The Complex Framing of the Symposium 1. The dialogue begins with a ‘companion’ asking Apollodorus to tell him about the speeches that Socrates and others made at a dinner party a decade or so before. The companion remarks: “So it was really a long time ago,” (p. 459, 173B) 2. Apollodorus says that’s odd he was asked the same thing a few days before by Glaucon. 3. Apollodorus says he was not there, but he heard the speeches from “a fellow called Aristodemos... a real runt of a man who always went barefoot. He went to the party because, I think, he was obsessed with Socrates – one of the worst cases at that time. Naturally, I checked part of his story with Socrates, and Socrates agreed with his account,” Apollodorus says. (p. 459; 173B). 4. Apollodorus proceeds to recount the party to the ‘companion’ allegedly as he heard it from Aristodemos.
The Readers of Plato’s Time Would Know the World had Greatly Changed From the Time of the Famous Dinner Party to When the Party was Recounted: 1. The dinner party took place a few months before the sailing of the great armada to Sicily in 415 B.C. E. The conquest of Sicily was (wrongly) confidently anticipated. It was imagined Sicily would be a stepping stone to further Athenian expansion. 2. Alcibiades’ notorious career had yet to unfold. 3. Aristophanes was at the height of his comedy-writing powers. 4. It was the first victory of a new poet, Agathon. Agathon in the interim would befriend a despotic tyrant and emigrate. 5. In the interim, Phaedrus and Eryximachus would be exiled.
A. E. Taylor remarks: “Not only is the occasion itself, the first public victory of the new poet, a festive one, but the year is one in which the temper of the Imperial city itself was exceptional joyous and high. The date is only a few months before the sailing of the great Armada which was confidently expected to make the conquest of Sicily a mere stepping stone to unlimited expansion, possible to the conquest of Carthage; the extraordinary tone of hubris characteristic of Alcibiades in the dialogue becomes much more explicable when we remember that at the moment of speaking he was commander-designate of such an enterprise and drunk with the ambitions Thucydides ascribes to him quite as much as wine.” Taylor, A. S., Plato: The Man and His Work, (London: Methuen & Co Ltd., 1926/1978), p. 210.
Mikhail Bakhtin in 1920, (1895-1975) Russian philosopher of language, semiotician, and literary critic
Bakhtin on Socratic Dialogues “We possess a remarkable document that reflects that simultaneous birth of scientific thinking and of a new artistic prose-model for the novel. These are the Socratic dialogues. For our purposes everything in this remarkable genre, which was born just as classical antiquity was drawing to a close, is significant. Characteristically it arises as apomnemoneumata [recollections], that is, as a genre of the memoir type, as transcripts based on personal conversations among contemporaries...” 1 1. M. M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, Holquist ed., Emerson and Holquist trans. (Austin, TX: The University of Texas Press, 1981), p. 24,
Cooksey applies Bakhtin’s theories to the Symposium (continued) “Whether it be the mad obsessiveness of Apollodorus’ narrative, the limits of Aristodemus’ memory, or the disagreements, ironies, and humor among the various speakers at Agathon’s party, the Symposium challenges Plato’s readers to engage actively and passionately with the text, not just to accept it as ‘the same thing forever.’ In this way, Plato breaks out of the hermeneutic bind. The markings on the page may be fixed, but not their subsequent readings. In the end, the text of the Symposium itself becomes daimōnic, neither divine nor human, but the messenger between them.” Cooksey, Thomas L., Plato’s Symposium: A Reader’s Guide, (London: Continuum International Publishing Group. London, 2010), p. 130.
Cooksey applies Bakhtin’s theories to the Symposium [continued] “Bakhtin’s conception of the novel, inspired by the Platonic dialogue, offers us in retrospect, insight into the working of the Symposium, If in the Phaedrus, Socrates complains that “written words go on telling you just the same thing forever” (275E), then the Symposium gives the answer. The deliberate ambiguities that Plato inserts into his work by means of the successive narrative frames and the foregrounding of textual transmission raise the issue of authority in the minds of the attentive reader. Made conscious of the limits of the text, the reader is invited to rethink and reinterpret what he or she has read.” Cooksey, Thomas L., Plato’s Symposium: A Reader’s Guide, (London: Continuum International Publishing Group. London, 2010), p. 130.
Leo Strauss (1899 –1973) a political philosopher who specialized in classical political philosophy. He spent most of his career at the University of Chicago. Strauss returned to the notion that contemporary society suffered from types of nihilism. He supported a renewed reflection on classical political philosophy as a starting point for judging political action.
Strauss’s overview of the six speeches. “I would like to remind you of two things. The first is that there are three speeches in which eros is viewed from a point of view outside of it – those of Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, who view eros with regard to gain, moral virtue and art [technē]. Eros is sovereign in Aristophanes, Agathon and Socrates.” Strauss, Leo, On Plato’s Symposium, edited and with a Forward by Seth Benardete, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001)], p. 116.
Speech of Phaedrus (This is the same Phaedrus as in Plato’s dialogue by that name.) Love engenders courage Phaedrus says that Eros is the oldest of the gods so he has no ‘parents’. He inspires the admiration of the beloved since nothing shames persons more than to be seen by their beloved committing an inglorious act (178d- 179b). And so love can inspire bravery of a lover on the battlefield. He mentions Aristogeiton and Harmodius, the ‘tyrranicides.’ Phaedrus also cites women who sacrificed themselves out of love: Alcestis died for her husband Admetus. Phaedrus refers to the erastes/eroumenous or lover/beloved relation. Achilles fought bravely at the death of his lover Patroclus though although he was, because younger, beloved. According to Phaedrus, the tragedian Aeschylus erroneously made Achilles the ‘lover’ (erastes) (180a), claiming instead that Achilles was the beautiful, still-beardless, younger ‘beloved’ of Patroclus and citing Homer in his support. (Iliad 23.102)
Interlude: Aristophanes gets the hiccups: (185C-E; p. 469) “Perhaps Plato intends to ridicule Aristophanes, whose caricature of Socrates in his comedy Clouds may have offended him. Alternately the comedy may be directed at Eryximachus, as the famous physician is reduced to giving medical advice of a rather trivial sort. A third possibility is that the satire is directed at Pausanias. The latter view takes the suggestion that Aristophanes’ hiccups may have been “from overeating or something else” (185C) as involving a hint that the “something else” was being fed up with bad speeches.” The Symposium and the Phaedrus, Plato’s Erotic Dialogues, trans. and commentary by William S. Cobb, (Albany, NY: 1993), p. 66.
Interlude: Aristophanes gets the hiccups: (185C-E; p. 469) “At any rate, the reader should visualize what is going on during Eryximachus’ speech that follows. Aristophanes holds his breath until he explodes and starts hiccupping again. Then he gargles, no doubt loudly, but still continues to hiccup. Finally, he makes himself sneeze several times. The Symposium and the Phaedrus, Plato’s Erotic Dialogues, trans. and commentary by William S. Cobb, (Albany, NY: 1993), p. 66.
Video on the Myth in Aristophanes’ Speech by Pascal Szidon You can see it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4paSMqKYXtY
“Now here is why there were three kinds, and why they were as I described them: The male kind was originally an offspring of the sun, the female of the earth, and the one that combined both genders an offspring of the moon, because the moon shares in both. They were spherical, and so was their motion, because there were like their parents in the sky.” p. 473, 190B.
“They [Zeus and the other gods] couldn’t wipe out the human race with thunderbolts and kill them off as they did the giants, because that would wipe out the worship they receive, along with the sacrifices we humans give them. On the other hand, they couldn’t let them run riot. At last, after great effort, Zeus had an idea.” p. 473, 190C-D
VI. Speech of Agathon (194E-197E; pp. 477-80) Love is a god. According to Agathon, the god Eros 1)is youngest of all 2)is soft 3)is pliant 4)is comely 5) has all the virtues
A fresco taken from the north wall of the Tomb of the Diver (from Paestum, Italy, c. 475 BCE): a symposium scene
Strauss on Agathon’s Speech (194E-197E; pp. 477-80) Love is a god. According to Strauss: “Eidos, shape, which is the word for the Platonic idea, occurs here only in the sense of visible shape. The eidos, the essence, of Eros himself does not become the theme of Agathon.” …. “Now let us summarize what Agathon says about the beauty of Eros; Beauty here is the beauty of the body of Eros. He is young, delicate, of pliant shape, and of beautiful color. If we look at Greek concepts of beauty in Aristotle’s Rhetoric, we find that there are also two other elements of bodily beauty which Agathon omits: strength and size.... One could say that Eros, as described by Agathon, has the beauty of a serpent or a butterfly rather than the beauty of human shape.” Strauss, Leo, On Plato’s Symposium, edited and with a Forward by Seth Benardete, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001)], p. 160.
Socrates criticism of Agathon’s speech: “In my foolishness, I thought you should tell the truth about whatever your praise, that this should be your basis, and that from this a speaker should select the most beautiful truths and arrange them most suitably... But now it appears that this is not what it is praise anything whatever; rather, it is to apply to the object the grandest and the most beautiful qualities, whether he actually has them or not. And if they are false, that is no objection; for the proposal, apparently, was that everyone here make the rest of us think he is praising Love – and not that he actually praises him.” p. 481, 198Dff. [my emphasis]
Socrates refutes two main theses of Agathon. “Love is most beautiful and the best.” Agathon had said (480, 1978C). Principle I: Love is in need:. “... Ask yourself whether it is necessary that this be so: a thing that desires something of which it is in need; otherwise if it were not in need, it would not desire it.” 200B, p. 482. Principle II: When something desires something it does not have what it desires. Socrates quotes Agathon: “for there is no love of ugly ones.” (p. 483, 201A) ”So! If something needs beauty and has got no beauty at all would you still say that it is beautiful?” Certainly not.” “Then do you still agree that Love is beautiful, if those things are so? Then Agathon said, “It turns out, Socrates, I didn’t know what I was talking about in that speech.” p. 484, 201B
Diotima of Mantinea Jadwiga Łuszczewska, who used the pen name Diotima, posing as the ancient seer in a painting by Józef Simmler, 1855.
Two Principles Applied and the Character of Love 1. Love is somewhere between the beautiful and the ugly. 202B. Following Diotima, Socrates compares Love to correct belief, that is, it is between ignorance and knowledge. 202B 2. Love is a daemon. (Daemons were the way that gods entered into people in Homer.) 202E 3. “He [Love] is between mortal and immortal.” (p. 485, 202D)
Myth of Birth of Love He was a son born on Aphrodite’s birthday of the parents: Resource, [Poros], and Need, [Penia]. Love is described as hard, parched and barefoot, not soft and delicate. QUESTIONS 1. Love is described as hard, parched and barefoot. Who fits these qualities in the Symposium? 2. How is Socrates’ characterization of love incompatible with Agathon’s? 3. What might be point of Plato’s saying that Love was born on Aphrodite’s birthday, but is not her son?
What is the point of loving beautiful things? 204D-E, p. 487 Diotima’s asks: “What will this man have, when the beautiful things he wants have become his own?” “I [Socrates] said there was no way I could give a ready answer to that question; Then she said, “Suppose someone changes the question, putting ‘good’ in place of ‘beautiful,’ and asks you this: “Tell me, Socrates, a lover of good things has a desire, what does he desire?” “That they become his own,” I said. “And what will he have, when the good things he wants have become his own?” “This time it’s easier to come up with the answer,” I said. “He’ll have happiness.”
‘Love’ and ‘in love and ‘lovers’ are a special case of loving the good. Diotima: “The main point is this: every desire for good things or for happiness is ‘the supreme and treacherous love’ in everyone. But those who pursue this along any of its many ways—through making money, or through the love of sports, or through philosophy – we don’t say these people are in love, and we don’t call them lovers. It’s only when people are devoted exclusively to one special kind of love that we use the words that really belong to the whole of it: ‘lover’ and ‘in love’ and ‘lovers.’” 205D, p. 488. Rejection of Aristophanes myth: “Now there is a certain story, “ she said,: “according to which lovers are those people who seek their other halves.” But people will cut off their their own arms or legs if they are diseased. These extreme actions are determined because ‘belonging to me’ means ‘good.’ pp. 488-9, 205E.
Love wants the 1) good + 2) it is be theirs + 3) that they possess it forever = love is wanting to possess the good forever. Diotima: “That is because what everyone loves is really nothing other than the good? Do you disagree?” Zeus! Not I, I said. Now then, she said, Can we simply say that people love the good? Yes, I said But shouldn’t we add that in loving it, they want the good to be theirs?” We should. And not only that,” she said, “they want the good to be their forever, don’t they? We should add that too.” In a word then, love is wanting to possess the good forever.” That’s very true I said. 206A, p. 489
How do lovers – as ordinarily called -- pursue wanting the good to be theirs forever? They give ‘birth in beauty.’ Diotima: “We’d rightly say that when they are are in love they do something with eagerness and zeal. But what is it precisely that they do? Can you say?” “If I could,” I said, “ I wouldn’t be your student, filled with admiration for your wisdom, and trying to learn these very things.” “Well, I’ll tell you,” she said, “It’s giving birth in beauty, whether in body or soul.” (p.489) 206B.
The Lesser Mystery The sublimation of giving birth in beauty. (206C-210A; 489-92). 1. The pattern is found in animals. “First they are sick for intercourse with each other, then for nurturing their young.” 2. Learning has the same pattern: “For what we call studying exists because knowledge is leaving us, because forgetting is the departure of knowledge, while studying puts back a fresh memory in place of what went away, thereby preserving a piece of knowledge, so that it seems to be the same,’ 208A; pp. 490-1. 3. Seeking honor has the same pattern: “to lay up glory immortal forever.” p. 491; 208D: 4. Poetic creation has the same pattern: Homer and Hesiod authored eternal creations in poetic beauty p. 492; 209D 5. Same pattern in the creation of good political regimes, e. g. Solon and Lycurgus. Compare legacies of Lincoln or Martin Luther King, p. 492, 209E.
‘Giving Birth in Beauty’ The Beauty of Women and Fertility 1 “... the most attractive female faces are displaying physical features indicative of higher levels of pubertal estrogens (full lips) and lower levels of androgen exposure (short narrow lower jaw and large eyes) than average females. This combination of hormones also appears to be responsible for the low 0.7 waist to hip ratio that has been found to be a universally attractive feature of female bodies, and associated with physical health and high fertility 2,3. In the absence of contraception, female fertility reaches its maximum in the mid-twenties, declines by about 20% in the mid-thirties, and then falls precipitously by a further 60% during the forties. 4 The thinning of a female’s lips parallels these steep declines in fertility and it is not uncommon for females to use lipstick or collagen injections for maintaining or enhancing their facial attractiveness. Taken together, these observations suggest that female beauty depends upon specific highly visible hormonal markers that are indicative of higher than average fertility.” 1. The text is quoted from “Beauty, Bacteria, and the Faustian Bargain,” Victor S. Johnston, Professor Emeritus, NMSU. 2. Singh, D. (1993) Body shape and woman’s attractiveness: The critical role of waist-to-hip ratio. Hum. Nature 4, 297-321. 3. Zaastra, B. M. et al. (1993) Fat and female fecundity: Prospective study of effect of body fat distribution and conception rates. Brit Med J, 306, 484-487. 4. Henry, L. (1961) Some data on natural fertility. Eugen Quart, 8, 81-91.
‘Giving Birth in Beauty’ The Beauty of Women and Fertility 1 (continued) “To study the emotional value of facial features, ERPs [event related potentials] have been recorded from males exposed to a random sequence of male and female facial images designed to systematically manipulate the size and shape of facial features. 2 The results reveal that for female faces, but not male faces, the P3 [positive wave] amplitude is highly correlated with males’ beauty ratings, and the largest P3 [positive wave] response is evoked by female faces displaying full lips and a short narrow chin, the feature combination postulated to be an index of high fertility. It appears that male brains are exquisitely sensitive to these hormonal markers and respond to such cues within 500 milliseconds: the latency of the P3 [positive wave] component. In the real world, this implies that a man could probably assess the beauty of a woman’s face in a single glance across a crowded room!” 1. The text is quoted from “Beauty, Bacteria, and the Faustian Bargain,” Victor S. Johnston, Professor Emeritus, NMSU. 2. Johnston, V. S., and Oliver-Rodriguez, J. C. (1996) Facial Beauty and the Late Positive Component of Event-related Potentials. J Sex Res. 34, 188-198.
Downloaded 10/4/14 from website: “The Perfect Human Face,” http://theperfecthumanface.blogspot.com/2013/09/the- worlds-most-beautiful-asian-faces.html
The World’s Scientifically Most Beautiful Woman? according toi Design Taxi, Apr 30, 2012 9:16AM UTC: “Florence [Colgate] has all the classic signs of beauty,” Carmen Lefèvre, of The Perception Lab at the University of St Andrews’ School of Psychology, told The Daily Mail. “She has large eyes, high cheekbones, full lips and a fair complexion. Symmetry appears to be a very important cue to attractiveness.”
Downloaded 10/4/14 from website: “The Perfect Human Face,” http://theperfecthumanface.blogspot.com/
The Attractiveness of Males and Signs of Increased Capacity for Reproduction. 1 “Image processing software has allowed experimenters to systematically manipulate the degree of testosterone markers on the facial images of human males. 2 These studies have revealed that females prefer male faces that are more masculine than the average male and this preference becomes more extreme at ovulation or when selecting the face of a short-term mate, compared to a long-term mate; occasions when there is either a higher probability of conception or little expectation of resources other than “good genes”. 3,4 The relationship between masculine secondary sexual traits and “good genes” is supported by studies of fluctuating asymmetry (FA). FA is the measured deviation from perfect bilateral symmetry of those physical traits for which signed differences between the left and right sides have a mean of zero over the population.” 5 1.The text is quoted from “Beauty, Bacteria, and the Faustian Bargain,” Victor S. Johnston, Professor Emeritus, NMSU. 2.Johnston, V. S. et al. (2001) Male facial attractiveness: Evidence for hormone mediated adaptive design. Evol Hum Behav. 22, 251- 267. 3. Penton-Voak, I. S., et al. (1999) Menstrual cycle alters face preference. Nature, 399, 741-742. 4. Scarbrough, P. and Johnston, V. S. (2005) Individual differences in women's facial preferences as a function of digit ratio and mental rotation ability. Evol Hum Behav, 26 (6) 509-526. 5. Van Valen, L. (1962) A study of fluctuating asymmetry. Evolution, 16, 125-142.
The Attractiveness of Males and Signs of Increased Capacity for Reproduction. 1 “Across many species 2 including humans 3,4 males with low FAs enjoy better health and more mating success than asymmetrical males. Such asymmetries can be caused by pathogenic parasites or other insults encountered during the course of development, so low FA is believed to be a valid index of a competent immune system. 5 Since there is a significant positive correlation between low FA and facial masculinity in human males, facial testosterone markers can serve as a visible proxy for good genes. 6 ” 1. The text is quoted from “Beauty, Bacteria, and the Faustian Bargain,” Victor S. Johnston, Professor Emeritus, NMSU. 2. Møller, A.P. and Thornhill, R. (1997) Bilateral symmetry and sexual selection: A meta-analysis. Am. Nat. 151, 174-192. 3. Thornhill, R. and Gangestad, S. W. (1994) Human fluctuating asymmetry and sexual behavior. Psychol Sci. 5, 297-302 4. Waynforth, D. (1998) Fluctuating asymmetry and human male life-history trait in rural Belize. P R Soc Lond. B. 265, 1497-1501. 5. Gangestad, S. et al. (1994) Facial attractiveness, developmental stability and fluctuating asymmetry. Ethol Sociobiol, 15, 73-85. 6. Gangestad, S.W. and Thornhill, R. (2003) Facial masculinity and fluctuating asymmetry. Evol Hum Behav, 24, 231-241.
The Greater Mysteries 210A-212C, p. 492-4. 1. The final initiation takes the forms of an elaborate metaphor of an ascending staircase. (210A: “suing them like rising stairs” (p. 493, 211C) “Diotima describes a series of ascending forms of love, using the metaphor of a staircase (210Eff.). From an appreciation of physical beauty, one ascends first to an appreciation of the beauty of practical endeavors and social practices and then to an appreciation of the beauty of knowledge and understanding in general. In the final step of the ascent, Diotima says, “after turning toward the great sea of beauty, [the initiate] studies it and gives birth to many splendidly beautiful conversations and thoughts in a magnanimous philosophy, until, as he becomes more capable and flourishes in this situation, he comes to see a knowledge of a singular sort that is of this kind of beauty” 210D. Here, the initiate “come[s] finally to that understanding which is none other than the understanding of that beauty itself, so in the end he knows what beauty itself is (211C).” 1 1. Cobb, William S., The Symposium and the Phaedrus: Plato’s Erotic Dialogues, (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993,) pp. 77.
The Greater Mysteries 210A-212C, p. 492-4. 210E3- 211B6: Original210E3-211B6: (almost) literal translation ὃ ς γ ὰ ρ ἂ ν μέχρι ἐ ντα ῦ θα πρ ὸ ς τ ὰ ἐ ρωτικ ὰ παιδαγωγηθ ῇ, θεώμενος ἐ φεξ ῆ ς τε κα ὶ ὀ ρθ ῶ ς τ ὰ καλά, πρ ὸ ς τέλος ἤ δη ἰὼ ν τ ῶ ν ἐ ρωτικ ῶ ν ἐ ξαίφνης κατόψεταί τι θαυ- μαστ ὸ ν τ ὴ ν φύσιν καλόν, το ῦ το ἐ κε ῖ νο, ὦ Σώκρατες, ο ὗ δ ὴ (5) ἕ νεκεν κα ὶ ο ἱ ἔ μπροσθεν πάντες πόνοι ἦ σαν, πρ ῶ τον μ ὲ ν 211. (a.) ἀ ε ὶ ὂ ν κα ὶ ο ὔ τε γιγνόμενον ο ὔ τε ἀ πολλύμενον, ο ὔ τε α ὐ ξανό- μενον ο ὔ τε φθίνον, ἔ πειτα ο ὐ τ ῇ μ ὲ ν καλόν, τ ῇ δ’ α ἰ σχρόν, ο ὐ δ ὲ τοτ ὲ μέν, τοτ ὲ δ ὲ ο ὔ, When someone has been this far led in the lore of love, passing correctly from viewing beautiful/good things, proceeding to the end toward the objects of love, suddenly a wondrous vision will be revealed, the beautiful/good in its nature. This is that, Socrates, for the sake of which were all the previous toils. First it always is and is neither generated nor destroyed, neither becoming greater nor lesser, nor yet beautiful/good in part, nor ugly/base in part, nor yet at such a time nor yet not at such a time,
The Greater Mysteries 210A-212C, p. 492-4 210E3- 211B6: Original210E3-211B6: (almost) literal translation ο ὐ δ ὲ πρ ὸ ς μ ὲ ν τ ὸ καλόν, πρ ὸ ς δ ὲ τ ὸ α ἰ σχρόν, ο ὐ δ’ ἔ νθα μ ὲ ν καλόν, ἔ νθα δ ὲ α ἰ σχρόν, ὡ ς τισ ὶ μ ὲ ν ὂ ν καλόν, τισ ὶ δ ὲ α ἰ σχρόν· ο ὐ δ’ α ὖ φαντασθήσεται (5) α ὐ τ ῷ τ ὸ καλ ὸ ν ο ἷ ον πρόσωπόν τι ο ὐ δ ὲ χε ῖ ρες ο ὐ δ ὲ ἄ λλο ο ὐ δ ὲ ν ὧ ν σ ῶ μα μετέχει, ο ὐ δέ τις λόγος ο ὐ δέ τις ἐ πιστήμη, ο ὐ δέ που ὂ ν ἐ ν ἑ τέρ ῳ τινι, ο ἷ ον ἐ ν ζώ ῳ ἢ ἐ ν γ ῇ ἢ ἐ ν ο ὐ ραν ῷ (b.) ἢ ἔ ν τ ῳ ἄ λλ ῳ, ἀ λλ’ α ὐ τ ὸ καθ’ α ὑ τ ὸ μεθ’ α ὑ το ῦ μονοειδ ὲ ς ἀ ε ὶ ὄ ν, τ ὰ δ ὲ ἄ λλα πάντα καλ ὰ ἐ κείνου μετέχοντα τρόπον τιν ὰ τοιο ῦ τον, ο ἷ ον γιγνομένων τε τ ῶ ν ἄ λλων κα ὶ ἀ πολλυμένων μηδ ὲ ν ἐ κε ῖ νο μήτε τι πλέον μήτε ἔ λαττον γίγνεσθαι μηδ ὲ πάσχειν μηδέν. neither in relation to the beautiful/good, nor in relation to the ugly/base, neither only at its core the beautiful/good, nor at its core the ugly/base, and not for some people beautiful/good nor for others ugly/base; nor yet will it appear to him beautiful/good such as in a face, nor hands, nor anything else belonging to the body, nor yet some word, nor some knowledge, nor as being in some other thing, such as in an animal, or on the earth, or in the heavens, but itself, according to itself, with itself, always being of one kind, and the other beautiful/good things partake of it in such a manner, that although they come to be and perish, never does it become more nor less, nor yet is ever changed.
Heidegger on Identity 1 “While we are circumscribing in this fashion what is identical. We are reminded of an old word by which Plato makes the identical perceptible, a word that points back to still an older word. In the dialogue The Sophist, 254D, Plato speaks of στάσις and κίνησις, rest and motion. Plato has the stranger say at this point: ο ὐ κο ῦ ν α ὐ τ ῶ ν ἔ καστον το ῖ ν μέν δυο ῖ ν ἑ τερόν ἐ στιν, α ὐ τ ὸ δ ᾽ἑ αυτ ῷ τα ὑ τόν. “Each one of them is different from the (other) two, but itself the same for itself.” Plato doesn’t say say: ἔ καστον α ὐ τ ὸ τα ὑ τόν. “each itself the same,” but says ἔ καστον ἑ αυτ ῷ τα ὑ τόν “each the same for itself.” The dative ἑ αυτ ῷ means: each thing itself is returned to itself, each itself the same for itself with itself..... A more fitting formulation of the principle of identity “A = A” would accordingly mean not only that every A is itself the same: but rather that every A is itself the same with itself. Sameness implies the relation of ‘with,’ that is, a mediation, a connection, a synthesis: the unification into a unity.” 1. Heidegger, Martin, Identity and Difference, Stambaugh trans., (New York/Evaston/London: Harper & Row, 1969), pp. 24-5.
Plotinus on the Ladder of Ascent to Beautiful In Itself 1 “And what does this inner sight see? When it is just awakened it is not at all able to look at the brilliance before it. So that the soul must be trained, first of all to look at beautiful ways of life: then at beautiful works, not those which the arts produce, but from the works of men who have a name for goodness: then look at the souls of the people who produce the beautiful works. How then can you see the sort of beauty a good soul has? Go back into yourself and look; and if you do not yet see yourself beautiful, then, just as someone making a statue which has to be beautiful cuts away here and polishes there and makes one part smooth and clears another till he has given his statue a beautiful face, so you too must cut away excess and straighten the crooked and clear the dark and make it bright, and never stop “working on your statue” till the divine glory of virtue shines out on you, till you see “self-mastery enthroned upon its holy seat.” 1. Plotinus, Enneads, I.6.9 “On Beauty,” trans. A.H. Armstrong, 259-61. Plotinus (205 -270 CE)
Plotinus on the Ladder of Ascent to Beautiful In Itself 1 [continued] “If you have become like this, and see it, and are at home with yourself in purity, with nothing hindering you from becoming in this way one, with no inward mixture of anything else, but wholly yourself, nothing but true light, not measured by dimensions, or bounded by shape into littleness, or expanded to size by boundedness, but everywhere unmeasured, because greater than all measures and superior to all quantity; when you see that you have become this, then you have become sight; you can trust yourself then; you have already ascended and need no one to show you; concentrate your gaze and see. This alone is the eye that sees the great beauty.” 1. Plotinus, Enneads, I.6.9 “On Beauty,” trans. A.H. Armstrong, 259-61
Augustine of Hippo’s Appropriation of the Ascent to the Beautiful in Itself 1 “The Light by which the soul is illuminated in order that it may see and truly understand everything.... is God Himself... When it tries to behold the Light, it trembles in its weakness and finds itself unable to do so.... When it is carried off and after being withdrawn from the senses of the body is made present to this vision in a more perfect manner, it also sees above itself that Light, in whose illumination it is enabled to see all the objects that it sees and understands in itself.” 1. Augustine of Hippo, De Genesi ad litteram, 12.31.59, trans. John Hammond Taylor, in The Literal Meaning of Genesis, vol. 2 (New York: Paulist Press, 1982). Augustine of Hippo (354 –430 CE) in his study by Sandro Botticelli
Abu-al-Mawahib al-Shadhili North-African Islamic scholar founder of the Shadhili Sufi order (1196-1258 CE) 1 "The manifestation of beauty in objects varies with the gift of the observer. Thus the common folk do not see other than the appearance of physical beauty while the chosen have unveiled before them the picture of abstract beauty in which is manifested the splendor of His name, the Exalted, that is resplendent in all creation through various phenomena." 1.al-Shadhili, Princeton oriental texts, Volume IV, Illumination in IslamicMysticism, downloaded 10/5/2014, from https://archive.org/stream/illuminationinis032146mbp/illuminationin is032146mbp_djvu.txt
Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays: Second Series  The Poet “But the highest minds of the world have never ceased to explore the double meaning, or, shall I say, the quadruple, or the centuple, or much more manifold meaning, of every sensuous fact: Orpheus, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Plato, Plutarch, Dante, Swedenborg, and the masters of sculpture, picture, and poetry. For we are not pans and barrows, nor even porters of the fire and torch-bearers, but children of the fire, made of it, and only the same divinity transmuted, and at two or three removes, when we know least about it. And this hidden truth, that the fountains whence all this river of Time, and its creatures, floweth, are intrinsically ideal and beautiful, draws us to the consideration of the nature and functions of the Poet, or the man of Beauty, to the means and materials he uses, and to the general aspect of the art in the present time.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882
The Greater Mysteries 210A-212C, p. 492-4. The ultimate vision is identified with a kind of knowledge: “... but the lover is turned to the great sea of beauty, and, gazing upon this, he gives birth to many glorious beautiful ideas and theories, in unstinting love of wisdom, until, having grown and been strengthened there, he catches sight of such knowledge, and it is the knowledge of such beauty... ” 1 210E, p. 493 1. Nehamas and Woodruff in their translation of the Symposium in our Complete Works edited by John M. Cooper, insert an ellipsis – a series of dots -- after the last word in the quote as you find above. But, there is no such ellipsis in the Greek text. Nehamas and Woodruff are taking a questionable license with the text here.
Anselm Feuerbach (1829-1880) painted this scene from Plato's Symposium in 1869. It depicts the tragedian Agathon as he welcomes the drunken Alcibiades into his house. http://nibiryukov.narod.ru/nb_pinacoteca/nb_pinacoteca_painting/nb_pinacoteca_feuerbach_gastmahl_des _plato_1869_karlsruhe.jpg
Entrance of Alcibiades 212Dff. The ‘Satyrization’ of Socrates. 1. Alcibiades compares Socrates often to a satyr. Especially to Marsyas, who was a master flautist and flute music (aulos-music) was thought to inspire passions. 2. Socrates says he is in love with Alcibiades. This is ironical. 213D Alcibiades says accurately that Socrates does not care about good looks. 216E. 3. Alcibiades continues about his frustrated love for Socrates. He describes in detail how he tried to seduce him. 217C They went to the gymnasium and wrestled. Still no erotic response. 219B They slept together with Alcibiades cloak around Socrates still no response. 4. Alcibiades, further satirizes, Socrates’ two mysteries regarding the purposes and goal of love. He says, Socrates’ love amount to deception. Socrates keeps on saying he loves Alcibiades but when Alcibiades tries to seduce Socrates, Socrates will not reciprocate.
Entrance of Alcibiades 212Dff. The ‘Satyrization’ of Socrates. 5. Socrates is the essence of restraint and self-control. This is shown in battle in Potidaea and Delium. Socrates was not moved by cold or hunger. And he was always brave. 6. Alcibiades says that Socrates it utterly one of a kind. He’s not human. So Alcibiades prefers to see him as a satyr. Satyrs, by the way, were neither gods nor men, but like Socrates’ daimon Eros neither divine nor mortal. 7. “There is a parallel for everyone – everyone else that is. But this man here is so bizarre, his ways and his ideas are so unusual, that, search as you might, you’ll never find anyone else, alive or dead, who’s even remotely like him. The best you can do is not to compare him to human, but liken him, as I do, to Silenus and the satyrs, and the same goes for his ideas and his arguments.” p. 503; 221D.
Coda: (p. 504-5, 222D-223D ) 1. After Alcibiades speech: “A large drunken group, finding the gates open because someone was just leaving, walked into the room and join the party. The realization of total dionysianism arrives. 2. Eryximachus, Phaedrus, and presumably Pausanias, leave. Aristodemus falls asleep and sleeps through the night. When Aristodemus awakes he finds Agathon, Aristophanes and Socrates still in conversation. Socrates is talking about how authors should be able to write both comedy and tragedy. As Socrates goes on, Aristophanes falls asleep in the middle of discussion, and Agathon drifts off. 3. Seeing that Aristophanes and Agathon are asleep: “Socrates got up and left and Aristodemus followed him, as always.”
References for slides used in this powerpoint Slide#6, framing of the Symposium: http://platosymposium.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/framing- narrative41.jpghttp://platosymposium.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/framing- narrative41.jpg Slide 19, bust of Aristophanes, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristophanes#mediaviewer/File:Aristofanes.jpg http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristophanes#mediaviewer/File:Aristofanes.jpg Slide # 20, whole creatures in Aristophanes’s myth: http://matthewkirshenblatt.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/full-beings-and-perfect-forms-aristophanes- and-plato-in-miracleman/ Slide #21, half creatures in Aristophanes’s myth: http://onegirlinlife.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/platos-symposium.gif Slide #33, ‘scientifically most beautiful woman:’ http://editorial.designtaxi.com/news- mostbeautifulface3004/1.jpghttp://editorial.designtaxi.com/news- mostbeautifulface3004/1.jpg slide # 48, portrait of Augustine of Hippo, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo#mediaviewer/File:Saint_Augustine_Portrait.jpg slide #49, picture of book “Illumination in Islamic Mysticism, Princeton University Press, 1938:http://www.thornbooks.com/shop/thorn/17801.html slide # 50, photograph opf Emerson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Waldo_Emerson#mediaviewer/File:Ralph_Waldo_Emerson_ca18 57_retouched.jpg