, the breadth of its mouth (had) a foul odour. Its body 1 rod long (about 150 feet) and 1 rod large, It had no voice… They hearts become confused through it then they laid themselves on the bellies (…3…) They went to the King . ) to report it. His Majesty ordered (…4…) has been examined (…5…) as to all which is written in the papyrus-rolls of the House Of Life His Majesty was meditating upon what happened. Now, after some days had passed over these things, Lo! they were more numerous than anything. They were shining in the sky more than the sun to the limits of the four supports of heaven. (…6…) Powerful was the position of the fire circles. The army of the king looked on and His Majesty was in the midst of it. It was after supper. Thereupon, they (i.e. the fire circles) went up higher directed to South. Fishes and volatiles fell down from the sky. (It was) a marvel never occurred since the foundation of this Land! Caused His Majesty to be brought incense to pacify the hearth (…9… to write?) what happened in the book of the House of Life (…10… to be remembered?) for the Eternity. (Source: de Rachewiltz, Boris, Doubt Magazine, No. 41, the official magazine of the Fortean Society, pp. 214-15, Arlington, 1953.)
The above translation is just one of the many ancient documents that offer ‘evidence’ of ancient alien contact, thousands of years ago.
If we take a look at Mesopotamia, we will find the Ancient Sumerian King List, another historical document which offers more evidence of what many refer to as alien contact:
“…Alulim became king he ruled for 28800 years. Alaljar ruled for 36000 years. 2 kings they ruled for 64800 years. Then Eridug fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira. In Bad-tibira, En-men-lu-ana ruled for 43200 years…
According to the accounts written down on the Sumerian King List, Eight ancient kings ruled over ancient Mesopotamia for a period of 241,200 years, before the Great Flood.
So, if there is historical evidence that suggests how thousands of years ago, people witnessed something extraordinary on Earth, isn’t it possible that Atlantis, the mythical continent was not of Earth, but from somewhere else in space?
What if thousands of years ago, before the time of Plato, an advanced ancient alien civilization existed on Earth, and what if that civilization was Atlantis?
Is it really possible that an entire continent/island disappears in one day and one night? Perhaps not, but a massive, hypothetical spaceship may have disappeared, only it may not have sunk, but rather lifted off to the stars.
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave Examples in Film
Despite being centuries old, the allegory is appropriate for filmmaking. After all, the audience watches images on a screen. We’re meant to believe it to be real, but we know it’s false. Only when we step out of the theater back into reality can we take what we’ve learned in the cinema and apply it to our lives.
Numerous movies utilize this concept in their plots and themes. You can likely think of plenty of films where a character believes one reality and then becomes exposed to another, greater reality and is never the same. For a more detailed "Allegory of the Cave" summary, you can watch this animated film narrated by Orson Welles.
Hays’d: Decoding the Classics — ‘Rebel Without a Cause’
The Motion Picture Production Code, also known as the Hays Code after censor/stick-in-the-mud Will Hays, regulated film content for nearly 40 years, restricting, among other things, depictions of homosexuality. Filmmakers still managed to get around the Code, but gay characters were cloaked in innuendo, leading to some necessary decoding.
For queer viewers, Rebel Without a Cause is seminal for Sal Mineo&rsquos portrayal of Plato — whom he later referred to as the first gay teenager on film — but the entire movie is bathed in a gorgeously gay, Cinemascopic light. From a queer (and queer-friendly) cast and a bisexual director to a possible on-set same-sex affair and the aforementioned pioneering gay teen, Rebel remains one of the most important films in the queer film canon.
That being said, it&rsquos also kind of a turkey. Time has not been kind to Rebel Without a Cause. Today it comes off as overwrought and cloyingly melodramatic to the point of ham-fistedness.
But Dean&rsquos and Mineo&rsquos performances, as well as director Nicholas Ray&rsquos deft direction, manage to keep it from lapsing interminably into schmaltz. At its core, the film is a sensitive plea for tolerance and understanding — from family and from society. Dean plays Jim Stark, the titular rebel whose home life is falling apart thanks to an overbearing mother and a weak-willed father.
It&rsquos the 50s and apparently the answer to domestic bliss is domestic violence. That blow to feminism aside, Rebel actually offers a very interesting examination of masculinity that was perhaps ahead of its time. Without a strong male role model, Jim feels inadequate and flies off the handle whenever he gets called a &ldquochicken&rdquo — that is, when anyone questions his masculinity. As a new student at school, he finds himself an outsider and strikes up an unlikely friendship with another outsider: the bullied loner, Plato.
Plato awakens in Jim a sense of paternity he finds lacking at home. He and Judy (played by one of the premier hags of the 20th century, Natalie Wood) attempt to become surrogate parents to Plato. The idea of a non-traditional family, particularly after rejection from one&rsquos own family, is a theme with which LGBT viewers can easily identify.
As a result of his relationship with Plato, Jim is able to define on his own terms what it means to be a man — that is, what it means to stand up for what he believes in.
Jim&rsquos loyalty to and love for Plato is extraordinary because — no tea, no shade — Plato is obviously gay. Inarguably one of the most blatant homosexual characterizations of the Hays era, the Motion Picture Production Code office made sure to send a memo to Warner Bros. head Jack Warner, warning him against &ldquoinference of a questionable or homosexual relationship between Plato and Jim.&rdquo But while Plato&rsquos sexuality is only hinted at, the writing&rsquos on the wall and it&rsquos outlined in glitter: baby gurl is driving a Vespa, has a picture of Alan Ladd in his locker and he idolizes Jim with an almost naked abandon.
At one point, he&rsquos even swinging around a rubber hose like it&rsquos hardly his first time at the (gay) rodeo.
Ray had always intended the character of Plato to be gay, even naming him after the ancient Greek philosopher and noted proponent of dude-on-dude love. According to a 2005 Vanity Fair article on Ray, the director was aware of Dean&rsquos bisexuality and urged him to use in his performance. For their intimate scene in the abandoned mansion, Dean instructed Mineo to &ldquolook at me the way I look at Natalie.&rdquo
Iconic writer and veteran shade-thrower Gore Vidal even claimed that Ray, also bisexual, had an affair with the 16-year-old Wood as well as Mineo (also 16), &ldquowhile the sallow Dean skulked in and out.&rdquo Perhaps Dean, at 24, was a little too long in the tooth for Ray, though he felt a deep kinship with his leading man. As for Mineo, Ray may have felt a little something different. Describing the young actor, Ray compared Mineo to his his son Tony from his first marriage, only &ldquoprettier.&rdquo
Mineo would go on to become a queer icon in his own right. In the 1960s, Mineo realized his attraction to men (perhaps debunking VIdal&rsquos assertion) and by the 70s he had come out as bisexual. But his career faltered. He was stabbed to death in 1976 in West Hollywood, the rumored victim of some rough trade. That urban legend persisted for years because investigators found gay porn in Mineo&rsquos apartment, but the man eventually charged with his murder didn&rsquot know Mineo and it was likely a simple case of robbery. Famed gay-baiter James Franco brought Mineo&rsquos final days to life in his 2011 film, Sal.
Proving that life often imitates art, Plato also meets a violent and untimely end — the only end acceptable for most gay characters under the Hays Code. Even though he is a sympathetic character — and portrayed as such — Plato&rsquos still gotta go.
Another tragic character in Rebel that doesn&rsquot get as much attention is Jim&rsquos arch nemesis, Buzz. Almost immediately, Buzz has an ax to grind with Jim, the two engaging in a knife fight during a field trip to the planetarium. What can I say, kids in the 50s kept it really real.
But before their famous drag race, Buzz shares an intimate moment with Jim, letting the mask of machismo fall, if only for a second.
Buzz and Jim are more alike than different and under the bravado they&rsquore both scared kids trying to find their way in the world. That they&rsquore not allowed to be sincere — one of the virtues Plato attributes to Jim — is a comment on the society they grow up in.
It&rsquos the same society that keeps Plato in the closet. And the same society that tells Jim being called a chicken makes you less of a man. The same society that makes him find his father&rsquos emasculation disgraceful. This tender, even romantic, moment before Buzz&rsquos firey death matches the intimacy shared between Jim and Plato in later scenes. So of course, Buzz has gotta go.
It&rsquos as if a man expressing emotion to another man is a sin worse than, or akin to, being gay. But then again Jim&rsquos sensitivity is his saving grace. The difference is Judy. Their love is pure and true and most importantly, normal because failure to conform to society has dire consequences. The film, however, seems to recognize a need for change and so it&rsquos no wonder it struck a major chord with audiences — particularly teens — when it was first released. Here was the new voice of a generation, prematurely silenced.
Even if Rebel Without a Cause doesn&rsquot really hold up so well today, it still speaks to teens or anyone seeking to be understood. It&rsquos also one of the most influential films to come out of the 50s just ask Paula Abdul, should you find her in a rare moment of coherence.
Plato and his Hidden Music Code - History
Commentary: Quite a few comments have been posted about Symposium .
Download: A 116k text-only version is available for download.
Translated by Benjamin Jowett
Concerning the things about which you ask to be informed I believe that I am not ill-prepared with an answer. For the day before yesterday I was coming from my own home at Phalerum to the city, and one of my acquaintance, who had caught a sight of me from behind, hind, out playfully in the distance, said: Apollodorus, O thou Phalerian man, halt! So I did as I was bid and then he said, I was looking for you, Apollodorus, only just now, that I might ask you about the speeches in praise of love, which were delivered by Socrates, Alcibiades, and others, at Agathon's supper. Phoenix, the son of Philip, told another person who told me of them his narrative was very indistinct, but he said that you knew, and I wish that you would give me an account of them. Who, if not you, should be the reporter of the words of your friend? And first tell me, he said, were you present at this meeting?
Your informant, Glaucon, I said, must have been very indistinct indeed, if you imagine that the occasion was recent or that I could have been of the party.
Why, yes, he replied, I thought so.
Impossible: I said. Are you ignorant that for many years Agathon has not resided at Athens and not three have elapsed since I became acquainted with Socrates, and have made it my daily business to know all that he says and does. There was a time when I was running about the world, fancying myself to be well employed, but I was really a most wretched thing, no better than you are now. I thought that I ought to do anything rather than be a philosopher.
Well, he said, jesting apart, tell me when the meeting occurred.
In our boyhood, I replied, when Agathon won the prize with his first tragedy, on the day after that on which he and his chorus offered the sacrifice of victory.
Then it must have been a long while ago, he said and who told you-did Socrates?
No indeed, I replied, but the same person who told Phoenix-he was a little fellow, who never wore any shoes Aristodemus, of the deme of Cydathenaeum. He had been at Agathon's feast and I think that in those days there was no one who was a more devoted admirer of Socrates. Moreover, I have asked Socrates about the truth of some parts of his narrative, and he confirmed them. Then, said Glaucon, let us have the tale over again is not the road to Athens just made for conversation? And so we walked, and talked of the discourses on love and therefore, as I said at first, I am not ill-prepared to comply with your request, and will have another rehearsal of them if you like. For to speak or to hear others speak of philosophy always gives me the greatest pleasure, to say nothing of the profit. But when I hear another strain, especially that of you rich men and traders, such conversation displeases me and I pity you who are my companions, because you think that you are doing something when in reality you are doing nothing. And I dare say that you pity me in return, whom you regard as an unhappy creature, and very probably you are right. But I certainly know of you what you only think of me-there is the difference.
Companion. I see, Apollodorus, that you are just the same-always speaking evil of yourself, and of others and I do believe that you pity all mankind, with the exception of Socrates, yourself first of all, true in this to your old name, which, however deserved I know how you acquired, of Apollodorus the madman for you are always raging against yourself and everybody but Socrates.
Apollodorus. Yes, friend, and the reason why I am said to be mad, and out of my wits, is just because I have these notions of myself and you no other evidence is required.
Com. No more of that, Apollodorus but let me renew my request that you would repeat the conversation.
Apoll. Well, the tale of love was on this wise:-But perhaps I had better begin at the beginning, and endeavour to give you the exact words of Aristodemus:
He said that he met Socrates fresh from the bath and sandalled and as the sight of the sandals was unusual, he asked him whither he was going that he had been converted into such a beau:-
To a banquet at Agathon's, he replied, whose invitation to his sacrifice of victory I refused yesterday, fearing a crowd, but promising that I would come to-day instead and so I have put on my finery, because he is such a fine man. What say you to going with me unasked?
I will do as you bid me, I replied.
Follow then, he said, and let us demolish the proverb:
To the feasts of inferior men the good unbidden go instead of which our proverb will run:-
To the feasts of the good the good unbidden go and this alteration may be supported by the authority of Homer himself, who not only demolishes but literally outrages the proverb. For, after picturing Agamemnon as the most valiant of men, he makes Menelaus, who is but a fainthearted warrior, come unbidden to the banquet of Agamemnon, who is feasting and offering sacrifices, not the better to the worse, but the worse to the better.
I rather fear, Socrates, said Aristodemus, lest this may still be my case and that, like Menelaus in Homer, I shall be the inferior person, who
To the leasts of the wise unbidden goes. But I shall say that I was bidden of you, and then you will have to make an excuse.
Two going together, he replied, in Homeric fashion, one or other of them may invent an excuse by the way.
This was the style of their conversation as they went along. Socrates dropped behind in a fit of abstraction, and desired Aristodemus, who was waiting, to go on before him. When he reached the house of Agathon he found the doors wide open, and a comical thing happened. A servant coming out met him, and led him at once into the banqueting-hall in which the guests were reclining, for the banquet was about to begin. Welcome, Aristodemus, said Agathon, as soon as he appeared-you are just in time to sup with us if you come on any other matter put it off, and make one of us, as I was looking for you yesterday and meant to have asked you, if I could have found you. But what have you done with Socrates?
I turned round, but Socrates was nowhere to be seen and I had to explain that he had been with me a moment before, and that I came by his invitation to the supper.
You were quite right in coming, said Agathon but where is he himself?
He was behind me just now, as I entered, he said, and I cannot think what has become of him.
Go and look for him, boy, said Agathon, and bring him in and do you, Aristodemus, meanwhile take the place by Eryximachus.
The servant then assisted him to wash, and he lay down, and presently another servant came in and reported that our friend Socrates had retired into the portico of the neighbouring house. "There he is fixed," said he, "and when I call to him he will not stir."
How strange, said Agathon then you must call him again, and keep calling him.
Let him alone, said my informant he has a way of stopping anywhere and losing himself without any reason. I believe that he will soon appear do not therefore disturb him.
Well, if you think so, I will leave him, said Agathon. And then, turning to the servants, he added, "Let us have supper without waiting for him. Serve up whatever you please, for there is no one to give you orders hitherto I have never left you to yourselves. But on this occasion imagine that you art our hosts, and that I and the company are your guests treat us well, and then we shall commend you." After this, supper was served, but still no-Socrates and during the meal Agathon several times expressed a wish to send for him, but Aristodemus objected and at last when the feast was about half over-for the fit, as usual, was not of long duration-Socrates entered Agathon, who was reclining alone at the end of the table, begged that he would take the place next to him that "I may touch you," he said, "and have the benefit of that wise thought which came into your mind in the portico, and is now in your possession for I am certain that you would not have come away until you had found what you sought."
How I wish, said Socrates, taking his place as he was desired, that wisdom could be infused by touch, out of the fuller the emptier man, as water runs through wool out of a fuller cup into an emptier one if that were so, how greatly should I value the privilege of reclining at your side! For you would have filled me full with a stream of wisdom plenteous and fair whereas my own is of a very mean and questionable sort, no better than a dream. But yours is bright and full of promise, and was manifested forth in all the splendour of youth the day before yesterday, in the presence of more than thirty thousand Hellenes.
You are mocking, Socrates, said Agathon, and ere long you and I will have to determine who bears off the palm of wisdom-of this Dionysus shall be the judge but at present you are better occupied with supper.
Socrates took his place on the couch, and supped with the rest and then libations were offered, and after a hymn had been sung to the god, and there had been the usual ceremonies, they were about to commence drinking, when Pausanias said, And now, my friends, how can we drink with least injury to ourselves? I can assure you that I feel severely the effect of yesterday's potations, and must have time to recover and I suspect that most of you are in the same predicament, for you were of the party yesterday. Consider then: How can the drinking be made easiest?
I entirely agree, said Aristophanes, that we should, by all means, avoid hard drinking, for I was myself one of those who were yesterday drowned in drink.
I think that you are right, said Eryximachus, the son of Acumenus but I should still like to hear one other person speak: Is Agathon able to drink hard?
I am not equal to it, said Agathon.
Then, the Eryximachus, the weak heads like myself, Aristodemus, Phaedrus, and others who never can drink, are fortunate in finding that the stronger ones are not in a drinking mood. (I do not include Socrates, who is able either to drink or to abstain, and will not mind, whichever we do.) Well, as of none of the company seem disposed to drink much, I may be forgiven for saying, as a physician, that drinking deep is a bad practice, which I never follow, if I can help, and certainly do not recommend to another, least of all to any one who still feels the effects of yesterday's carouse.
I always do what you advise, and especially what you prescribe as a physician, rejoined Phaedrus the Myrrhinusian, and the rest of the company, if they are wise, will do the same.
It was agreed that drinking was not to be the order of the day, but that they were all to drink only so much as they pleased.
Then, said Eryximachus, as you are all agreed that drinking is to be voluntary, and that there is to be no compulsion, I move, in the next place, that the flute-girl, who has just made her appearance, be told to go away and play to herself, or, if she likes, to the women who are within. To-day let us have conversation instead and, if you will allow me, I will tell you what sort of conversation. This proposal having been accepted, Eryximachus proceeded as follows:-
I will begin, he said, after the manner of Melanippe in Euripides,
Not mine the word which I am about to speak, but that of Phaedrus. For often he says to me in an indignant tone: "What a strange thing it is, Eryximachus, that, whereas other gods have poems and hymns made in their honour, the great and glorious god, Love, has no encomiast among all the poets who are so many. There are the worthy sophists too-the excellent Prodicus for example, who have descanted in prose on the virtues of Heracles and other heroes and, what is still more extraordinary, I have met with a philosophical work in which the utility of salt has been made the theme of an eloquent discourse and many other like things have had a like honour bestowed upon them. And only to think that there should have been an eager interest created about them, and yet that to this day no one has ever dared worthily to hymn Love's praises! So entirely has this great deity been neglected." Now in this Phaedrus seems to me to be quite right, and therefore I want to offer him a contribution also I think that at the present moment we who are here assembled cannot do better than honour the. god Love. If you agree with me, there will be no lack of conversation for I mean to propose that each of us in turn, going from left to right, shall make a speech in honour of Love. Let him give us the best which he can and Phaedrus, because he is sitting first on the left hand, and because he is the father of the thought, shall begin.
No one will vote against you, Eryximachus, said Socrates. How can I oppose your motion, who profess to understand nothing but matters of love nor, I presume, will Agathon and Pausanias and there can be no doubt of Aristophanes, whose whole concern is with Dionysus and Aphrodite nor will any one disagree of those whom I, see around me. The proposal, as I am aware, may seem rather hard upon us whose place is last but we shall be contented if we hear some good speeches first. Let Phaedrus begin the praise of Love, and good luck to him. All the company expressed their assent, and desired him to do as Socrates bade him.
Aristodemus did not recollect all that was said, nor do I recollect all that he related to me but I will tell you what I thought most worthy of remembrance, and what the chief speakers said.
Phaedrus began by affirming that love is a mighty god, and wonderful among gods and men, but especially wonderful in his birth. For he is the eldest of the gods, which is an honour to him and a proof of his claim to this honour is, that of his parents there is no memorial neither poet nor prose-writer has ever affirmed that he had any. As Hesiod says:
First Chaos came, and then broad-bosomed Earth,
The everlasting seat of all that is,
And Love. In other words, after Chaos, the Earth and Love, these two, came into being. Also Parmenides sings of Generation:
First in the train of gods, he fashioned Love. And Acusilaus agrees with Hesiod. Thus numerous are the witnesses who acknowledge Love to be the eldest of the gods. And not only is he the eldest, he is also the source of the greatest benefits to us. For I know not any greater blessing to a young man who is beginning life than a virtuous lover or to the lover than a beloved youth. For the principle which ought to be the guide of men who would nobly live at principle, I say, neither kindred, nor honour, nor wealth, nor any other motive is able to implant so well as love. Of what am I speaking? Of the sense of honour and dishonour, without which neither states nor individuals ever do any good or great work. And I say that a lover who is detected in doing any dishonourable act, or submitting through cowardice when any dishonour is done to him by another, will be more pained at being detected by his beloved than at being seen by his father, or by his companions, or by any one else. The beloved too, when he is found in any disgraceful situation, has the same feeling about his lover. And if there were only some way of contriving that a state or an army should be made up of lovers and their loves, they would be the very best governors of their own city, abstaining from all dishonour, and emulating one another in honour and when fighting at each other's side, although a mere handful, they would overcome the world. For what lover would not choose rather to be seen by all mankind than by his beloved, either when abandoning his post or throwing away his arms? He would be ready to die a thousand deaths rather than endure this. Or who would desert his beloved or fail him in the hour of danger? The veriest coward would become an inspired hero, equal to the bravest, at such a time Love would inspire him. That courage which, as Homer says, the god breathes into the souls of some heroes, Love of his own nature infuses into the lover.
Love will make men dare to die for their beloved-love alone and women as well as men. Of this, Alcestis, the daughter of Pelias, is a monument to all Hellas for she was willing to lay down her life on behalf of her husband, when no one else would, although he had a father and mother but the tenderness of her love so far exceeded theirs, that she made them seem to be strangers in blood to their own son, and in name only related to him and so noble did this action of hers appear to the gods, as well as to men, that among the many who have done virtuously she is one of the very few to whom, in admiration of her noble action, they have granted the privilege of returning alive to earth such exceeding honour is paid by the gods to the devotion and virtue of love. But Orpheus, the son of Oeagrus, the harper, they sent empty away, and presented to him an apparition only of her whom he sought, but herself they would not give up, because he showed no spirit he was only a harp-player, and did not-dare like Alcestis to die for love, but was contriving how he might enter hades alive moreover, they afterwards caused him to suffer death at the hands of women, as the punishment of his cowardliness. Very different was the reward of the true love of Achilles towards his lover Patroclus-his lover and not his love (the notion that Patroclus was the beloved one is a foolish error into which Aeschylus has fallen, for Achilles was surely the fairer of the two, fairer also than all the other heroes and, as Homer informs us, he was still beardless, and younger far). And greatly as the gods honour the virtue of love, still the return of love on the part of the beloved to the lover is more admired and valued and rewarded by them, for the lover is more divine because he is inspired by God. Now Achilles was quite aware, for he had been told by his mother, that he might avoid death and return home, and live to a good old age, if he abstained from slaying Hector. Nevertheless he gave his life to revenge his friend, and dared to die, not only in his defence, but after he was dead Wherefore the gods honoured him even above Alcestis, and sent him to the Islands of the Blest. These are my reasons for affirming that Love is the eldest and noblest and mightiest of the gods and the chiefest author and giver of virtue in life, and of happiness after death.
This, or something like this, was the speech of Phaedrus and some other speeches followed which Aristodemus did not remember the next which he repeated was that of Pausanias. Phaedrus, he said, the argument has not been set before us, I think, quite in the right form-we should not be called upon to praise Love in such an indiscriminate manner. If there were only one Love, then what you said would be well enough but since there are more Loves than one,-should have begun by determining which of them was to be the theme of our praises. I will amend this defect and first of all I would tell you which Love is deserving of praise, and then try to hymn the praiseworthy one in a manner worthy of him. For we all know that Love is inseparable from Aphrodite, and if there were only one Aphrodite there would be only one Love but as there are two goddesses there must be two Loves.
And am I not right in asserting that there are two goddesses? The elder one, having no mother, who is called the heavenly Aphrodite-she is the daughter of Uranus the younger, who is the daughter of Zeus and Dione-her we call common and the Love who is her fellow-worker is rightly named common, as the other love is called heavenly. All the gods ought to have praise given to them, but not without distinction of their natures and therefore I must try to distinguish the characters of the two Loves. Now actions vary according to the manner of their performance. Take, for example, that which we are now doing, drinking, singing and talking these actions are not in themselves either good or evil, but they turn out in this or that way according to the mode of performing them and when well done they are good, and when wrongly done they are evil and in like manner not every love, but only that which has a noble purpose, is noble and worthy of praise. The Love who is the offspring of the common Aphrodite is essentially common, and has no discrimination, being such as the meaner sort of men feel, and is apt to be of women as well as of youths, and is of the body rather than of the soul-the most foolish beings are the objects of this love which desires only to gain an end, but never thinks of accomplishing the end nobly, and therefore does good and evil quite indiscriminately. The goddess who is his mother is far younger than the other, and she was born of the union of the male and female, and partakes of both.
But the offspring of the heavenly Aphrodite is derived from a mother in whose birth the female has no part,-she is from the male only this is that love which is of youths, and the goddess being older, there is nothing of wantonness in her. Those who are inspired by this love turn to the male, and delight in him who is the more valiant and intelligent nature any one may recognise the pure enthusiasts in the very character of their attachments. For they love not boys, but intelligent, beings whose reason is beginning to be developed, much about the time at which their beards begin to grow. And in choosing young men to be their companions, they mean to be faithful to them, and pass their whole life in company with them, not to take them in their inexperience, and deceive them, and play the fool with them, or run away from one to another of them. But the love of young boys should be forbidden by law, because their future is uncertain they may turn out good or bad, either in body or soul, and much noble enthusiasm may be thrown away upon them in this matter the good are a law to themselves, and the coarser sort of lovers ought to be restrained by force as we restrain or attempt to restrain them from fixing their affections on women of free birth. These are the persons who bring a reproach on love and some have been led to deny the lawfulness of such attachments because they see the impropriety and evil of them for surely nothing that is decorously and lawfully done can justly be censured.
Now here and in Lacedaemon the rules about love are perplexing, but in most cities they are simple and easily intelligible in Elis and Boeotia, and in countries having no gifts of eloquence, they are very straightforward the law is simply in favour of these connexions, and no one, whether young or old, has anything to say to their discredit the reason being, as I suppose, that they are men of few words in those parts, and therefore the lovers do not like the trouble of pleading their suit. In Ionia and other places, and generally in countries which are subject to the barbarians, the custom is held to be dishonourable loves of youths share the evil repute in which philosophy and gymnastics are held because they are inimical to tyranny for the interests of rulers require that their subjects should be poor in spirit and that there should be no strong bond of friendship or society among them, which love, above all other motives, is likely to inspire, as our Athenian tyrants-learned by experience for the love of Aristogeiton and the constancy of Harmodius had strength which undid their power. And, therefore, the ill-repute into which these attachments have fallen is to be ascribed to the evil condition of those who make them to be ill-reputed that is to say, to the self-seeking of the governors and the cowardice of the governed on the other hand, the indiscriminate honour which is given to them in some countries is attributable to the laziness of those who hold this opinion of them. In our own country a far better principle prevails, but, as I was saying, the explanation of it is rather perplexing. For, observe that open loves are held to be more honourable than secret ones, and that the love of the noblest and highest, even if their persons are less beautiful than others, is especially honourable.
Consider, too, how great is the encouragement which all the world gives to the lover neither is he supposed to be doing anything dishonourable but if he succeeds he is praised, and if he fail he is blamed. And in the pursuit of his love the custom of mankind allows him to do many strange things, which philosophy would bitterly censure if they were done from any motive of interest, or wish for office or power. He may pray, and entreat, and supplicate, and swear, and lie on a mat at the door, and endure a slavery worse than that of any slave-in any other case friends and enemies would be equally ready to prevent him, but now there is no friend who will be ashamed of him and admonish him, and no enemy will charge him with meanness or flattery the actions of a lover have a grace which ennobles them and custom has decided that they are highly commendable and that there no loss of character in them and, what is strangest of all, he only may swear and forswear himself (so men say), and the gods will forgive his transgression, for there is no such thing as a lover's oath. Such is the entire liberty which gods and men have allowed the lover, according to the custom which prevails in our part of the world. From this point of view a man fairly argues in Athens to love and to be loved is held to be a very honourable thing. But when parents forbid their sons to talk with their lovers, and place them under a tutor's care, who is appointed to see to these things, and their companions and equals cast in their teeth anything of the sort which they may observe, and their elders refuse to silence the reprovers and do not rebuke them-any one who reflects on all this will, on the contrary, think that we hold these practices to be most disgraceful. But, as I was saying at first, the truth as I imagine is, that whether such practices are honourable or whether they are dishonourable is not a simple question they are honourable to him who follows them honourably, dishonourable to him who follows them dishonourably. There is dishonour in yielding to the evil, or in an evil manner but there is honour in yielding to the good, or in an honourable manner.
Evil is the vulgar lover who loves the body rather than the soul, inasmuch as he is not even stable, because he loves a thing which is in itself unstable, and therefore when the bloom of youth which he was desiring is over, he takes wing and flies away, in spite of all his words and promises whereas the love of the noble disposition is life-long, for it becomes one with the everlasting. The custom of our country would have both of them proven well and truly, and would have us yield to the one sort of lover and avoid the other, and therefore encourages some to pursue, and others to fly testing both the lover and beloved in contests and trials, until they show to which of the two classes they respectively belong. And this is the reason why, in the first place, a hasty attachment is held to be dishonourable, because time is the true test of this as of most other things and secondly there is a dishonour in being overcome by the love of money, or of wealth, or of political power, whether a man is frightened into surrender by the loss of them, or, having experienced the benefits of money and political corruption, is unable to rise above the seductions of them. For none of these things are of a permanent or lasting nature not to mention that no generous friendship ever sprang from them. There remains, then, only one way of honourable attachment which custom allows in the beloved, and this is the way of virtue for as we admitted that any service which the lover does to him is not to be accounted flattery or a dishonour to himself, so the beloved has one way only of voluntary service which is not dishonourable, and this is virtuous service.
For we have a custom, and according to our custom any one who does service to another under the idea that he will be improved by him either in wisdom, or, in some other particular of virtue-such a voluntary service, I say, is not to be regarded as a dishonour, and is not open to the charge of flattery. And these two customs, one the love of youth, and the other the practice of philosophy and virtue in general, ought to meet in one, and then the beloved may honourably indulge the lover. For when the lover and beloved come together, having each of them a law, and the lover thinks that he is right in doing any service which he can to his gracious loving one and the other that he is right in showing any kindness which he can to him who is making him wise and good the one capable of communicating wisdom and virtue, the other seeking to acquire them with a view to education and wisdom, when the two laws of love are fulfilled and meet in one-then, and then only, may the beloved yield with honour to the lover. Nor when love is of this disinterested sort is there any disgrace in being deceived, but in every other case there is equal disgrace in being or not being deceived. For he who is gracious to his lover under the impression that he is rich, and is disappointed of his gains because he turns out to be poor, is disgraced all the same: for he has done his best to show that he would give himself up to any one's "uses base" for the sake of money but this is not honourable. And on the same principle he who gives himself to a lover because he is a good man, and in the hope that he will be improved by his company, shows himself to be virtuous, even though the object of his affection turn out to be a villain, and to have no virtue and 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, than which there can be nothing nobler. Thus noble in every case is the acceptance of another for the sake of virtue. This is that love which is the love of the heavenly godess, and is heavenly, and of great price to individuals and cities, making the lover and the beloved alike eager in the work of their own improvement. But all other loves are the offspring of the other, who is the common goddess. To you, Phaedrus, I offer this my contribution in praise of love, which is as good as I could make extempore.
Pausanias came to a pause-this is the balanced way in which I have been taught by the wise to speak and Aristodemus said that the turn of Aristophanes was next, but either he had eaten too much, or from some other cause he had the hiccough, and was obliged to change turns with Eryximachus the physician, who was reclining on the couch below him. Eryximachus, he said, you ought either to stop my hiccough, or to speak in my turn until I have left off.
I will do both, said Eryximachus: I will speak in your turn, and do you speak in mine and while I am speaking let me recommend you to hold your breath, and if after you have done so for some time the hiccough is no better, then gargle with a little water and if it still continues, tickle your nose with something and sneeze and if you sneeze once or twice, even the most violent hiccough is sure to go. I will do as you prescribe, said Aristophanes, and now get on.
Eryximachus spoke as follows: Seeing that Pausanias made a fair beginning, and but a lame ending, I must endeavour to supply his deficiency. I think that he has rightly distinguished two kinds of love. But my art further informs me that the double love is not merely an affection of the soul of man towards the fair, or towards anything, but is to be found in the bodies of all animals and in productions of the earth, and I may say in all that is such is the conclusion which I seem to have gathered from my own art of medicine, whence I learn how great and wonderful and universal is the deity of love, whose empire extends over all things, divine as well as human. And from medicine I would begin that I may do honour to my art. There are in the human body these two kinds of love, which are confessedly different and unlike, and being unlike, they have loves and desires which are unlike and the desire of the healthy is one, and the desire of the diseased is another and as Pausanias was just now saying that to indulge good men is honourable, and bad men dishonourable:-so too in the body the good and healthy elements are to be indulged, and the bad elements and the elements of disease are not to be indulged, but discouraged. And this is what the physician has to do, and in this the art of medicine consists: for medicine may be regarded generally as the knowledge of the loves and desires of the body, and how to satisfy them or not and the best physician is he who is able to separate fair love from foul, or to convert one into the other and he who knows how to eradicate and how to implant love, whichever is required, and can reconcile the most hostile elements in the constitution and make them loving friends, is skilful practitioner. Now the: most hostile are the most opposite, such as hot and cold, bitter and sweet, moist and dry, and the like. And my ancestor, Asclepius, knowing how-to implant friendship and accord in these elements, was the creator of our art, as our friends the poets here tell us, and I believe them and not only medicine in every branch but the arts of gymnastic and husbandry are under his dominion.
Any one who pays the least attention to the subject will also perceive that in music there is the same reconciliation of opposites and I suppose that this must have been the meaning, of Heracleitus, although, his words are not accurate, for he says that is united by disunion, like the harmony-of bow and the lyre. Now there is an absurdity saying that harmony is discord or is composed of elements which are still in a state of discord. But what he probably meant was, that, harmony is composed of differing notes of higher or lower pitch which disagreed once, but are now reconciled by the art of music for if the higher and lower notes still disagreed, there could be there could be no harmony-clearly not. For harmony is a symphony, and symphony is an agreement but an agreement of disagreements while they disagree there cannot be you cannot harmonize that which disagrees. In like manner rhythm is compounded of elements short and long, once differing and now-in accord which accordance, as in the former instance, medicine, so in all these other cases, music implants, making love and unison to grow up among them and thus music, too, is concerned with the principles of love in their application to harmony and rhythm. Again, in the essential nature of harmony and rhythm there is no difficulty in discerning love which has not yet become double. But when you want to use them in actual life, either in the composition of songs or in the correct performance of airs or metres composed already, which latter is called education, then the difficulty begins, and the good artist is needed. Then the old tale has to be repeated of fair and heavenly love -the love of Urania the fair and heavenly muse, and of the duty of accepting the temperate, and those who are as yet intemperate only that they may become temperate, and of preserving their love and again, of the vulgar Polyhymnia, who must be used with circumspection that the pleasure be enjoyed, but may not generate licentiousness just as in my own art it is a great matter so to regulate the desires of the epicure that he may gratify his tastes without the attendant evil of disease. Whence I infer that in music, in medicine, in all other things human as which as divine, both loves ought to be noted as far as may be, for they are both present.
The course of the seasons is also full of both these principles and when, as I was saying, the elements of hot and cold, moist and dry, attain the harmonious love of one another and blend in temperance and harmony, they bring to men, animals, and plants health and plenty, and do them no harm whereas the wanton love, getting the upper hand and affecting the seasons of the year, is very destructive and injurious, being the source of pestilence, and bringing many other kinds of diseases on animals and plants for hoar-frost and hail and blight spring from the excesses and disorders of these elements of love, which to know in relation to the revolutions of the heavenly bodies and the seasons of the year is termed astronomy. Furthermore all sacrifices and the whole province of divination, which is the art of communion between gods and men-these, I say, are concerned with the preservation of the good and the cure of the evil love. For all manner of impiety is likely to ensue if, instead of accepting and honouring and reverencing the harmonious love in all his actions, a man honours the other love, whether in his feelings towards gods or parents, towards the living or the dead. Wherefore the business of divination is to see to these loves and to heal them, and divination is the peacemaker of gods and men, working by a knowledge of the religious or irreligious tendencies which exist in human loves. Such is the great and mighty, or rather omnipotent force of love in general. And the love, more especially, which is concerned with the good, and which is perfected in company with temperance and justice, whether among gods or men, has the greatest power, and is the source of all our happiness and harmony, and makes us friends with the gods who are above us, and with one another. I dare say that I too have omitted several things which might be said in praise of Love, but this was not intentional, and you, Aristophanes, may now supply the omission or take some other line of commendation for I perceive that you are rid of the hiccough.
Yes, said Aristophanes, who followed, the hiccough is gone not, however, until I applied the sneezing and I wonder whether the harmony of the body has a love of such noises and ticklings, for I no sooner applied the sneezing than I was cured.
Eryximachus said: Beware, friend Aristophanes, although you are going to speak, you are making fun of me and I shall have to watch and see whether I cannot have a laugh at your expense, when you might speak in peace.
You are right, said Aristophanes, laughing. I will unsay my words but do you please not to watch me, as I fear that in the speech which I am about to make, instead of others laughing with me, which is to the manner born of our muse and would be all the better, I shall only be laughed at by them.
Do you expect to shoot your bolt and escape, Aristophanes? Well, perhaps if you are very careful and bear in mind that you will be called to account, I may be induced to let you off.
Aristophanes professed to open another vein of discourse he had a mind to praise Love in another way, unlike that either of Pausanias or Eryximachus. Mankind he said, judging by their neglect of him, have never, as I think, at all understood the power of Love. For if they had understood him they would surely have built noble temples and altars, and offered solemn sacrifices in his honour but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done: since of all the gods he is the best friend of men, the helper and the healer of the ills which are the great impediment to the happiness of the race. I will try to describe his power to you, and you shall teach the rest of the world what I am teaching you. In the first place, let me treat of the nature of man and what has happened to it for the original human nature was not like the present, but different. The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally three in number there was man, woman, and the union of the two, having a name corresponding to this double nature, which had once a real existence, but is now lost, and the word "Androgynous" is only preserved as a term of reproach. In the second place, the primeval man was round, his back and sides forming a circle and he had four hands and four feet, one head with two faces, looking opposite ways, set on a round neck and precisely alike also four ears, two privy members, and the remainder to correspond. He could walk upright as men now do, backwards or forwards as he pleased, and he could also roll over and over at a great pace, turning on his four hands and four feet, eight in all, like tumblers going over and over with their legs in the air this was when he wanted to run fast. Now the sexes were three, and such as I have described them because the sun, moon, and earth are three-and the man was originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the moon, which is made up of sun and earth, and they were all round and moved round and round: like their parents. Terrible was their might and strength, and the thoughts of their hearts were great, and they made an attack upon the gods of them is told the tale of Otys and Ephialtes who, as Homer says, dared to scale heaven, and would have laid hands upon the gods. Doubt reigned in the celestial councils. Should they kill them and annihilate the race with thunderbolts, as they had done the giants, then there would be an end of the sacrifices and worship which men offered to them but, on the other hand, the gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained.
At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a way. He said: "Methinks I have a plan which will humble their pride and improve their manners men shall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two and then they will be diminished in strength and increased in numbers this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us. They shall walk upright on two legs, and if they continue insolent and will not be quiet, I will split them again and they shall hop about on a single leg." He spoke and cut men in two, like a sorb-apple which is halved for pickling, or as you might divide an egg with a hair and as he cut them one after another, he bade Apollo give the face and the half of the neck a turn in order that the man might contemplate the section of himself: he would thus learn a lesson of humility. Apollo was also bidden to heal their wounds and compose their forms. So he gave a turn to the face and pulled the skin from the sides all over that which in our language is called the belly, like the purses which draw in, and he made one mouth at the centre, which he fastened in a knot (the same which is called the navel) he also moulded the breast and took out most of the wrinkles, much as a shoemaker might smooth leather upon a last he left a few, however, in the region of the belly and navel, as a memorial of the primeval state. After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one, they were on the point of dying from hunger and self-neglect, because they did not like to do anything apart and when one of the halves died and the other survived, the survivor sought another mate, man or woman as we call them, being the sections of entire men or women, and clung to that. They were being destroyed, when Zeus in pity of them invented a new plan: he turned the parts of generation round to the front, for this had not been always their position and they sowed the seed no longer as hitherto like grasshoppers in the ground, but in one another and after the transposition the male generated in the female in order that by the mutual embraces of man and woman they might breed, and the race might continue or if man came to man they might be satisfied, and rest, and go their ways to the business of life: so ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of man.
Each of us when separated, having one side only, like a flat fish, is but the indenture of a man, and he is always looking for his other half. Men who are a section of that double nature which was once called Androgynous are lovers of women adulterers are generally of this breed, and also adulterous women who lust after men: the women who are a section of the woman do not care for men, but have female attachments the female companions are of this sort. But they who are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they hang about men and embrace them, and they are themselves the best of boys and youths, because they have the most manly nature. Some indeed assert that they are shameless, but this is not true for they do not act thus from any want of shame, but because they are valiant and manly, and have a manly countenance, and they embrace that which is like them. And these when they grow up become our statesmen, and these only, which is a great proof of the truth of what I am saving. When they reach manhood they are loves of youth, and are not naturally inclined to marry or beget children,-if at all, they do so only in obedience to the law but they are satisfied if they may be allowed to live with one another unwedded and such a nature is prone to love and ready to return love, always embracing that which is akin to him. And when one of them meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment: these are the people who pass their whole lives together yet they could not explain what they desire of one another. For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover's intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment. Suppose Hephaestus, with his instruments, to come to the pair who are lying side, by side and to say to them, "What do you people want of one another?" they would be unable to explain. And suppose further, that when he saw their perplexity he said: "Do you desire to be wholly one always day and night to be in one another's company? for if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt you into one and let you grow together, so that being two you shall become one, and while you live a common life as if you were a single man, and after your death in the world below still be one departed soul instead of two-I ask whether this is what you lovingly desire, and whether you are satisfied to attain this?"-there is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love. There was a time, I say, when we were one, but now because of the wickedness of mankind God has dispersed us, as the Arcadians were dispersed into villages by the Lacedaemonians. And if we are not obedient to the gods, there is a danger that we shall be split up again and go about in basso-relievo, like the profile figures having only half a nose which are sculptured on monuments, and that we shall be like tallies.
Wherefore let us exhort all men to piety, that we may avoid evil, and obtain the good, of which Love is to us the lord and minister and let no one oppose him-he is the enemy of the gods who oppose him. For if we are friends of the God and at peace with him we shall find our own true loves, which rarely happens in this world at present. I am serious, and therefore I must beg Eryximachus not to make fun or to find any allusion in what I am saying to Pausanias and Agathon, who, as I suspect, are both of the manly nature, and belong to the class which I have been describing. But my words have a wider application-they include men and women everywhere and I believe that if our loves were perfectly accomplished, and each one returning to his primeval nature had his original true love, then our race would be happy. And if this would be best of all, the best in the next degree and under present circumstances must be the nearest approach to such an union and that will be the attainment of a congenial love. Wherefore, if we would praise him who has given to us the benefit, we must praise the god Love, who is our greatest benefactor, both leading us in this life back to our own nature, and giving us high hopes for the future, for he promises that if we are pious, he will restore us to our original state, and heal us and make us happy and blessed. This, Eryximachus, is my discourse of love, which, although different to yours, I must beg you to leave unassailed by the shafts of your ridicule, in order that each may have his turn each, or rather either, for Agathon and Socrates are the only ones left.
Indeed, I am not going to attack you, said Eryximachus, for I thought your speech charming, and did I not know that Agathon and Socrates are masters in the art of love, I should be really afraid that they would have nothing to say, after the world of things which have been said already. But, for all that, I am not without hopes.
Socrates said: You played your part well, Eryximachus but if you were as I am now, or rather as I shall be when Agathon has spoken, you would, indeed, be in a great strait.
You want to cast a spell over me, Socrates, said Agathon, in the hope that I may be disconcerted at the expectation raised among the audience that I shall speak well.
I should be strangely forgetful, Agathon replied Socrates, of the courage and magnanimity which you showed when your own compositions were about to be exhibited, and you came upon the stage with the actors and faced the vast theatre altogether undismayed, if I thought that your nerves could be fluttered at a small party of friends.
Do you think, Socrates, said Agathon, that my head is so full of the theatre as not to know how much more formidable to a man of sense a few good judges are than many fools?
Nay, replied Socrates, I should be very wrong in attributing to you, Agathon, that or any other want of refinement. And I am quite aware that if you happened to meet with any whom you thought wise, you would care for their opinion much more than for that of the many. But then we, having been a part of the foolish many in the theatre, cannot be regarded as the select wise though I know that if you chanced to be in the presence, not of one of ourselves, but of some really wise man, you would be ashamed of disgracing yourself before him-would you not?
Yes, said Agathon.
But before the many you would not be ashamed, if you thought that you were doing something disgraceful in their presence?
Here Phaedrus interrupted them, saying: not answer him, my dear Agathon for if he can only get a partner with whom he can talk, especially a good-looking one, he will no longer care about the completion of our plan. Now I love to hear him talk but just at present I must not forget the encomium on Love which I ought to receive from him and from every one. When you and he have paid your tribute to the god, then you may talk.
Very good, Phaedrus, said Agathon I see no reason why I should not proceed with my speech, as I shall have many other opportunities of conversing with Socrates. Let me say first how I ought to speak, and then speak:-
The previous speakers, instead of praising the god Love, or unfolding his nature, appear to have congratulated mankind on the benefits which he confers upon them. But I would rather praise the god first, and then speak of his gifts this is always the right way of praising everything. May I say without impiety or offence, that of all the blessed gods he is the most blessed because he is the fairest and best? And he is the fairest: for, in the first place, he is the youngest, and of his youth he is himself the witness, fleeing out of the way of age, who is swift enough, swifter truly than most of us like:-Love hates him and will not come near him but youth and love live and move together-like to like, as the proverb says. Many things were said by Phaedrus about Love in which I agree with him but I cannot agree that he is older than Iapetus and Kronos:-not so I maintain him to be the youngest of the gods, and youthful ever. The ancient doings among the gods of which Hesiod and Parmenides spoke, if the tradition of them be true, were done of Necessity and not Love had Love been in those days, there would have been no chaining or mutilation of the gods, or other violence, but peace and sweetness, as there is now in heaven, since the rule of Love began.
Love is young and also tender he ought to have a poet like Homer to describe his tenderness, as Homer says of Ate, that she is a goddess and tender:
Her feet are tender, for she sets her steps,
Not on the ground but on the heads of men: herein is an excellent proof of her tenderness that,-she walks not upon the hard but upon the soft. Let us adduce a similar proof of the tenderness of Love for he walks not upon the earth, nor yet upon skulls of men, which are not so very soft, but in the hearts and souls of both god, and men, which are of all things the softest: in them he walks and dwells and makes his home. Not in every soul without exception, for Where there is hardness he departs, where there is softness there he dwells and nestling always with his feet and in all manner of ways in the softest of soft places, how can he be other than the softest of all things? Of a truth he is the tenderest as well as the youngest, and also he is of flexile form for if he were hard and without flexure he could not enfold all things, or wind his way into and out of every soul of man undiscovered. And a proof of his flexibility and symmetry of form is his grace, which is universally admitted to be in an especial manner the attribute of Love ungrace and love are always at war with one another. The fairness of his complexion is revealed by his habitation among the flowers for he dwells not amid bloomless or fading beauties, whether of body or soul or aught else, but in the place of flowers and scents, there he sits and abides. Concerning the beauty of the god I have said enough and yet there remains much more which I might say. Of his virtue I have now to speak: his greatest glory is that he can neither do nor suffer wrong to or from any god or any man for he suffers not by force if he suffers force comes not near him, neither when he acts does he act by force. For all men in all things serve him of their own free will, and where there is voluntary agreement, there, as the laws which are the lords of the city say, is justice. And not only is he just but exceedingly temperate, for Temperance is the acknowledged ruler of the pleasures and desires, and no pleasure ever masters Love he is their master and they are his servants and if he conquers them he must be temperate indeed. As to courage, even the God of War is no match for him he is the captive and Love is the lord, for love, the love of Aphrodite, masters him, as the tale runs and the master is stronger than the servant. And if he conquers the bravest of all others, he must be himself the bravest.
Of his courage and justice and temperance I have spoken, but I have yet to speak of his wisdom-and according to the measure of my ability I must try to do my best. In the first place he is a poet (and here, like Eryximachus, I magnify my art), and he is also the source of poesy in others, which he could not be if he were not himself a poet. And at the touch of him every one becomes a poet, even though he had no music in him before this also is a proof that Love is a good poet and accomplished in all the fine arts for no one can give to another that which he has not himself, or teach that of which he has no knowledge. Who will deny that the creation of the animals is his doing? Are they not all the works his wisdom, born and begotten of him? And as to the artists, do we not know that he only of them whom love inspires has the light of fame?-he whom Love touches riot walks in darkness. The arts of medicine and archery and divination were discovered by Apollo, under the guidance of love and desire so that he too is a disciple of Love. Also the melody of the Muses, the metallurgy of Hephaestus, the weaving of Athene, the empire of Zeus over gods and men, are all due to Love, who was the inventor of them. And so Love set in order the empire of the gods-the love of beauty, as is evident, for with deformity Love has no concern. In the days of old, as I began by saying, dreadful deeds were done among the gods, for they were ruled by Necessity but now since the birth of Love, and from the Love of the beautiful, has sprung every good in heaven and earth. Therefore, Phaedrus, I say of Love that he is the fairest and best in himself, and the cause of what is fairest and best in all other things. And there comes into my mind a line of poetry in which he is said to be the god who
Gives peace on earth and calms the stormy deep,
Who stills the winds and bids the sufferer sleep. This is he who empties men of disaffection and fills them with affection, who makes them to meet together at banquets such as these: in sacrifices, feasts, dances, he is our lord-who sends courtesy and sends away discourtesy, who gives kindness ever and never gives unkindness the friend of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the gods desired by those who have no part in him, and precious to those who have the better part in him parent of delicacy, luxury, desire, fondness, softness, grace regardful of the good, regardless of the evil: in every word, work, wish, fear-saviour, pilot, comrade, helper glory of gods and men, leader best and brightest: in whose footsteps let every man follow, sweetly singing in his honour and joining in that sweet strain with which love charms the souls of gods and men. Such is the speech, Phaedrus, half-playful, yet having a certain measure of seriousness, which, according to my ability, I dedicate to the god.
When Agathon had done speaking, Aristodemus said that there was a general cheer the young man was thought to have spoken in a manner worthy of himself, and of the god. And Socrates, looking at Eryximachus, said: Tell me, son of Acumenus, was there not reason in my fears? and was I not a true prophet when I said that Agathon would make a wonderful oration, and that I should be in a strait?
The part of the prophecy which concerns Agathon, replied Eryximachus, appears to me to be true but, not the other part-that you will be in a strait.
Why, my dear friend, said Socrates, must not I or any one be in a strait who has to speak after he has heard such a rich and varied discourse? I am especially struck with the beauty of the concluding words-who could listen to them without amazement? When I reflected on the immeasurable inferiority of my own powers, I was ready to run away for shame, if there had been a possibility of escape. For I was reminded of Gorgias, and at the end of his speech I fancied that Agathon was shaking at me the Gorginian or Gorgonian head of the great master of rhetoric, which was simply to turn me and my speech, into stone, as Homer says, and strike me dumb. And then I perceived how foolish I had been in consenting to take my turn with you in praising love, and saying that I too was a master of the art, when I really had no conception how anything ought to be praised. For in my simplicity I imagined that the topics of praise should be true, and that this being presupposed, out of the true the speaker was to choose the best and set them forth in the best manner. And I felt quite proud, thinking that I knew the nature of true praise, and should speak well. Whereas I now see that the intention was to attribute to Love every species of greatness and glory, whether really belonging to him not, without regard to truth or falsehood-that was no matter for the original, proposal seems to have been not that each of you should really praise Love, but only that you should appear to praise him. And so you attribute to Love every imaginable form of praise which can be gathered anywhere and you say that "he is all this," and "the cause of all that," making him appear the fairest and best of all to those who know him not, for you cannot impose upon those who know him. And a noble and solemn hymn of praise have you rehearsed. But as I misunderstood the nature of the praise when I said that I would take my turn, I must beg to be absolved from the promise which I made in ignorance, and which (as Euripides would say) was a promise of the lips and not of the mind. Farewell then to such a strain: for I do not praise in that way no, indeed, I cannot. But if you like to here the truth about love, I am ready to speak in my own manner, though I will not make myself ridiculous by entering into any rivalry with you. Say then, Phaedrus, whether you would like, to have the truth about love, spoken in any words and in any order which may happen to come into my mind at the time. Will that be agreeable to you?
Aristodemus said that Phaedrus and the company bid him speak in any manner which he thought best. Then, he added, let me have your permission first to ask Agathon a few more questions, in order that I may take his admissions as the premisses of my discourse.
I grant the permission, said Phaedrus: put your questions. Socrates then proceeded as follows:-
In the magnificent oration which you have just uttered, I think that you were right, my dear Agathon, in proposing to speak of the nature of Love first and afterwards of his works-that is a way of beginning which I very much approve. And as you have spoken so eloquently of his nature, may I ask you further, Whether love is the love of something or of nothing? And here I must explain myself: I do not want you to say that love is the love of a father or the love of a mother-that would be ridiculous but to answer as you would, if I asked is a father a father of something? to which you would find no difficulty in replying, of a son or daughter: and the answer would be right.
Very true, said Agathon.
And you would say the same of a mother?
Yet let me ask you one more question in order to illustrate my meaning: Is not a brother to be regarded essentially as a brother of something?
Certainly, he replied.
That is, of a brother or sister?
Yes, he said.
And now, said Socrates, I will ask about Love:-Is Love of something or of nothing?
Of something, surely, he replied.
Keep in mind what this is, and tell me what I want to know-whether Love desires that of which love is.
And does he possess, or does he not possess, that which he loves and desires?
Probably not, I should say.
Nay, replied Socrates, I would have you consider whether "necessarily" is not rather the word. The inference that he who desires something is in want of something, and that he who desires nothing is in want of nothing, is in my judgment, Agathon absolutely and necessarily true. What do you think?
I agree with you, said Agathon.
Very good. Would he who is great, desire to be great, or he who is strong, desire to be strong?
That would be inconsistent with our previous admissions.
True. For he who is anything cannot want to be that which he is?
And yet, added Socrates, if a man being strong desired to be strong, or being swift desired to be swift, or being healthy desired to be healthy, in that case he might be thought to desire something which he already has or is. I give the example in order that we may avoid misconception. For the possessors of these qualities, Agathon, must be supposed to have their respective advantages at the time, whether they choose or not and who can desire that which he has? Therefore when a person says, I am well and wish to be well, or I am rich and wish to be rich, and I desire simply to have what I have-to him we shall reply: "You, my friend, having wealth and health and strength, want to have the continuance of them for at this moment, whether you choose or no, you have them. And when you say, I desire that which I have and nothing else, is not your meaning that you want to have what you now have in the future? "He must agree with us-must he not?
He must, replied Agathon.
Then, said Socrates, he desires that what he has at present may be preserved to him in the future, which is equivalent to saying that he desires something which is non-existent to him, and which as yet he has not got.
Very true, he said.
Then he and every one who desires, desires that which he has not already, and which is future and not present, and which he has not, and is not, and of which he is in want-these are the sort of things which love and desire seek?
Very true, he said.
Then now, said Socrates, let us recapitulate the argument. First, is not love of something, and of something too which is wanting to a man?
Yes, he replied.
Remember further what you said in your speech, or if you do not remember I will remind you: you said that the love of the beautiful set in order the empire of the gods, for that of deformed things there is no love-did you not say something of that kind?
Yes, said Agathon.
Yes, my friend, and the remark was a just one. And if this is true, Love is the love of beauty and not of deformity?
And the admission has been already made that Love is of something which a man wants and has not?
True, he said.
Then Love wants and has not beauty?
Certainly, he replied.
And would you call that beautiful which wants and does not possess beauty?
Then would you still say that love is beautiful?
Agathon replied: I fear that I did not understand what I was saying.
You made a very good speech, Agathon, replied Socrates but there is yet one small question which I would fain ask:-Is not the good also the beautiful?
Then in wanting the beautiful, love wants also the good?
I cannot refute you, Socrates, said Agathon:-Let us assume that what you say is true.
Say rather, beloved Agathon, that you cannot refute the truth for Socrates is easily refuted.
And now, taking my leave of you, I would rehearse a tale of love which I heard from Diotima of Mantineia, a woman wise in this and in many other kinds of knowledge, who in the days of old, when the Athenians offered sacrifice before the coming of the plague, delayed the disease ten years. She was my instructress in the art of love, and I shall repeat to you what she said to me, beginning with the admissions made by Agathon, which are nearly if not quite the same which I made to the wise woman when she questioned me-I think that this will be the easiest way, and I shall take both parts myself as well as I can. As you, Agathon, suggested, I must speak first of the being and nature of Love, and then of his works. First I said to her in nearly the same words which he used to me, that Love was a mighty god, and likewise fair and she proved to me as I proved to him that, by my own showing, Love was neither fair nor good. "What do you mean, Diotima," I said, "is love then evil and foul?" "Hush," she cried "must that be foul which is not fair?" "Certainly," I said. "And is that which is not wise, ignorant? do you not see that there is a mean between wisdom and ignorance?" "And what may that be?" I said. "Right opinion," she replied "which, as you know, being incapable of giving a reason, is not knowledge (for how can knowledge be devoid of reason? nor again, ignorance, for neither can ignorance attain the truth), but is clearly something which is a mean between ignorance and wisdom." "Quite true," I replied. "Do not then insist," she said, "that what is not fair is of necessity foul, or what is not good evil or infer that because love is not fair and good he is therefore foul and evil for he is in a mean between them." "Well," I said, "Love is surely admitted by all to be a great god." "By those who know or by those who do not know?" "By all." "And how, Socrates," she said with a smile, "can Love be acknowledged to be a great god by those who say that he is not a god at all?" "And who are they?" I said. "You and I are two of them," she replied. "How can that be?" I said. "It is quite intelligible," she replied "for you yourself would acknowledge that the gods are happy and fair of course you would-would to say that any god was not?" "Certainly not," I replied. "And you mean by the happy, those who are the possessors of things good or fair?" "Yes." "And you admitted that Love, because he was in want, desires those good and fair things of which he is in want?" "Yes, I did." "But how can he be a god who has no portion in what is either good or fair?" "Impossible." "Then you see that you also deny the divinity of Love."
"What then is Love?" I asked "Is he mortal?" "No." "What then?" "As in the former instance, he is neither mortal nor immortal, but in a mean between the two." "What is he, Diotima?" "He is a great spirit (daimon), and like all spirits he is intermediate between the divine and the mortal." "And what," I said, "is his power?" "He interprets," she replied, "between gods and men, conveying and taking across to the gods the prayers and sacrifices of men, and to men the commands and replies of the gods he is the mediator who spans the chasm which divides them, and therefore in him all is bound together, and through him the arts of the prophet and the priest, their sacrifices and mysteries and charms, and all, prophecy and incantation, find their way. For God mingles not with man but through Love. all the intercourse, and converse of god with man, whether awake or asleep, is carried on. The wisdom which understands this is spiritual all other wisdom, such as that of arts and handicrafts, is mean and vulgar. Now these spirits or intermediate powers are many and diverse, and one of them is Love. "And who," I said, "was his father, and who his mother?" "The tale," she said, "will take time nevertheless I will tell you. On the birthday of Aphrodite there was a feast of the gods, at which the god Poros or Plenty, who is the son of Metis or Discretion, was one of the guests. When the feast was over, Penia or Poverty, as the manner is on such occasions, came about the doors to beg. Now Plenty who was the worse for nectar (there was no wine in those days), went into the garden of Zeus and fell into a heavy sleep, and Poverty considering her own straitened circumstances, plotted to have a child by him, and accordingly she lay down at his side and conceived love, who partly because he is naturally a lover of the beautiful, and because Aphrodite is herself beautiful, and also because he was born on her birthday, is her follower and attendant. And as his parentage is, so also are his fortunes. In the first place he is always poor, and anything but tender and fair, as the many imagine him and he is rough and squalid, and has no shoes, nor a house to dwell in on the bare earth exposed he lies under the open heaven, in-the streets, or at the doors of houses, taking his rest and like his mother he is always in distress. Like his father too, whom he also partly resembles, he is always plotting against the fair and good he is bold, enterprising, strong, a mighty hunter, always weaving some intrigue or other, keen in the pursuit of wisdom, fertile in resources a philosopher at all times, terrible as an enchanter, sorcerer, sophist. He is by nature neither mortal nor immortal, but alive and flourishing at one moment when he is in plenty, and dead at another moment, and again alive by reason of his father's nature. But that which is always flowing in is always flowing out, and so he is never in want and never in wealth and, further, he is in a mean between ignorance and knowledge. The truth of the matter is this: No god is a philosopher. or seeker after wisdom, for he is wise already nor does any man who is wise seek after wisdom. Neither do the ignorant seek after Wisdom. For herein is the evil of ignorance, that he who is neither good nor wise is nevertheless satisfied with himself: he has no desire for that of which he feels no want." "But-who then, Diotima," I said, "are the lovers of wisdom, if they are neither the wise nor the foolish?" "A child may answer that question," she replied "they are those who are in a mean between the two Love is one of them. For wisdom is a most beautiful thing, and Love is of the beautiful and therefore Love is also a philosopher: or lover of wisdom, and being a lover of wisdom is in a mean between the wise and the ignorant. And of this too his birth is the cause for his father is wealthy and wise, and his mother poor and foolish. Such, my dear Socrates, is the nature of the spirit Love. The error in your conception of him was very natural, and as I imagine from what you say, has arisen out of a confusion of love and the beloved, which made you think that love was all beautiful. For the beloved is the truly beautiful, and delicate, and perfect, and blessed but the principle of love is of another nature, and is such as I have described."
I said, "O thou stranger woman, thou sayest well but, assuming Love to be such as you say, what is the use of him to men?" "That, Socrates," she replied, "I will attempt to unfold: of his nature and birth I have already spoken and you acknowledge that love is of the beautiful. But some one will say: Of the beautiful in what, Socrates and Diotima?-or rather let me put the question more dearly, and ask: When a man loves the beautiful, what does he desire?" I answered her "That the beautiful may be his." "Still," she said, "the answer suggests a further question: What is given by the possession of beauty?" "To what you have asked," I replied, "I have no answer ready." "Then," she said, "Let me put the word 'good' in the place of the beautiful, and repeat the question once more: If he who loves good, what is it then that he loves? "The possession of the good," I said. "And what does he gain who possesses the good?" "Happiness," I replied "there is less difficulty in answering that question." "Yes," she said, "the happy are made happy by the acquisition of good things. Nor is there any need to ask why a man desires happiness the answer is already final." "You are right." I said. "And is this wish and this desire common to all? and do all men always desire their own good, or only some men?-what say you?" "All men," I replied "the desire is common to all." "Why, then," she rejoined, "are not all men, Socrates, said to love, but only some them? whereas you say that all men are always loving the same things." "I myself wonder," I said,-why this is." "There is nothing to wonder at," she replied "the reason is that one part of love is separated off and receives the name of the whole, but the other parts have other names." "Give an illustration," I said. She answered me as follows: "There is poetry, which, as you know, is complex and manifold. All creation or passage of non-being into being is poetry or making, and the processes of all art are creative and the masters of arts are all poets or makers." "Very true." "Still," she said, "you know that they are not called poets, but have other names only that portion of the art which is separated off from the rest, and is concerned with music and metre, is termed poetry, and they who possess poetry in this sense of the word are called poets." "Very true," I said. "And the same holds of love. For you may say generally that all desire of good and happiness is only the great and subtle power of love but they who are drawn towards him by any other path, whether the path of money-making or gymnastics or philosophy, are not called lovers -the name of the whole is appropriated to those whose affection takes one form only-they alone are said to love, or to be lovers." "I dare say," I replied, "that you are right." "Yes," she added, "and you hear people say that lovers are seeking for their other half but I say that they are seeking neither for the half of themselves, nor for the whole, unless the half or the whole be also a good. And they will cut off their own hands and feet and cast them away, if they are evil for they love not what is their own, unless perchance there be some one who calls what belongs to him the good, and what belongs to another the evil. For there is nothing which men love but the good. Is there anything?" "Certainly, I should say, that there is nothing." "Then," she said, "the simple truth is, that men love the good." "Yes," I said. "To which must be added that they love the possession of the good? "Yes, that must be added." "And not only the possession, but the everlasting possession of the good?" "That must be added too." "Then love," she said, "may be described generally as the love of the everlasting possession of the good?" "That is most true."
"Then if this be the nature of love, can you tell me further," she said, "what is the manner of the pursuit? what are they doing who show all this eagerness and heat which is called love? and what is the object which they have in view? Answer me." "Nay, Diotima," I replied, "if I had known, I should not have wondered at your wisdom, neither should I have come to learn from you about this very matter." "Well," she said, "I will teach you:-The object which they have in view is birth in beauty, whether of body or, soul." "I do not understand you," I said "the oracle requires an explanation." "I will make my meaning dearer," she replied. "I mean to say, that all men are bringing to the birth in their bodies and in their souls. There is a certain age at which human nature is desirous of procreation-procreation which must be in beauty and not in deformity and this procreation is the union of man and woman, and is a divine thing for conception and generation are an immortal principle in the mortal creature, and in the inharmonious they can never be. But the deformed is always inharmonious with the divine, and the beautiful harmonious. Beauty, then, is the destiny or goddess of parturition who presides at birth, and therefore, when approaching beauty, the conceiving power is propitious, and diffusive, and benign, and begets and bears fruit: at the sight of ugliness she frowns and contracts and has a sense of pain, and turns away, and shrivels up, and not without a pang refrains from conception. And this is the reason why, when the hour of conception arrives, and the teeming nature is full, there is such a flutter and ecstasy about beauty whose approach is the alleviation of the pain of travail. For love, Socrates, is not, as you imagine, the love of the beautiful only." "What then?" "The love of generation and of birth in beauty." "Yes," I said. "Yes, indeed," she replied. "But why of generation?" "Because to the mortal creature, generation is a sort of eternity and immortality," she replied "and if, as has been already admitted, love is of the everlasting possession of the good, all men will necessarily desire immortality together with good: Wherefore love is of immortality."
All this she taught me at various times when she spoke of love. And I remember her once saying to me, "What is the cause, Socrates, of love, and the attendant desire? See you not how all animals, birds, as well as beasts, in their desire of procreation, are in agony when they take the infection of love, which begins with the desire of union whereto is added the care of offspring, on whose behalf the weakest are ready to battle against the strongest even to the uttermost, and to die for them, and will, let themselves be tormented with hunger or suffer anything in order to maintain their young. Man may be supposed to act thus from reason but why should animals have these passionate feelings? Can you tell me why?" Again I replied that I did not know. She said to me: "And do you expect ever to become a master in the art of love, if you do not know this?" "But I have told you already, Diotima, that my ignorance is the reason why I come to you for I am conscious that I want a teacher tell me then the cause of this and of the other mysteries of love." "Marvel not," she said, "if you believe that love is of the immortal, as we have several times acknowledged for here again, and on the same principle too, the mortal nature is seeking as far as is possible to be everlasting and immortal: and this is only to be attained by generation, because generation always leaves behind a new existence in the place of the old. Nay even in the life, of the same individual there is succession and not absolute unity: a man is called the same, and yet in the short interval which elapses between youth and age, and in which every animal is said to have life and identity, he is undergoing a perpetual process of loss and reparation-hair, flesh, bones, blood, and the whole body are always changing. Which is true not only of the body, but also of the soul, whose habits, tempers, opinions, desires, pleasures, pains, fears, never remain the same in any one of us, but are always coming and going and equally true of knowledge, and what is still more surprising to us mortals, not only do the sciences in general spring up and decay, so that in respect of them we are never the same but each of them individually experiences a like change. For what is implied in the word 'recollection,' but the departure of knowledge, which is ever being forgotten, and is renewed and preserved by recollection, and appears to be the same although in reality new, according to that law of succession by which all mortal things are preserved, not absolutely the same, but by substitution, the old worn-out mortality leaving another new and similar existence behind unlike the divine, which is always the same and not another? And in this way, Socrates, the mortal body, or mortal anything, partakes of immortality but the immortal in another way. Marvel not then at the love which all men have of their offspring for that universal love and interest is for the sake of immortality."
I was astonished at her words, and said: "Is this really true, O thou wise Diotima?" And she answered with all the authority of an accomplished sophist: "Of that, Socrates, you may be assured-think only of the ambition of men, and you will wonder at the senselessness of their ways, unless you consider how they are stirred by the love of an immortality of fame. They are ready to run all risks greater far than they would have for their children, and to spend money and undergo any sort of toil, and even to die, for the sake of leaving behind them a name which shall be eternal. Do you imagine that Alcestis would have died to save Admetus, or Achilles to avenge Patroclus, or your own Codrus in order to preserve the kingdom for his sons, if they had not imagined that the memory of their virtues, which still survives among us, would be immortal? Nay," she said, "I am persuaded that all men do all things, and the better they are the more they do them, in hope of the glorious fame of immortal virtue for they desire the immortal.
"Those who are pregnant in the body only, betake themselves to women and beget children-this is the character of their love their offspring, as they hope, will preserve their memory and giving them the blessedness and immortality which they desire in the future. But souls which are pregnant-for there certainly are men who are more creative in their souls than in their bodies conceive that which is proper for the soul to conceive or contain. And what are these conceptions?-wisdom and virtue in general. And such creators are poets and all artists who are deserving of the name inventor. But the greatest and fairest sort of wisdom by far is that which is concerned with the ordering of states and families, and which is called temperance and justice. And he who in youth has the seed of these implanted in him and is himself inspired, when he comes to maturity desires to beget and generate. He wanders about seeking beauty that he may beget offspring-for in deformity he will beget nothing-and naturally embraces the beautiful rather than the deformed body above all when he finds fair and noble and well-nurtured soul, he embraces the two in one person, and to such an one he is full of speech about virtue and the nature and pursuits of a good man and he tries to educate him and at the touch of the beautiful which is ever present to his memory, even when absent, he brings forth that which he had conceived long before, and in company with him tends that which he brings forth and they are married by a far nearer tie and have a closer friendship than those who beget mortal children, for the children who are their common offspring are fairer and more immortal. Who, when he thinks of Homer and Hesiod and other great poets, would not rather have their children than ordinary human ones? Who would not emulate them in the creation of children such as theirs, which have preserved their memory and given them everlasting glory? Or who would not have such children as Lycurgus left behind him to be the saviours, not only of Lacedaemon, but of Hellas, as one may say? There is Solon, too, who is the revered father of Athenian laws and many others there are in many other places, both among hellenes and barbarians, who have given to the world many noble works, and have been the parents of virtue of every kind and many temples have been raised in their honour for the sake of children such as theirs which were never raised in honour of any one, for the sake of his mortal children.
"These are the lesser mysteries of love, into which even you, Socrates, may enter to the greater and more hidden ones which are the crown of these, and to which, if you pursue them in a right spirit, they will lead, I know not whether you will be able to attain. But I will do my utmost to inform you, and do you follow if you can. For he who would proceed aright in this matter should begin in youth to visit beautiful forms and first, if he be guided by his instructor aright, to love one such form only-out of that he should create fair thoughts and soon he will of himself perceive that the beauty of one form is akin to the beauty of another and then if beauty of form in general is his pursuit, how foolish would he be not to recognize that the beauty in every form is and the same! And when he perceives this he will abate his violent love of the one, which he will despise and deem a small thing, and will become a lover of all beautiful forms in the next stage he will consider that the beauty of the mind is more honourable than the beauty of the outward form. So that if a virtuous soul have but a little comeliness, he will be content to love and tend him, and will search out and bring to the birth thoughts which may improve the young, until he is compelled to contemplate and see the beauty of institutions and laws, and to understand that the beauty of them all is of one family, and that personal beauty is a trifle and after laws and institutions he will go on to the sciences, that he may see their beauty, being not like a servant in love with the beauty of one youth or man or institution, himself a slave mean and narrow-minded, but drawing towards and contemplating the vast sea of beauty, he will create many fair and noble thoughts and notions in boundless love of wisdom until on that shore he grows and waxes strong, and at last the vision is revealed to him of a single science, which is the science of beauty everywhere. To this I will proceed please to give me your very best attention:
"He who has been instructed thus far in the things of love, and who has learned to see the beautiful in due order and succession, when he comes toward the end will suddenly perceive a nature of wondrous beauty (and this, Socrates, is the final cause of all our former toils)-a nature which in the first place is everlasting, not growing and decaying, or waxing and waning secondly, not fair in one point of view and foul in another, or at one time or in one relation or at one place fair, at another time or in another relation or at another place foul, as if fair to some and-foul to others, or in the likeness of a face or hands or any other part of the bodily frame, or in any form of speech or knowledge, or existing in any other being, as for example, in an animal, or in heaven or in earth, or in any other place but beauty absolute, separate, simple, and everlasting, which without diminution and without increase, or any change, is imparted to the ever-growing and perishing beauties of all other things. He who from these ascending under the influence of true love, begins to perceive that beauty, is not far from the end. And the true order of going, or being led by another, to the things of love, is to begin from the beauties of earth and mount upwards for the sake of that other beauty, using these as steps only, and from one going on to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair practices, and from fair practices to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute beauty, and at last knows what the essence of beauty is. This, my dear Socrates," said the stranger of Mantineia, "is that life above all others which man should live, in the contemplation of beauty absolute a beauty which if you once beheld, you would see not to be after the measure of gold, and garments, and fair boys and youths, whose presence now entrances you and you and many a one would be content to live seeing them only and conversing with them without meat or drink, if that were possible-you only want to look at them and to be with them. But what if man had eyes to see the true beauty-the divine beauty, I mean, pure and dear and unalloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colours and vanities of human life-thither looking, and holding converse with the true beauty simple and divine? Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may. Would that be an ignoble life?"
Such, Phaedrus-and I speak not only to you, but to all of you-were the words of Diotima and I am persuaded of their truth. And being persuaded of them, I try to persuade others, that in the attainment of this end human nature will not easily find a helper better than love: And therefore, also, I say that every man ought to honour him as I myself honour him, and walk in his ways, and exhort others to do the same, and praise the power and spirit of love according to the measure of my ability now and ever.
The words which I have spoken, you, Phaedrus, may call an encomium of love, or anything else which you please.
When Socrates had done speaking, the company applauded, and Aristophanes was beginning to say something in answer to the allusion which Socrates had made to his own speech, when suddenly there was a great knocking at the door of the house, as of revellers, and the sound of a flute-girl was heard. Agathon told the attendants to go and see who were the intruders. "If they are friends of ours," he said, "invite them in, but if not, say that the drinking is over." A little while afterwards they heard the voice of Alcibiades resounding in the court he was in a great state of intoxication and kept roaring and shouting "Where is Agathon? Lead me to Agathon," and at length, supported by the flute-girl and some of his attendants, he found his way to them. "Hail, friends," he said, appearing-at the door crown, with a massive garland of ivy and violets, his head flowing with ribands. "Will you have a very drunken man as a companion of your revels? Or shall I crown Agathon, which was my intention in coming, and go away? For I was unable to come yesterday, and therefore I am here to-day, carrying on my head these ribands, that taking them from my own head, I may crown the head of this fairest and wisest of men, as I may be allowed to call him. Will you laugh at me because I am drunk? Yet I know very well that I am speaking the truth, although you may laugh. But first tell me if I come in shall we have the understanding of which I spoke? Will you drink with me or not?"
The company were vociferous in begging that he would take his place among them, and Agathon specially invited him. Thereupon he was led in by the people who were with him and as he was being led, intending to crown Agathon, he took the ribands from his own head and held them in front of his eyes he was thus prevented from seeing Socrates, who made way for him, and Alcibiades took the vacant place between Agathon and Socrates, and in taking the place he embraced Agathon and crowned him. Take off his sandals, said Agathon, and let him make a third on the same couch.
By all means but who makes the third partner in our revels? said Alcibiades, turning round and starting up as he caught sight of Socrates. By Heracles, he said, what is this? here is Socrates always lying in wait for me, and always, as his way is, coming out at all sorts of unsuspected places: and now, what have you to say for yourself, and why are you lying here, where I perceive that you have contrived to find a place, not by a joker or lover of jokes, like Aristophanes, but by the fairest of the company?
Socrates turned to Agathon and said: I must ask you to protect me, Agathon for the passion of this man has grown quite a serious matter to me. Since I became his admirer I have never been allowed to speak to any other fair one, or so much as to look at them. If I do, he goes wild with envy and jealousy, and not only abuses me but can hardly keep his hands off me, and at this moment he may do me some harm. Please to see to this, and either reconcile me to him, or, if he attempts violence, protect me, as I am in bodily fear of his mad and passionate attempts.
There can never be reconciliation between you and me, said Alcibiades but for the present I will defer your chastisement. And I must beg you, Agathoron, to give me back some of the ribands that I may crown the marvellous head of this universal despot-I would not have him complain of me for crowning you, and neglecting him, who in conversation is the conqueror of all mankind and this not only once, as you were the day before yesterday, but always. Whereupon, taking some of the ribands, he crowned Socrates, and again reclined.
Then he said: You seem, my friends, to be sober, which is a thing not to be endured you must drink-for that was the agreement under which I was admitted-and I elect myself master of the feast until you are well drunk. Let us have a large goblet, Agathon, or rather, he said, addressing the attendant, bring me that wine-cooler. The wine-cooler which had caught his eye was a vessel holding more than two quarts-this he filled and emptied, and bade the attendant fill it again for Socrates. Observe, my friends, said Alcibiades, that this ingenious trick of mine will have no effect on Socrates, for he can drink any quantity of wine and not be at all nearer being drunk. Socrates drank the cup which the attendant filled for him.
Eryximachus said! What is this Alcibiades? Are we to have neither conversation nor singing over our cups but simply to drink as if we were thirsty?
Alcibiades replied: Hail, worthy son of a most wise and worthy sire!
The same to you, said Eryximachus but what shall we do?
That I leave to you, said Alcibiades.
The wise physician skilled our wounds to heal shall prescribe and we will obey. What do you want?
Well, said Eryximachus, before you appeared we had passed a resolution that each one of us in turn should make a speech in praise of love, and as good a one as he could: the turn was passed round from left to right and as all of us have spoken, and you have not spoken but have well drunken, you ought to speak, and then impose upon Socrates any task which you please, and he on his right hand neighbour, and so on.
That is good, Eryximachus, said Alcibiades and yet the comparison, of a drunken man's speech with those of sober men is hardly fair and I should like to know, sweet friend, whether you really believe-what Socrates was just now saying for I can assure you that the very reverse is the fact, and that if I praise any one but himself in his presence, whether God or man, he will hardly keep his hands off me.
For shame, said Socrates. Hold your tongue, said Alcibiades, for by Poseidon, there is no one else whom I will praise when you are-of the company.
Well then, said Eryximachus, if you like praise Socrates.
What do you think, Eryximachus-? said Alcibiades: shall I attack him: and inflict the punishment before you all?
What are you about? said Socrates are you going to raise a laugh at my expense? Is that the meaning of your praise?
I am going to speak the truth, if you will permit me. I not only permit, but exhort you to speak the truth. Then I will begin at once, said Alcibiades, and if I say anything which is not true, you may interrupt me if you will, and say "that is a lie," though my intention is to speak the truth. But you must not wonder if I speak any how as things come into my mind for the fluent and orderly enumeration of all your singularities is not a task which is easy to a man in my condition.
And now, my boys, I shall praise Socrates in a figure which will appear to him to be a caricature, and yet I speak, not to make fun of him, but only for the truth's sake. I say, that he is exactly like the busts of Silenus, which are set up in the statuaries, shops, holding pipes and flutes in their mouths and they are made to open in the middle, and have images of gods inside them. I say also that hit is like Marsyas the satyr. You yourself will not deny, Socrates, that your face is like that of a satyr. Aye, and there is a resemblance in other points too. For example, you are a bully, as I can prove by witnesses, if you will not confess. And are you not a flute-player? That you are, and a performer far more wonderful than Marsyas. He indeed with instruments used to charm the souls of men by the powers of his breath, and the players of his music do so still: for the melodies of Olympus are derived from Marsyas who taught them, and these, whether they are played by a great master or by a miserable flute-girl, have a power which no others have they alone possess the soul and reveal the wants of those who have need of gods and mysteries, because they are divine. But you produce the same effect with your words only, and do not require the flute that is the difference between you and him. When we hear any other speaker, even very good one, he produces absolutely no effect upon us, or not much, whereas the mere fragments of you and your words, even at second-hand, and however imperfectly repeated, amaze and possess the souls of every man, woman, and child who comes within hearing of them. And if I were not, afraid that you would think me hopelessly drunk, I would have sworn as well as spoken to the influence which they have always had and still have over me. For my heart leaps within me more than that of any Corybantian reveller, and my eyes rain tears when I hear them. And I observe that many others are affected in the same manner. I have heard Pericles and other great orators, and I thought that they spoke well, but I never had any similar feeling my soul was not stirred by them, nor was I angry at the thought of my own slavish state. But this Marsyas has often brought me to such pass, that I have felt as if I could hardly endure the life which I am leading (this, Socrates, you will admit) and I am conscious that if I did not shut my ears against him, and fly as from the voice of the siren, my fate would be like that of others,-he would transfix me, and I should grow old sitting at his feet. For he makes me confess that I ought not to live as I do, neglecting the wants of my own soul, and busying myself with the concerns of the Athenians therefore I hold my ears and tear myself away from him. And he is the only person who ever made me ashamed, which you might think not to be in my nature, and there is no one else who does the same. For I know that I cannot answer him or say that I ought not to do as he bids, but when I leave his presence the love of popularity gets the better of me. And therefore I run away and fly from him, and when I see him I am ashamed of what I have confessed to him. Many a time have I wished that he were dead, and yet I know that I should be much more sorry than glad, if he were to die: so that am at my wit's end.
And this is what I and many others have suffered, from the flute-playing of this satyr. Yet hear me once more while I show you how exact the image is, and. how marvellous his power. For let me tell you none of you know him but I will reveal him to you having begun, I must go on. See you how fond he is of the fair? He is always with them and is always being smitten by them, and then again he knows nothing and is ignorant of all thing such is the appearance
Sonchis of Sais—an ancient Egyptian Priest who introduced Atlantis to the world
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Every time we think about Atlantis—the fabled lost city/continent—we think about Plato, the man who described its existence in his work Critias and Timaeus.
But have we ever asked ourselves where does the original story from Atlantis come from?
Plato did not invent Atlantis as many believe, but the story of the existence of this ‘mythical’ city/continent can be traced back in history.
To understand more about Atlantis, we must venture out and learn more about Solon, a highly respected and well known Greek Statement who lived between 638 BC – 558 BC.
Solon was a famous lawgiver of Athens, and he was notable for his poems and writings.
As explained by Plato, Solon travels to ancient Egypt to learn more about the history of its country, and look for potential trading outposts between Greece and Egypt.
It is believed that in an ancient tale, Solon wrote about the mythical city-continent of Atlantis—an elusive empire that has captured the interest and imagination of historians, archeologists, adventurers, philosophers and others for more than two thousand years.
The capital of Atlantis. Illustration by VincentPompetti
So, who wrote about Atlantis first?
Well, from what we are able to understand, it was An Egyptian priest of very great age, named Sonchis, Sonchis of Sais— Sais being an ancient Egyptian town in the Western Nile Delta on the Canopic branch of the Nile.
Solon, after his travels to Egypt, met Sonchis, who in turn told him a great ancient civilization that had disappeared from Earth 9,000 years ago. Among many other things, it is believed that Sonchis told Solon stories about a series of ancient empires that existed on Earth, natural catastrophes that made them crumble, and great wars that had raged civilization in the past.
During his time in the city of Sais, Solon learned great information about Atlantis from Sonchis who described the incredible size and wealth of the Atlantean empire as best as he could.
Sonchis explained that Atlantis’ capital city was elaborately constructed, where great temples and palaces were erected, adorned by exotic gardens made of silver, gold and, ivory. Sonchis further described the capital of the Atlantean empire as being made of massive walls, which in turn were surrounded by circular islands protecting the inner citadel of the metropolis.
But, let’s hold on there for a sec and look at what Plato had to say about Sais, Atlantis and the priest who allegedly introduced the world to Atlantis.
First of all, we have to mention that the existence of Sonchis of Sais is a matter of debate among experts who cannot agree whether or not he actually existed.
An interpretation of Atlantis according to the Greek philosopher Plato.
Having that said, in Timaeus and Critias, written around 360 BC Plato described—through the voice of Critias—how Solon traveled to Sais and met with priests from the goddess Neith. It is there where an extremely old priest tells Solon about an empire that existed 9,000 years before him, which was at war with Athens. Eventually, this empire identified as ‘Atlantis’ was destroyed by a great catastrophe.
Plato does not mention the name of the Priests who told Solon about Atlantis, but Plutarch (46–120 AD), in his Life of Solon identified the priest as Sonchis:
Near Nilus’ mouth, by fair Canopus’ shores, and spent some time in study with Psenophis of Heliopolis, and Sonchis the Saïte, the most learned of all the priests from whom, as Plato says, getting knowledge of the Atlantic story, he put it into a poem, and proposed to bring it to the knowledge of the Greeks.
So, this means that the history of Atlantis can briefly be resumed like this:
An empire existed 9,000 years before the life of Solon, and the Egyptian Priest Sonchis.
Atlantis eventually is destroyed by a catastrophe, and nearly all records of its existence are lost.
The only records remain are shared among priests of ancient Egypt.
Eventually, Solon travels to Sais where he meets an ancient Priest who knew about Atlantis.
Identified later as Sonchis of Sais, this priest explains to Solon that Atlantis was an extremely powerful empire that existed 9,000 years before them, and was eventually destroyed.
Solon returns to Greece where he mentions the existence of Atlantis.
Later, in Timaeus and Critias written in 360 BC, Solon traveled to Egypt and that he learned about the existence of Atlantis from an ancient Priest.
Plato writes that Atlantis was located in Timaeus:
“For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, ‘the pillars of Heracles,’ there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent…” –Timaeus 24e–25a, R. G. Bury translation.
4. Queer Theory and the Social Construction of Sexuality
With the rise of the gay liberation movement in the post-Stonewall era, overtly gay and lesbian perspectives began to be put forward in politics, philosophy and literary theory. Initially these often were overtly linked to feminist analyses of patriarchy (e.g., Rich, 1980) or other, earlier approaches to theory. Yet in the late 1980s and early 1990s queer theory was developed, although there are obviously important antecedents which make it difficult to date it precisely. There are a number of ways in which queer theory differed from earlier gay liberation theory, but an important initial difference becomes apparent once we examine the reasons for opting for employing the term &lsquoqueer&rsquo as opposed to &lsquogay and lesbian.&rsquo Some versions of, for example, lesbian theory portrayed the essence of lesbian identity and sexuality in very specific terms: non-hierarchical, consensual, and, specifically in terms of sexuality, as not necessarily focused upon genitalia (e.g., Faderman, 1985). Lesbians arguing from this framework, for example, could very well criticize natural law theorists as inscribing into the very &ldquolaw of nature&rdquo an essentially masculine sexuality, focused upon the genitals, penetration, and the status of the male orgasm (natural law theorists rarely mention female orgasms).
This approach, based upon characterizations of &lsquolesbian&rsquo and &lsquogay&rsquo identity and sexuality, however, suffered from three difficulties. First, it appeared even though the goal was to critique a heterosexist regime for its exclusion and marginalization of those whose sexuality is different, any specific or &ldquoessentialist&rdquo account of gay or lesbian sexuality had the same effect. Sticking with the example used above, of a specific conceptualization of lesbian identity, it denigrates women who are sexually and emotionally attracted to other women, yet who do not fit the description. Sado-masochists and butch/fem lesbians arguably do not fit this ideal of &lsquoequality&rsquo offered. A second problem was that by placing such an emphasis upon the gender of one&rsquos sexual partner(s), other possible important sources of identity are marginalized, such as race and ethnicity. What may be of utmost importance, for example, for a black lesbian is her lesbianism, rather than her race. Many gays and lesbians of color attacked this approach, accusing it of re-inscribing an essentially white identity into the heart of gay or lesbian identity (Jagose, 1996).
The third and final problem for the gay liberationist approach was that it often took this category of &lsquoidentity&rsquo itself as unproblematic and unhistorical. Such a view, however, largely because of arguments developed within poststructuralism, seemed increasingly untenable. The key figure in the attack upon identity as ahistorical is Michel Foucault. In a series of works he set out to analyze the history of sexuality from ancient Greece to the modern era (1980, 1985, 1986). Although the project was tragically cut short by his death in 1984, from complications arising from AIDS, Foucault articulated how profoundly understandings of sexuality can vary across time and space, and his arguments have proven very influential in gay and lesbian theorizing in general, and queer theory in particular (Spargo, 1999 Stychin, 2005).
One of the reasons for the historical review above is that it helps to give some background for understanding the claim that sexuality is socially constructed, rather than given by nature. Moreover, in order to not prejudge the issue of social constructionism versus essentialism, I avoided applying the term &lsquohomosexual&rsquo to the ancient or medieval eras. In ancient Greece the gender of one&rsquos partner(s) was not important, but instead whether one took the active or passive role. In the medieval view, a &lsquosodomite&rsquo was a person who succumbed to temptation and engaged in certain non-procreative sex acts. Although the gender of the partner was more important in the medieval than in the ancient view, the broader theological framework placed the emphasis upon a sin versus refraining-from-sin dichotomy. With the rise of the notion of &lsquohomosexuality&rsquo in the modern era, a person is placed into a specific category even if one does not act upon those inclinations. It is difficult to perceive a common, natural sexuality expressed across these three very different cultures. The social constructionist contention is that there is no &lsquonatural&rsquo sexuality all sexual understandings are constructed within and mediated by cultural understandings. The examples can be pushed much further by incorporating anthropological data outside of the Western tradition (Halperin, 1990 Greenberg, 1988). Yet even within the narrower context offered here, the differences between them are striking. The assumption in ancient Greece was that men (less is known about Greek attitudes towards women) can respond erotically to either sex, and the vast majority of men who engaged in same-sex relationships were also married (or would later become married). Yet the contemporary understanding of homosexuality divides the sexual domain in two, heterosexual and homosexual, and most heterosexuals cannot respond erotically to their own sex.
In saying that sexuality is a social construct, these theorists are not saying that these understandings are not real. Since persons are also constructs of their culture (in this view), we are made into those categories. Hence today persons of course understand themselves as straight or gay (or perhaps bisexual), and it is very difficult to step outside of these categories, even once one comes to see them as the historical constructs they are.
Gay and lesbian theory was thus faced with three significant problems, all of which involved difficulties with the notion of &lsquoidentity.&rsquo Queer theory arose in large part as an attempt to overcome them. How queer theory does so can be seen by looking at the term &lsquoqueer&rsquo itself. In contrast to gay or lesbian, &lsquoqueer,&rsquo it is argued, does not refer to an essence, whether of a sexual nature or not. Instead it is purely relational, standing as an undefined term that gets its meaning precisely by being that which is outside of the norm, however that norm itself may be defined. As one of the most articulate queer theorists puts it: &ldquoQueer is &hellip whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence&rdquo (Halperin, 1995, 62, original emphasis). By lacking any essence, queer does not marginalize those whose sexuality is outside of any gay or lesbian norm, such as sado-masochists. Since specific conceptualizations of sexuality are avoided, and hence not put at the center of any definition of queer, it allows more freedom for self-identification for, say, black lesbians to identify as much or more with their race (or any other trait, such as involvement in an S & M subculture) than with lesbianism. Finally, it incorporates the insights of poststructuralism about the difficulties in ascribing any essence or non-historical aspect to identity.
This central move by queer theorists, the claim that the categories through which identity is understood are all social constructs rather than given to us by nature, opens up a number of analytical possibilities. For example, queer theorists examine how fundamental notions of gender and sex which seem so natural and self-evident to persons in the modern West are in fact constructed and reinforced through everyday actions, and that this occurs in ways that privilege heterosexuality (Butler, 1990, 1993). Also examined are medical categories, such as &lsquoinverts&rsquo and intersexuality, which are themselves socially constructed (Fausto-Sterling, 2000, is an erudite example of this, although she is not ultimately a queer theorist). Others examine how language and especially divisions between what is said and what is not said, corresponding to the dichotomy between &lsquocloseted&rsquo and &lsquoout,&rsquo especially in regards to the modern division of heterosexual/homosexual, structure much of modern thought. That is, it is argued that when we look at dichotomies such as natural/artificial, or masculine/feminine, we find in the background an implicit reliance upon a very recent, and arbitrary, understanding of the sexual world as split into two species (Sedgwick, 1990). The fluidity of categories created through queer theory even opens the possibility of new sorts of histories that examine previously silent types of affections and relationships (Carter, 2005).
Another critical perspective opened up by a queer approach, although certainly implicit in those just referred to, is especially important. Since most anti-gay and lesbian arguments rely upon the alleged naturalness of heterosexuality, queer theorists attempt to show how these categories are themselves deeply social constructs. An example helps to illustrate the approach. In an essay against gay marriage, chosen because it is very representative, James Q. Wilson (1996) contends that gay men have a &ldquogreat tendency&rdquo to be promiscuous. In contrast, he puts forward loving, monogamous marriage as the natural condition of heterosexuality. Heterosexuality, in his argument, is an odd combination of something completely natural yet simultaneously endangered. One is born straight, yet this natural condition can be subverted by such things as the presence of gay couples, gay teachers, or even excessive talk about homosexuality. Wilson&rsquos argument requires a radical disjunction between heterosexuality and homosexuality. If gayness is radically different, it is legitimate to suppress it. Wilson has the courage to be forthright about this element of his argument he comes out against &ldquothe political imposition of tolerance&rdquo towards gays and lesbians (Wilson, 1996, 35).
It is a common move in queer theory to bracket, at least temporarily, issues of truth and falsity (Halperin, 1995). Instead, the analysis focuses on the social function of discourse. Questions of who counts as an expert and why, and concerns about the effects of the expert&rsquos discourse are given equal status to questions of the verity of what is said. This approach reveals that hidden underneath Wilson&rsquos (and other anti-gay) work is an important epistemological move. Since heterosexuality is the natural condition, it is a place that is spoken from but not inquired into. In contrast, homosexuality is the aberration and hence it needs to be studied but it is not an authoritative place from which one can speak. By virtue of this heterosexual privilege, Wilson is allowed the voice of the impartial, fair-minded expert. Yet, as the history section above shows, there are striking discontinuities in understandings of sexuality, and this is true to the point that, according to queer theorists, we should not think of sexuality as having any particular nature at all. Through undoing our infatuation with any specific conception of sexuality, the queer theorist opens space for marginalized forms of sexuality, and thus of ways of being more generally.
The insistence that we must investigate the ways in which categories such as sexuality and orientation are created and given power through science and other cultural mechanisms has made queer theory appealing to scholars in a variety of disciplines. Historians and sociologists have drawn on it, which is perhaps unsurprising given the role of historical claims about the social construction of sexuality. Queer theory has been especially influential in literary studies and feminist theory, even though the dividing lines between the latter and queer thinking is contested (see Jagose, 2009 Marinucci, 2010). One of the most prominent scholars working in the area of gay and lesbian issues in constitutional law has also drawn on queer theory to advance his interrogation of the ways that US law privileges heterosexuality (Eskridge, 1999). Scholars in postcolonial and racial analyses, ethnography, American studies, and other fields have drawn on the conceptual tools provided by queer theory.
Despite its roots in postmodernism and Foucault&rsquos work in particular, queer theory&rsquos reception in France was initially hostile (see Eribon, 2004). The core texts from the first &lsquowave&rsquo of queer theory, such as Judith Butler&rsquos and Eve Sedgwick&rsquos central works, were slow to appear in French translation, not coming out until a decade and a half after their original publication. Doubtless the French republican self-understanding, which is universalist and often hostile to movements that are multicultural in their bent, was a factor in the slow and often strenuously resisted importation of queer theoretical insights. Similarly, queer theory has also been on the margins in German philosophy and political philosophy. In sum, it is fair to say that queer theory has had a greater impact in the Anglo-American world.
Queer theory, however, has been criticized in a myriad of ways (Jagose, 1996). One set of criticisms comes from theorists who are sympathetic to gay liberation conceived as a project of radical social change. An initial criticism is that precisely because &lsquoqueer&rsquo does not refer to any specific sexual status or gender object choice, for example Halperin (1995) allows that straight persons may be &lsquoqueer,&rsquo it robs gays and lesbians of the distinctiveness of what makes them marginal. It desexualizes identity, when the issue is precisely about a sexual identity (Jagose, 1996). A related criticism is that queer theory, since it refuses any essence or reference to standard ideas of normality, cannot make crucial distinctions. For example, queer theorists usually argue that one of the advantages of the term &lsquoqueer&rsquo is that it thereby includes transsexuals, sado-masochists, and other marginalized sexualities. How far does this extend? Is transgenerational sex (e.g., pedophilia) permissible? Are there any limits upon the forms of acceptable sado-masochism or fetishism? While some queer theorists specifically disallow pedophilia, it is an open question whether the theory has the resources to support such a distinction. Furthermore, some queer theorists overtly refuse to rule out pedophiles as &lsquoqueer&rsquo (Halperin, 1995, 62) Another criticism is that queer theory, in part because it typically has recourse to a very technical jargon, is written by a narrow elite for that narrow elite. It is therefore class biased and also, in practice, only really referred to at universities and colleges (Malinowitz, 1993).
Queer theory is also criticized by those who reject the desirability of radical social change. For example, centrist and conservative gays and lesbians have criticized a queer approach by arguing that it will be &ldquodisastrously counter-productive&rdquo (Bawer, 1996, xii). If &lsquoqueer&rsquo keeps its connotation of something perverse and at odds with mainstream society, which is precisely what most queer theorists want, it would seem to only validate the attacks upon gays and lesbians made by conservatives. Sullivan (1996) also criticizes queer theorists for relying upon Foucault&rsquos account of power, which he argues does not allow for meaningful resistance. It seems likely, however, that Sullivan&rsquos understanding of Foucault&rsquos notions of power and resistance is misguided.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION
Bill of Rights in Action
FALL 2010 (Volume 26, No. 1)
Plato and Aristotle on Tyranny and the Rule of Law
Nearly 2,400 years ago, the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle explored political philosophy. Aristotle concluded that &ldquoit is evident that the form of government is best in which every man, whoever he is, can act best and live happily.&rdquo
In Philadelphia some 2,000 years after Plato and Aristotle&rsquos time, a group of men was trying to write a constitution. George Washington, James Madison, and the other framers of the Constitution were dedicated to constructing a just government. Americans had overthrown what they considered a tyrannous British government. The framers wanted to create a national government free of tyranny, governed by the rule of law.
The new American nation was quite different from the ancient Greek city-states. Still, many of the framers at Philadelphia had studied and understood Plato&rsquos and Aristotle&rsquos political philosophies. And they were grappling with many of the same political questions.
Tyranny and the Rule of Law
Plato and Aristotle both developed important ideas about government and politics. Two of the many political subjects that these men wrote about were tyranny and the rule of law. Tyranny occurs when absolute power is granted to a ruler. In a tyrannical government, the ruler becomes corrupt and uses his power to further his own interests instead of working for the common good.
The rule of law is the principle that no one is exempt from the law, even those who are in a position of power. The rule of law can serve as a safeguard against tyranny, because just laws ensure that rulers do not become corrupt.
Both Plato and Aristotle lived in the democratic Greek city-state of Athens. In Athenian democracy, all male citizens directly participated in making laws and deciding jury trials. Yearly elections decided who would fill important government positions. Citizens drew lots to see who would staff the remaining posts.
Athens had reached its height in political power before Plato was born. Its decline began with a long war with Sparta, a rival city-state. The war ended in 404 B.C. with Athens&rsquo defeat. Athens regained its democracy, but shortly after Plato&rsquos death, the city-state fell under the control of Macedon, a kingdom north of Greece. The city remained, however, a cultural center.
Plato (c. 428&ndash347 B.C.)
Plato was a student of Socrates. Socrates taught by asking questions about a subject and getting his students to think critically about it. Today, this is known as the Socratic method, used by many professors in law schools.
Socrates&rsquo questioning often led to criticism of Athenian democracy and its politicians. An increasing number of Athenians viewed Socrates as a threat to their city-state.
A few years after losing the war with Sparta, Athens put the 70-year-old Socrates on trial for not accepting the gods of Athens and for corrupting the young. Socrates denied the accusations, but he was found guilty and sentenced to death.
When Socrates died, Plato concluded that democracy was a corrupt and unjust form of government. He left Athens for a decade. Returning in 387 B.C., he established a school of higher learning called the Academy.
Plato&rsquos most important work on politics is his Republic, published around 380 B.C. Written as a dialogue among characters and set in a private home, the book describes a small group of Athenians discussing political philosophy. The main character is Socrates, who voiced Plato&rsquos ideas. (The real Socrates never wrote down his ideas.)
The Republic examines the meaning of justice, looks at different types of government, and outlines the ideal state. It touches on many subjects, including law and tyranny.
Plato looked at four existing forms of government and found them unstable. The best, in his view, is timocracy, a military state, like Sparta, based on honor. But such a state will fall apart:
The accumulation of gold in the treasury of private individuals is the ruin of timocracy they invent illegal modes of expenditure for what do they or their wives care about the law? . . . . And then one, seeing another grow rich, seeks to rival him, and thus the great mass of the citizens become lovers of money. . . . And so at last, instead of loving contention and glory, men become lovers of trade and money they honor and look up to the rich man, and make a ruler of him, and dishonor the poor man.
An oligarchy, the rule of a few (the rich), leads to
a city of the rich and a city of the poor, dwelling together, and always plotting against one another. . . . [The government] will not be able to wage war, because of the necessity of either arming and employing the multitude, and fearing them more than the enemy, or else, if they do not make use of them, of finding themselves on the field of battle . . . And to this must be added their reluctance to contribute money, because they are lovers of money.
The poor will overthrow the oligarchy and set up a democracy, the rule of the people (the poor). Plato thought that democratic &ldquolife has neither law nor order.&rdquo An unquenchable desire for limitless liberty causes disorder, because the citizens begin to
chafe impatiently at the least touch of authority and at length, . . . they cease to care even for the laws, written or unwritten they will have no one over them.
Stressing moderation, Plato warned that &ldquothe excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction,&rdquo such that the &ldquoexcess of liberty, whether in states or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.&rdquo
Like an oligarchy, a democracy pits the poor against the rich. The poor see the rich plotting, and they seek protection:
The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. . . . This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs when he first appears above ground he is a protector. . . . having a mob entirely at his disposal, he is not restrained from shedding the blood of kinsmen . . . he brings them into court and murders them . . . at the same time hinting at the abolition of debts and partition of lands. . . . After a while he is driven out, but comes back, in spite of his enemies, a tyrant full grown.
Plato deemed tyranny the &ldquofourth and worst disorder of a state.&rdquo Tyrants lack &ldquothe very faculty that is the instrument of judgment&rdquo&mdashreason. The tyrannical man is enslaved because the best part of him (reason) is enslaved, and likewise, the tyrannical state is enslaved, because it too lacks reason and order.
In a tyranny, no outside governing power controls the tyrant&rsquos selfish behavior. To Plato, the law can guard against tyranny. In the Republic, he called the law an &ldquoexternal authority&rdquo that functions as the &ldquoally of the whole city.&rdquo
Plato stressed the importance of law in his other works. In the Crito, a dialogue between Socrates and his friend Crito, Crito offers Socrates a way to escape his impending execution. Socrates refuses, explaining that when a citizen chooses to live in a state, he &ldquohas entered into an implied contract that he will do as . . . [the laws] command him.&rdquo In Plato&rsquos Laws, his last book, he summarizes his stance on the rule of law:
Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off but if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state.
Plato&rsquos ideal and just state is an aristocracy, the rule of the best. He believed leaders needed to be wise and trained in how to run a state, just as captains of ships are trained in how to run a ship.
He divided his ideal state into three classes. The lowest and largest class is the producers: the farmers, craftsmen, traders, and others involved in commerce. The next class is the warriors, those who defend the state. They are educated in sports, combat, and philosophy and tested by both terrifying and tempting situations. From the best of warrior class, the ruling class is drawn. Its members will study philosophy and be given government and military positions until age 50, when the best of them become philosopher kings.
Plato believed every human&rsquos soul is divided into three parts: appetite, spirit, and reason. Each of his three classes matches one aspect of a person&rsquos soul. The lower class is linked to appetite, and it owns all the land and controls all the wealth. The warrior class is spirited and lives by a code of honor. The ruling class is linked to reason and lives to gain wisdom.
The philosopher kings will prefer seeking truth to ruling, but a law will compel them to rule. They will obey the law and take their turns as rulers.
[T]he truth is that the State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst.
The warrior and ruling classes live in barracks, eat together, and share possessions. None has families. All children of these classes are brought up without knowing their parents. In this way, Plato tries to keep these classes from gaining wealth or producing family dynasties.
Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, . . . cities will never have rest from their evils . . . .
Aristotle (384&ndash322 B.C.)
Born in the north of Greece, Aristotle came from a family linked to the kingdom of Macedon. His father worked for the king as a court doctor.
When Aristotle grew up, he studied philosophy at Plato&rsquos Academy for 20 years, leaving when Plato died. He traveled and then tutored the king of Macedon&rsquos 13-year-old son, Alexander (the future Alexander the Great).
When Alexander became king of Macedon in 335 B.C., Aristotle returned to Athens to set up his own school, called the Lyceum. He studied, catalogued, lectured, debated, and wrote about every area of human knowledge.
Although Plato had been his teacher, Aristotle disagreed with much of Plato&rsquos philosophy. Plato was an idealist, who believed that everything had an ideal form. Aristotle believed in looking at the real world and studying it.
Aristotle spent many years teaching in Athens, which was under the control of Macedon. When Alexander the Great died, however, anti-Macedonians took control of Athens. Linked to Macedon, Aristotle was accused of not accepting the gods of Athens, one of the same charges leveled against Socrates. Unlike Socrates, however, Aristotle did not stand trial. He fled to a home in the countryside, saying, as the story goes, that he did not want Athens to &ldquosin twice against philosophy&rdquo (its first sin being the execution of Socrates). Aristotle died the following year in exile.
Like Plato, Aristotle, wrote extensively on the subjects of tyranny and the rule of law. He hoped that his Politics, a collection of essays on government, would provide direction for rulers, statesmen, and politicians.
In The Politics, Aristotle rejected Plato&rsquos ideal state. He said that it fails to address conflicts that will arise among its citizens. He claimed Plato&rsquos ideal state will
contain two states in one, each hostile to the other . . . . [Plato] makes the guardians [the warriors] into a mere occupying garrison, while the husbandmen and artisans and the rest are the real citizens. But if so, the suits and quarrels and all the evils which Socrates affirms to exist in other states, will exist equally among them. He says indeed that, having so good an education, the citizens will not need many laws, . . . but then he confines his education to the guardians.
Unlike The Republic, The Politics does not depict an ideal system of government. Instead, Aristotle explored practical constitutions that city-states can realistically put into effect. His aim was to &ldquoconsider, not only what form of government is best, but also what is possible and what is easily attainable.&rdquo
He studied the different governments in Greece&rsquos many city-states. He identified six different kinds of constitutions, and he classified them as either &ldquotrue&rdquo or &ldquodefective.&rdquo He stated that
governments which have a regard to the common interest are constituted in accordance with strict principles of justice, and are therefore true forms but those which regard only the interest of the rulers are all defective and perverted forms, for they are despotic . . . .
&ldquoTrue&rdquo constitutions served the common interests of all citizens. &ldquoDespotic&rdquo constitutions served only the selfish interests of a certain person or group. The chart below shows the &ldquodespotic&rdquo and &ldquotrue&rdquo constitutions. (Despotic is a synonym for &ldquotyrannic.&rdquo)
Tyranny perverts monarchy, because it &ldquohas in view the interest of the monarch only.&rdquo To Aristotle, tyranny is the
arbitrary power of an individual . . . responsible to no one, [which] governs . . . with a view to its own advantage, not to that of its subjects, and therefore against their will.
Aristotle wrote, &ldquoNo freeman, if he can escape from it, will endure such a government.&rdquo
Aristotle believed that tyranny is the &ldquovery reverse of a constitution.&rdquo He explained that
where the laws have no authority, there is no constitution. The law ought to be supreme over all.
Aristotle stressed that these laws must uphold just principles, such that &ldquotrue forms of government will of necessity have just laws, and perverted forms of government will have unjust laws.&rdquo
Aristotle held views similar to Plato&rsquos about the dangers of democracy and oligarchy. He feared that both pitted the rich against the poor. But he recognized that these types of governments took many forms. The worst were those without the rule of law. In democracies without law, demagogues (leaders appealing to emotions) took over.
For in democracies where the laws are not supreme, demagogues spring up. . . . [T]his sort of democracy . . . [is] what tyranny is to other forms of monarchy. The spirit of both is the same, and they alike exercise a despotic rule over the better citizens. The decrees of the [demagogues] correspond to the edicts of the tyrant . . . . Such a democracy is fairly open to the objection that it is not a constitution at all for where the laws have no authority, there is no constitution. The law ought to be supreme over all . . . .
Aristotle made the same argument about oligarchies.
When . . . the rulers have great wealth and numerous friends, this sort of family despotism approaches a monarchy individuals rule and not the law. This is the fourth sort of oligarchy, and is analogous to the last sort of democracy.
Aristotle stated that &ldquothe rule of law . . . is preferable to that of any individual.&rdquo This is because individuals possess flaws and could tailor government to their own individual interests, whereas the rule of law is objective.
[H]e who bids the law rule may be deemed to bid God and Reason alone rule, but he who bids man rule adds an element of the beast for desire is a wild beast, and passion perverts the minds of rulers, even when they are the best of men. The law is reason unaffected by desire.
Rulers must be &ldquothe servants of the laws,&rdquo because &ldquolaw is order, and good law is good order.&rdquo
In addition to law, Aristotle believed a large middle class would protect against the excesses of oligarchy and democracy:
[T]he best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well-administered in which the middle class is large, and stronger if possible than both the other classes . . . for the addition of the middle class turns the scale, and prevents either of the extremes from being dominant.
In fact, one of Aristotle&rsquos true forms of government is a polity, a combination of oligarchy and democracy. This type of state arises when the middle class is strong.
The U.S. Constitution
Like Plato and Aristotle, our nation&rsquos founders worried about tyrannical government. Recognizing that tyranny could come from a single powerful ruler or from &ldquomob rule,&rdquo the founders wrote into the Constitution mechanisms to prevent tyranny and promote the rule of law. They separated the powers of government into three equal branches of government: the executive (the president), the legislative (Congress), and the judicial (the Supreme Court). Each branch can check the other to prevent corruption or tyranny. Congress itself is divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House, elected for two-year terms, is more likely to be swayed by the passions of the people than the Senate, elected to six-year terms. The Constitution further limits the powers of the government by listing its powers: The government may not exercise any power beyond those listed. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, protect people&rsquos liberties and freedoms from government encroachment. In creating the judicial branch of government, the framers gave federal judges lifetime terms, thus ensuring that judges would base their decisions on the law and not on politics.
1. What is the rule of law? How can it help prevent tyranny?
2. James Madison, the &ldquofather&rdquo of the U.S. Constitution, wrote in The Federalist Papers #55: &ldquoHad every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.&rdquo What did he mean by this? Do you agree? Explain.
3. Which ideas of Plato might be useful in today&rsquos society? Why? Which ideas of Aristotle? Why?
4. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874&ndash1965) once said that &ldquodemocracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms . . . .&rdquo What did he mean? Do you agree? Explain.
5. At the end of their lives, Socrates and Aristotle faced a similar situation. In your opinion, who made the correct decision? Why?
6. What is a republic? Is Plato&rsquos ideal state a republic? Explain.
A C T I V I T Y
Plato and Aristotle in Modern Times
In this activity, students will examine and discuss political quotations from Plato and Aristotle. Divide the class into small groups. Assign one of the quotations to each group. Each group should:
1. Discuss and answer the following questions:
a. What does the quotation mean?
b. Do you agree with it? Why or why not?
c. How well does the American political system address or handle this issue?
2. Be prepared to report your answers and reasons for them to the class. If you have extra time, discuss another quotation.
1. [T]he best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well-administered in which the middle class is large, and stronger if possible than both the other classes . . . . &mdashAristotle
2. The best laws, though sanctioned by every citizen of the state, will be of no avail unless the young are trained by habit and education in the spirit of the constitution . . . . &mdashAristotle
3. [I]f law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state. &mdashPlato
4. If the poor . . . because they are more in number, divide among themselves the property of the rich&mdashis not this unjust? . . . But is it just then that the few and the wealthy should be the rulers? And what if they, in like manner, rob and plunder the people&mdashis this just? &mdashAristotle
5. The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. . . . This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs when he first appears above ground he is a protector. . . having a mob entirely at his disposal . . . . &mdashPlato