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The Symposium (Penguin Great Ideas)

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Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whos Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are. Plato's retelling of the discourses between Socrates and his friends on such subjects as love and desire, truth and illusion, spiritual transcendence and the qualities of a good ruler, profoundly affected the ways in which we view human relationships, society and leadership - and shaped the whole tradition of Western philosophy.


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Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whos Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are. Plato's retelling of the discourses between Socrates and his friends on such subjects as love and desire, truth and illusion, spiritual transcendence and the qualities of a good ruler, profoundly affected the ways in which we view human relationships, society and leadership - and shaped the whole tradition of Western philosophy.

30 review for The Symposium (Penguin Great Ideas)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Συμπόσιον = Symposium, Plato The Symposium (Ancient Greek: Συμπόσιον) is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. عنوانها: ضیافت؛ سخن در خصوص عشق؛ اثر: افلاطون؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه سپتامبر سال 1984 میلادی عنوان: ضیافت، یا، سخن در خصوص عشق؛ اثر: افلاطون Συμπόσιον = Symposium, Plato The Symposium (Ancient Greek: Συμπόσιον) is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. عنوانها: ضیافت؛ سخن در خصوص عشق؛ اثر: افلاطون؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه سپتامبر سال 1984 میلادی عنوان: ضیافت، یا، سخن در خصوص عشق؛ اثر: افلاطون؛ ترجمه و پیشگفتار: محمدعلی فروغی؛ ویراستار و پی نوشت: محمدابراهیم امینی فرد؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، جامی، 1385، در 160 ص، از مجموعه افلاطون، شابک: 9642575000؛ کتاب با عنوان «ضیافت: درس عشق از زبان افلاطون» با ترجمه «محمود صناعی» توسط انتشارات جامی در سال 1381 نیز منتشر شده است، چاپ دوم 1386، چاپ سوم 1389؛ موضوع: عشق، سقراط (469 تا 399 قبل از میلاد) - فلسفه یونان پس زمین و عشق بودند، که جانشین هرج و مرج و بی شکلی آغازین هستی شدند. این رساله از رساله‌ های سقراطی افلاطون است، که در آنها سقراط، چهرهٔ نخست رویداد بوده است. روایتی‌ ست، که در بخشی از آن خوانشگر شاهد گفتگوی بازیگران آن، با یکدیگر است. نام این داستان نیز، اشاره به مهمانی‌هایی دارد، که در یونان باستان برگزار می‌شد، و مهمانان پس از خوردن خوراک، به نوشیدن باده، و گفتگو و بحث، پیرامون موضوعی مشخص، می‌پرداختند. تاریخ نگارش این رساله به درستی آشکار نیست، ولی از نشانه ها برمی‌آید، که پس از سال 385 (پیش از میلاد)، نوشته‌ شده باشد. ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 2* of five, all for Aristophanes's way trippy remix of the Book of Genesis While perusing a review of Death in Venice (dreadful tale, yet another fag-must-die-rather-than-love piece of normative propaganda) written by my good friend Stephen, he expressed a desire to read The Symposium before he eventually re-reads this crapulous homophobic maundering deathless work of art. As I have read The Symposium with less than stellar results, I warned him off. Well, see below for what happened next Rating: 2* of five, all for Aristophanes's way trippy remix of the Book of Genesis While perusing a review of Death in Venice (dreadful tale, yet another fag-must-die-rather-than-love piece of normative propaganda) written by my good friend Stephen, he expressed a desire to read The Symposium before he eventually re-reads this crapulous homophobic maundering deathless work of art. As I have read The Symposium with less than stellar results, I warned him off. Well, see below for what happened next. Stephen wrote: "Damn...can you do a quick cliff notes summary or maybe a video lecture? I would much rather take advantage of your previous suffering than have to duplicate it." THE SYMPOSIUM So this boring poet dude wins some big-ass prize and has a few buds over for a binge. They're all lying around together on couches, which is as promising a start to a story as I can think of, when the boys decide to stay sober (boo!) and debate the Nature of Luuuv. Phaedrus (subject of a previous Socratic dialogue by Plato) gives a nice little speech, dry as a popcorn fart, about how Love is the oldest of the gods, and Achilles was younger than Patroclus, and Alcestis died of love for her husband, and some other stuff I don't remember because I was drifting off, and so I got up to see if I would stay awake better on the patio. It was a little nippy that day. So next up is the lawyer. I know, right? Ask a lawyer to talk about love! Like asking a priest to talk about honor, or a politician to talk about common decency! So he pontificates about pederasty for a while, which made me uncomfortable, so I got up to get some coffee. I may have stopped by the brandy bottle on the way back out, I can't recall. So after the lawyer tells us when *exactly* it's okay for a grown man to pork a teenager, the doctor chimes in that luuuuuv is the drug, it's everything, man, the whole uuuuuuuniiiiiveeeeeeeeeerse is luuuuv. Who knew they had hippies in those days? I needed more brandy, I mean coffee!, and the text of my ancient Penguin paperback was getting smaller and smaller for some reason, so I went to look for the brandy get the magnifying glass so I could see the footnotes. Then comes Aristophanes. Now seriously, this is a good bit. Aristophanes, in Plato's world, tells us why we feel whole, complete, when we're with our true love: Once upon a time, we were all two-bodied and two-souled beings, all male, all female, or hermaphroditic. When these conjoined twins fell into disfavor, Zeus cleaved them apart, and for all eternity to come, those souls will wander the earth seeking the other half torn from us. Now being Aristophanes, Plato plays it for laughs, but this is really the heart of the piece. Plato quite clearly thought this one through, in terms of what makes us humans want and need love. It's a bizarre version of Genesis, don'cha think? So there I was glazed over with brandy-fog admiration for the imagination of this ancient Greek boybanger, and I was about to give up and pass out take my contemplations indoors when the wind, riffling the pages a bit, caused me to light on an interesting line. I continued with the host's speech. Now really...is there anything on this wide green earth more boring than listening to a poet bloviate? Especially about luuuuv? Blah blah noble blah blah youthful yakkity blah brave *snore* Then it's Socrates's turn, and I was hoping Plato gave him some good zingers to make up for the tedium of the preceding sixteen years of my life. I mean, the previous speech. It was a little bit hard to hold the magnifying glass, for some reason, and it kept getting in the way of the brandy bottle. I mean, coffee thermos! COFFEE THERMOS. I'm not all the way sure what Plato had Socrates say, but it wasn't riveting lemme tell ya what. I woke up, I mean came to, ummm that is I resumed full attention when the major studmuffin and hawttie Alcibiades comes in, late and drunk (!), and proceeds to pour out his unrequited lust for (older, uglier) Socrates. He really gets into the nitty-gritty here, talking about worming his way into the old dude's bed and *still* Socrastupid won't play hide the salami. Various noises of incredulity and derision were heard to come from my mouth, I feel sure, though I was a little muzzy by that time, and it is about this point that the brandy bottle COFFEE THERMOS slid to the ground and needed picking up. As I leaned to do so, I remember thinking how lovely and soft the bricks looked. When I woke up under the glass table top, the goddamned magnifying glass had set what remains of the hair on top of my head on fire. The moral of the story is, reading The Symposium should never be undertaken while outdoors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    OPRAH: Good evening and welcome to What's the Most Spiritual Book of All Time? For people who missed last week's exciting semi-final round, The Sermon on the Mount beat The Bhagavad Gita 4-1 while Jonathan Livingston Seagull unexpectedly lost 3-2 to outsider The Symposium. Let's all welcome our finalists! [Applause. Enter JESUS CHRIST and SOCRATES, both wearing tuxedos. They shake hands. More applause.] OPRAH: And now let me introduce our jury. I'm thrilled to have with us living legend Paul McCar OPRAH: Good evening and welcome to What's the Most Spiritual Book of All Time? For people who missed last week's exciting semi-final round, The Sermon on the Mount beat The Bhagavad Gita 4-1 while Jonathan Livingston Seagull unexpectedly lost 3-2 to outsider The Symposium. Let's all welcome our finalists! [Applause. Enter JESUS CHRIST and SOCRATES, both wearing tuxedos. They shake hands. More applause.] OPRAH: And now let me introduce our jury. I'm thrilled to have with us living legend Paul McCartney, world-famous novelist E.L. James, the beautiful and talented Lindsay Lohan, controversial scientist Richard Dawkins and ever-popular hockey mom Sarah Palin! [The crowd goes wild, with some people clapping and others booing. It's impossible to make out a word anyone says.] OPRAH: Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm just going to remind you of the rules before we start. Each member of the jury gives us a short speech, and then we count up the votes to see who our lucky winner is. Over to you, Paul! MCCARTNEY: Thank you, Oprah. Well, I look at our two finalists, and you know what I'm thinking? I'm thinking they won that special place they have in our hearts because they told us about Love. And I remember back in 1966 when John gave that interview where he said - no offense intended - "we're more popular than Jesus". [JESUS holds up a hand to show he's cool.] They gave John a hard time about that, but all he wanted to say was that even though Jesus had shown us the power of Love, maybe, at that exact moment in history, we could do a better job of bringing it to the people and telling them all how amazing Love is. Because it is amazing, isn't it? [He takes out a guitar.]Perhaps some of you remember this song we wrote.There's nothing you can do that can't be done Nothing you can sing that can't be sung Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game It's easy Nothing you can make that can't be made No one you can save that can't be saved Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time It's easy All you need is love--OPRAH: That's wonderful, Paul, but who are you voting for? MCCARTNEY: Oh, er... well, if John were here, I think he'd want me to vote for The Symposium. He was always had a thing for Socrates. George too. Yes, Socrates it is. [Applause. The scoreboard shows 1-0. SOCRATES looks a little embarrassed, while JESUS curiously examines MCCARTNEY's guitar.] OPRAH: That's terrific, Paul, beautiful, beautiful song. Really takes me back. So Socrates is in the lead, but it's early days yet. Your turn, Erika! JAMES: Good evening, and I'm thrilled to be here. Now, I'm sure some of you have read the Fifty Shades books, and I believe a lot of people misunderstand them. It's easy just to think about the sex and the glitz and the limos and the handcuffs and the blindfolds and the whips and the-- OPRAH: I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say here, Erika. JAMES: Just let me finish, Oprah. What most people don't realize is that these books aren't about sex, they're about Love. They're a spiritual journey, where Ana has to help Christian - have you ever wondered why he's called Christian? - find himself and discover the difference between empty eroticism and the redeeming power of-- OPRAH: I'm afraid I'm going to have to cut you off there, Erika. You'll have to tell us now who you're voting for. JAMES: Well, Jesus, of course. Really, Fifty Shades is an allegory, a modern version of Dante's-- OPRAH: That's incredibly interesting, Erika, and I wish we had more time to talk about it. But now the score's 1-1, and we're moving on to our third member of the jury. Your turn, Lindsay! LOHAN: Thank you everyone, and I'd particularly like to thank my parole officer for allowing me to join you tonight. She said it'd be good for me. [Laughter, applause]. So, yeah, Love. To me, love's about trying to find my soulmate. I bet there's plenty of you people who feel the same way I do, there's someone out there who's, like, the other half of me and I have to find that person to be complete. You know? And it's really hard to guess who that person is, maybe it's a guy, like, you know, maybe Justin or Ashton or Zac or Ryan, and we were once this person who was half a man and half a woman and we got split apart, or maybe it's a woman, like maybe Sam or-- OPRAH: Lindsay, that's such a moving thought, but we've got to watch the clock. Who are you voting for? LOHAN: Well, duh, Socrates of course. It's all there in the Symposium. The Aristophanes speech. I must have read it a million times. OPRAH: Lindsay, thank you so much, and I really hope you find your soulmate one day. You just need to keep looking. So Socrates has taken a 2-1 lead and we're going over to our next speaker. Richard? DAWKINS: Ah, yes. Now, I've been sitting here listening to all of you, and I've enjoyed your contributions, but I'm a scientist and I've got to think about things in a scientific way. When I think about love as a scientist, all I ultimately see is tropisms and feedback loops. An organism feels a lack of something - it could be as simple as an E. coli needing an essential nutrient - and it does what it can to get it. Love is just the concrete expression of that negative feedback loop. There's nothing-- OPRAH: This all sounds like Socrates's speech. I take it you're voting for him then? DAWKINS: What? Oh, no, no, not at all. Jesus, every time. [He takes off his jacket, revealing a T-shirt that says ATHEISTS FOR JESUS.] I can't stand Platonic forms and all that mystical nonsense. Jesus, now there's a straightforward, plain-speaking person with solid humanist values. Just a shame he got mixed up with the religion business. [Boos, catcalls, some scattered clapping. The scoreboard shows 2-2.] OPRAH: Er - right. Always ready to surprise us, Richard! So it's up to Sarah to cast the deciding vote. Over to you, Sarah! PALIN: Well Oprah, I'm afraid I'm not as imaginative as Richard. I'm just a regular small-town girl with regular small-town values, and I was brought up readin' the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, blessed are ye when men shall revile you, smaller government, lower taxes, support Israel, no to-- OPRAH: Is that all in the Sermon on the Mount, Sarah? PALIN: Maybe not in those exact words. But it's there. And you can bet your boots I'm not votin' for a liberal type who hangs around with a bunch of guys what're openly tryin' to get into his- [JESUS and SOCRATES exchange puzzled glances.] PALIN: Anyways. I'm votin' for Jesus. OPRAH: Ah - thank you Sarah. Forthright as ever! So that's 3-2 to The Sermon on the Mount, but well done The Symposium, you were so close. And thank you everyone, particularly Socrates and Mr. Christ, for an amazing and deeply spiritual experience, it's been incredible meeting you all, thank you again, and we'll be back next week. [Credits, theme music]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    “It’s been less than three years that I’ve been Socrates’ companion and made it my job to know exactly what he says and does each day. Before that, I simply drifted aimlessly. Of course, I used to think that what I was doing was important, but in fact I was the most worthless man on earth—as bad as you are this very moment: I used to think philosophy was the last thing a man should do.” In Praise of Love: An Encore This is a dialogue about the human aspiration towards happiness, and how that “It’s been less than three years that I’ve been Socrates’ companion and made it my job to know exactly what he says and does each day. Before that, I simply drifted aimlessly. Of course, I used to think that what I was doing was important, but in fact I was the most worthless man on earth—as bad as you are this very moment: I used to think philosophy was the last thing a man should do.” In Praise of Love: An Encore This is a dialogue about the human aspiration towards happiness, and how that desire is best satisfied.  Plato’s overriding concern as a teacher is how to achieve eudamonia or how to live the good life. However, this is as difficult a topic to capture in teaching as it is to achieve in action. Hence he approaches the topic by defining many peripheral topics - by showing various aspects of the good life. In The Symposium too the same ultimate question is approached, this time through the question of how to love perfectly. Many wonderful explanation of Love are given but in the end it boils down to how to live the good life  through the question of what should one love to do and hence what should one do in life. The answer that emerges is simple - love only things that are ends in themselves, do only them. Ends-in-themselves are not to done for any further end, to achieve something else. And most importantly, they should be eternal. Symposium: The Setting Plato’s dialogues are fictional and often richly dramatic snippets of philosophical imagination. The Symposium is a particularly dramatic work. It is set at the house of Agathon, a tragic poet celebrating his recent poetic victory. Those present are amongst the intellectual elite of the day, including an exponent of heroic poetry (Phaedrus), an expert in the laws of various Greek states (Pausanias), a representative of medical expertise (Eryximachus), a comic poet (Aristophanes) and a philosopher (Socrates). And the political maverick Alcibiades towards the end. The Symposium The Symposium consists mainly of a series of praise speeches (encomia), delivered in the order in which these speakers are seated: They begin with the discourse of Phaedrus, and the series contains altogether eight parts divided into two principal sequences: The Speeches 1. Phaedrus: Love makes us noble and gods honor it. Love is the greatest god. Love is nobility. This is the simplest of the speeches. An unconditional praising of Love and this from the same Phaedrus who unconditionally condemns it in his own eponymous dialogue ! 2. Pausanias (perhaps the most interesting of these speeches for this reviewer): Wants to define Love before praising it. Love is not in itself noble and worthy of praise; it depends on whether the sentiments it produces in us are themselves noble. Differentiates between “Common Love” & “Divine Love”: How hasty vulgar lovers are, and therefore how unfair to their loved ones? "Love is, like everything else, complex: considered simply in itself, it is neither honorable nor a disgrace - its character depends entirely on the behavior it gives rise to. The common, vulgar lover loves the body rather than the soul, his love is bound to be inconstant, since what he loves is itself mutable and unstable. The moment the body is no longer in bloom, “he flies off and away,” his promises and vows in tatters behind him. How different from this is a man who loves the right sort of character, and who remains its lover for life, attached as he is to something that is permanent." Pausanias goes on from this to provide a theory on the origins of Social Customs (of courtship, etc): "We can now see the point of our customs: they are designed to separate the wheat from the chaff, the proper love from the vile. That’s why we do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for lovers to press their suits and as difficult as possible for young men to comply; it is like a competition, a kind of test to determine to which sort each belongs. This explains two further facts: First, why we consider it shameful to yield too quickly: the passage of time in itself provides a good test in these matters. Second, why we also consider it shameful for a man to be seduced by money or political power, either because he cringes at ill-treatment and will not endure it or because, once he has tasted the benefits of wealth and power, he will not rise above them. None of these benefits is stable or permanent, apart from the fact that no genuine affection can possibly be based upon them." *** "Only in this case, we should notice, is it never shameful to be deceived; in every other case it is shameful, both for the deceiver and the person he deceives. Suppose, for example, that someone thinks his lover is rich and accepts him for his money; his action won’t be any less shameful if it turns out that he was deceived and his lover was a poor man after all. For the young man has already shown himself to be the sort of person who will do anything for money—and that is far from honorable. By the same token, suppose that someone takes a lover in the mistaken belief that this lover is a good man and likely to make him better himself, while in reality the man is horrible, totally lacking in virtue; even so, it is noble for him to have been deceived. For he too has demonstrated something about himself: that he is the sort of person who will do anything for the sake of virtue—and what could be more honorable than that? It follows, therefore, that giving in to your lover for virtue’s sake is honorable, whatever the outcome. And this, of course, is the Heavenly Love of the heavenly goddess. Love’s value to the city as a whole and to the citizens is immeasurable, for he compels the lover and his loved one alike to make virtue their central concern. All other forms of love belong to the vulgar goddess." Makes one wonder if we should really be proud of our modern methods, sans the niceties of elaborate courtship. 3. Eryximachus: Differentiates between “Healthy” & “Unhealthy” Love, doctor that he is. Everything sound and healthy in the body must be encouraged and gratified. Conversely, whatever is unhealthy and unsound must be frustrated and rebuffed: that’s what it is to be an expert in medicine. 4. Aristophanes:  Bases Love on the conception of Longing & Completion - beautifully illustrated in his famous Myth of Soulmates: We used to be complete wholes in our original nature, and now “Love” is the name for our pursuit of wholeness, for our desire to be complete. Plato also uses this occasion to make fun of Aristophanes by painting whims lewd and bawdy man, given to sensual pleasures and fits of hiccups. There are even direct references to Aristophanes’s irreverent clouds: “Aristophanes, do you really think you can take a shot at me, and then escape? Use your head! Remember, as you speak, that you will be called upon to give an account. Though perhaps, if I decide to, I’ll let you off.” 5. Agathon: Decides to stop the praising of Love and focus on the Qualities of Love - "For every praise, no matter whose: you must explain what qualities in the subject of your speech enable it to give the benefits for which we praise it. So now, in the case of Love, it is right for us to praise him first for what it is and afterwards for its gifts." He goes on toe elaborate on the perfection of Love’s qualities - about the god’s justice, moderation, bravery and wisdom - and how Love confers all these qualities to its devotees. Thus, Love is the source of all good, according to Agathon. 6. Socrates: Enough with the Eulogies! Socrates sets out with a series of questions, in an attempt to pin down Love: “You have beautifully and magnificently expounded his qualities in other ways, tell me this, too, about Love. Is Love such as to be a love of something or of nothing?" He proceeds through the same arguments as in Phaedrus and arrives at: “No one is in need of those things he already has.” *** “Whenever you say, I desire what I already have, ask yourself whether you don’t mean this: I want the things I have now to be mine in the future as well." Socrates’ Conclusion: Love is a lack and desire to fill that. It is a desire for something lacking or a desire for preservation of what has been acquired. What constitutes eudaimonia is not to be had in a moment in time. “In a word, then, love is wanting to possess the good forever.” If this is the objective of Love, The next question is how to pursue this objective. Answer: Seek Love in Beauty; and Reproduction and Birth, in Beauty - The argument does not deviate much from that in Phaedrus; readers will want to compare this speech on Love with those of Socrates in Phaedrus. Socrates’ account thus moves from an analysis of the nature of such desire to an account of knowledge and its acquisition; for if we all have a desire for our own good and happiness, the issue becomes how to identify correctly the nature of this good. He defines intellectual activity to be the best good, and more central to human happiness than any other activity. 7. Alcibiades: An almost pointless speech, does not contribute much to the dialogue directly, and yet it does, by adding to the context: Plato’s Political Intent: Praise Socrates & Distance Socrates from the follies of this young man. Alcibiades’ account reveals that although he desires the wisdom he perceives in Socrates, there is a competing value pulling him away: “Yet when I leave him I am equally aware that I am giving in to my desire for honor from the public, so I skulk out of his sight like a runaway slave.”  This conflict between the attractions of wisdom and the sort of excellence that earns honour from the people is the very one argued out theoretically in Socrates’ speech. Alcibiades’ choice to organize his life around the pursuit of personal honor exonerates Socrates from any association with the terrible events that resulted from his choices. Socrates was not responsible for the corruption. Plato’s Philosophical Intent: Also, show how even Socrates’ teachings are not flawless. Even Philosophy is dependent on good students to produce results. Symposium: A Conclusion The Symposium belongs with the dialogues concerned with Education, especially the moral education of the young. Its discussion of the nature and goals of loving relationships takes us to the heart of Plato’s concern with the good life and how it is achieved. That Education and Desires are seen to play such an important role in moral development draws on a theme elaborated in the Republic , and is concerned with the development of character and how that contributes to the good life. Though Plato leads us to the lofty heights of the Forms as the true end of our desire for good things and happiness, his account is nonetheless one that resonates beyond such abstractions. The Symposium does not contain a fully developed theory of the self, although it outlines with considerable care the dimensions of concern which preoccupy human beings. Its achievement is a rich and unitary image of human striving. Through this conception, even if narrow, of a flourishing life where certain things are advocated to the young as valuable, the dialogue explores the nature of eudaimonia, which may be translated as "happiness" or "flourishing". This is ultimately why a dialogue devoted, on the surface, to the nature of erotic relationships is an ethical work at its core, which culminates in the specification of ‘the life which a human being should live’. And it is this concern that relates the Symposium to a fundamental question that informs a variety of Platonic dialogues: How should one live? Thus, Plato’s concern with desire and its role in the good life leads to his conclusion: One’s ability to act well and to lead a worthwhile and good life depends, in part, on desiring the right kinds of things and acting on that basis. What, or whom, one desires determines the choices one makes and thereby affects one’s chances of leading a worthwhile and happy life. It is by prompting us to reflect more deeply on the relationship between our desires and their real end, and the role that our lovers might play in helping us to achieve it, that the Symposium really makes its mark.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Plato’s Symposium is one of the best loved classics from the ancient world, a work of consummate beauty as both philosophy and as literature, most appropriate since the topic of this dialogue is the nature of love and includes much philosophizing on beauty. In the spirit of freshness, I will focus on one very important section, where Socrates relates the words of his teacher Diotima on the birth of Love explained in the context of myth: “Following the birth of Aphrodite, the other gods were havin Plato’s Symposium is one of the best loved classics from the ancient world, a work of consummate beauty as both philosophy and as literature, most appropriate since the topic of this dialogue is the nature of love and includes much philosophizing on beauty. In the spirit of freshness, I will focus on one very important section, where Socrates relates the words of his teacher Diotima on the birth of Love explained in the context of myth: “Following the birth of Aphrodite, the other gods were having a feast, including Resource, the son of Invention. When they’d had dinner, Poverty came to beg, as people do at feasts, and so she was by the gate. Resource was drunk with nectar (this was before wine was discovered), went into the garden of Zeus, and fell into drunken sleep. Poverty formed the plan of relieving her lack of resources by having a child by Resource; she slept with him and became pregnant with Love. So the reason Love became a follower and attendant of Aphrodite is because he was conceived on the day of her birth; also he is naturally a lover of beauty and Aphrodite is beautiful.” Diotima continues but let’s pause here as according to many teachers within the Platonic tradition there are at least two critical points to be made about this passage. The first is how love is conceived in the garden of Zeus, and that’s Zeus as mythical personification of Nous or true intellectual understanding. In other words, for one seeking philosophic wisdom, love is born and exists within the framework of truth and understanding, thus, in order to have a more complete appreciation of the nature of love, one must be committed to understanding the nature of truth. The second point is how within the Platonic tradition, truth is linked with beauty. Two of my own Plato teachers were adamant on this point, citing how modern people who separate beauty from truth can never partake of the wisdom traditions. (Incidentally, these exact two points are made eloquently by Pierre Grimes in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1cbh... ). Although I am not a strict Platonist, I tend to agree. When I encounter people who have sharp minds and are keenly analytical but communicate their ideas in snide or sarcastic unbeautiful language or are in any way disingenuous or degrading of others, I find such behavior very much in bad taste. In a very real sense, I feel these individuals have cut themselves off from the world’s wisdom traditions, particularly from the Platonic tradition. I wanted to focus on this one paragraph to convey a sense of the richness of this magnificent Platonic dialogue. One could mine wisdom nuggets from each and every paragraph. And, yes, I get a kick every time I read the speech of Aristophanes featuring those cartwheeling prehumans with four arms and four legs. Also, two fun facts: One: reflecting on Alcibiades, the history of philosophy records another incredibly handsome man with a similar great head of curly hair and full curly beard, a man (fortunately!) with a much stronger character – the Stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Two: Diogenes Laertius reports the Greek philosopher Epicurus also wrote a book with the title Symposium. Unfortunately, this piece of writing is lost to us. Darn!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Foad

    افلاطون، در رساله ی بسیار دلکش "ضیافت" ، بحث مفصلی راجع به حقیقت "عشق" می کند. رساله به بازگویی ماجرای یک ضیافت می پردازد. آگاتون میهمانی ای گرفته و نخبگان را دعوت کرده، از آن جمله است: سقراط استاد افلاطون. بحث به چیستی عشق می رسد و هر کس از میهمانان سخنرانی ای زیبا و غزل گونه در ستایش عشق می کند. از جمله، یکی می گوید: انسان ها در ابتداى آفرينش شان، جفت جفت به هم متصل بودند، و شكلى كروى مى ساختند. اين جفت هاى به هم پيوسته، چنان كامل و قدرتمند بودند، كه خواستند بر ضد خدايان آسمان بشورند، و خدايان ك افلاطون، در رساله ی بسیار دلکش "ضیافت" ، بحث مفصلی راجع به حقیقت "عشق" می کند. رساله به بازگویی ماجرای یک ضیافت می پردازد. آگاتون میهمانی ای گرفته و نخبگان را دعوت کرده، از آن جمله است: سقراط استاد افلاطون. بحث به چیستی عشق می رسد و هر کس از میهمانان سخنرانی ای زیبا و غزل گونه در ستایش عشق می کند. از جمله، یکی می گوید: انسان ها در ابتداى آفرينش شان، جفت جفت به هم متصل بودند، و شكلى كروى مى ساختند. اين جفت هاى به هم پيوسته، چنان كامل و قدرتمند بودند، كه خواستند بر ضد خدايان آسمان بشورند، و خدايان كه ترسيدند از ايشان شكست بخورند، تدبيرى انديشيدند: اين جفت هاى كروى را از هم جدا كردند. از آن پس جفت هاى از هم جدا افتاده، ديگر فكر نبرد با خدايان از سرشان افتاد؛ چرا كه حالا در به در به دنبال نيمه ى گمشده ى خود مى گشتند، و تمام دغدغه شان يافتن "او"يى است كه فقط به وسيله ى او كامل مى شوند. نوبت که به سقراط می رسد، با دلخوری می گوید: «من گمان داشتم وقتی گفتید "از چیستی عشق بحث کنیم"، منظورتان بحث دقیق و موشکافانه بود، نه این که صرفاً به عبارت پردازی های شاعرانه بپردازیم.» و خودش، بحثی فلسفی و زیبا در حقیقت عشق می کند. به طور خلاصه، می گوید: «به رغم آن چه که شما گفتید، عشق اصلاً زیبا نیست ، بلکه درست بر عکس: عشق در مقابل زیبایی است. عشق در حقیقت "طلب زیبایی" است ، و کسی در "طلب" زیبایی می رود که فاقد آن باشد.»

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shaghayegh.l3

    چند وقت پيش در جواب دوستم كه مى گفت دلم ميخواد عاشق بشم گفتم من اصلن نميدونم عشق چى هست ! نميدونستم كمتر از يه ماه بعد چشمم به يه همچين كتابى ميخوره و دو ساعته مى خونمش و حرفمو پس ميگيرم .. چه كتابى ، چه توصيفاتى .. حَض كامل و ديگر هيچ .

  8. 4 out of 5

    Soheil

    بعد از خوندن كتاب بديو،به خاطر اشاره اى كه به اين كتاب در آن شده بود،درصدد خواندنش بر آمدم و البته چيزى نبود كه انتظارش را مى كشيدم. آگاتون شاعر جوان و برجسته،ميهمانى اى برپا كرده و جمعى از خردمندان و برجستگان را گردهم آورده است.آنها بعد از باده گسارى تصميم ميگيرند به نوبت در باب عشق سخنرانى كنند. ابتدا فايدوروس زبان به سخن مى گشايد و كمى از اروس،خداى عشق مى گويد و ستايشش مى كند.سپس به مدح عشق ميپردازد و از قدرت آن در اتحاد مردم مى گويد و سپس با ذكر مثال هايى بيان مى كند كه افراد عاشق،نزد خدايان ا بعد از خوندن كتاب بديو،به خاطر اشاره اى كه به اين كتاب در آن شده بود،درصدد خواندنش بر آمدم و البته چيزى نبود كه انتظارش را مى كشيدم. آگاتون شاعر جوان و برجسته،ميهمانى اى برپا كرده و جمعى از خردمندان و برجستگان را گردهم آورده است.آنها بعد از باده گسارى تصميم ميگيرند به نوبت در باب عشق سخنرانى كنند. ابتدا فايدوروس زبان به سخن مى گشايد و كمى از اروس،خداى عشق مى گويد و ستايشش مى كند.سپس به مدح عشق ميپردازد و از قدرت آن در اتحاد مردم مى گويد و سپس با ذكر مثال هايى بيان مى كند كه افراد عاشق،نزد خدايان از منزلت خاصى برخوردارند. سپس نوبت پائوسانياس مى شود.او نيز به ستايش عشق ادامه مى دهد اما ابتدا آن را به دو قسم تبديل مى كند.در اساطير يونان،اروس خداى عشق،فرزند افروديت خداى زيباييست.اما دو نسخه از افروديت وجود دارد:يكى فرزند زئوس و ديونه است كه جوانتر است و هوا و هوس هاى جنسى و جذابيت ظاهرى بين زن و مرد را به كار مى بندد و ديگرى فرزند اورانوس(مادر ندارد) كه سالخورده تر است و فقط در حيطه ى عشق مردان به يكديگر عمل مى كند و خردمند و حكيم تر است.پائوسانياس نتيجه مى گيرد كه دو خداى عشق متفاوت نيز دركار است:يكى كه عشق زمينى زن و مرد را پديد مى آورد و مبتذل تر است و دومى كه عشق مرد-مرد را عهده دار است و آسمانى و حكيمانه ست. نوبت آروكسيماخوس طبيب است.او نيز به دنبال مدحيات،عشق را به علوم و موجودات ديگر بسط مى دهد و مى گويد كه هرگاه دو چيز متضاد براى رسيدن به هماهنگى با يكديگر متحد شوند،عشق پديد مى آيد. خطابه ى آريستوفانس درنوع خود جالب است.او مى گويد كه در زمان هاى دور،انسان ها علاوه بر مذكر و مؤنث،جنس سومى داشتند كه صاحب ويژگى هاى دو جنس ديگر و به نوعى خنثى بود.انسانها ٤ دست،٤پا،دو سَر و دو آلت تناسلى داشتند و چون سرمنشأ آفرينش آنها اجرام آسمانى بود(مردان از خورشيد،زنان از زمين و جنس خنثى از ماه)بدن هايشان شكلى دايره اى و گِرد داشت.آنها كامل،قدرتمند و مغرور بودند و تصميم به شورش عليه خدايان مى گيرند.زئوس هم براى تنبيه و تضعيف آنها،تصميم مى گيرد كه همه ى انسان ها را از وسط نصف كند!درنتيجه از آن "نيمه شدن" به بعد،انسان ها مدام به دنبال "نيمه ى گمشده" ى خود هستند و وقتى پيدايش كنند وجودشان سرشار از عشق و سرمستى مى شود. بعد نوبت خطابه ى آگاتون است كه باز هم صرفا ستايش و مدح و غزل سرايى ست. و اما سقراط...او كه گويى از اين ستايش هاى بيهوده كسل شده،اول با روش پرسش و پاسخ خودش،كمى با آگاتون مجادله مى كند و اساس خطابه اش را زير سوال ميبرد؛سپس خودش دست به كار مى شود.او از زن خردمندى به نام گيوتيما،نقل مى كند كه عشق در شب تولد افروديت،از آميزش پروس خداى چاره جويى و پنيا خداى تهى دستى آفريده شد و اينگونه ارتباط تنگاتنگى با زيبايى افروديت پيدا كرد.عشق به خاطر ويژگى مادرش تنگدست است و هميشه خالى از زيباييست،اما به خاطر ويژگى چاره جويى حاصل از پدرش،هميشه به دنبال راهكار است و به هر راهى كه شده به سمت زيبايى حركت مى كند.در حقيقت عشق زيبا نيست اما هميشه در طلب آن است.عشق مى خواهد زيبايى و خوبى را براى "هميشه" از آن خود كند.پس مى توان نتيجه گرفت كه عشق به دنبال جاودانگى نيز هست و وقتى انسان را موجودى خلاق و آفريننده مى يابد،نهايتا راه چاره را در "آفرينش زيبايى" مى يابد.به اين دليل است زايش فرزندان و يا خلق آثار هنرى و ادبى... پس از سقراط،آلكيبيادس-دوست پسر سقراط!- مستِ از باده و شراب،وارد مجلس مى شود و شروع به تمجيد و ستايش سقراط مى كند؛حقيقتا اين بخش،اضافى و فاقد هرگونه فايده ايست. در نهايت،اگر به دنبال كتاب فلسفى و كاربردى راجع به مقوله ى عشق هستيد،اين كتاب اصلا مناسب نيست.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    In this book Socrates argues that it is not always a good idea to have sex with boys and Aristophanes explains we were once co-joined creatures of three sexes - either male/female, male/male or female/female and were shaped like balls. How could anyone not find this a book worth reading?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ian "Marvin" Graye

    I Never Met a Physician Who Wasn’t Descended from a Greek This might just be the work that put the "meta-" (at least the "metafiction") in "metaphysics". Plato’s name is attached to it, but its principal focus is Socrates. And guess what? Socrates doesn’t so much elaborate on his own views as (1) recount the views of others (especially those of the female philosopher Diotima) and (2) indirectly reveal his views by his conduct and his responses to the views of others (especially the taunts of Alcib I Never Met a Physician Who Wasn’t Descended from a Greek This might just be the work that put the "meta-" (at least the "metafiction") in "metaphysics". Plato’s name is attached to it, but its principal focus is Socrates. And guess what? Socrates doesn’t so much elaborate on his own views as (1) recount the views of others (especially those of the female philosopher Diotima) and (2) indirectly reveal his views by his conduct and his responses to the views of others (especially the taunts of Alcibiades). Even the concept of "Platonic Love" could possibly be more accurately attributed to Socrates, but more likely to Diotima. In fact, I wonder whether this work proves that the Greek understanding of Love (as we comprehend it) actually owes more to women than men. The Epismetology of the Word "Symposium" Despite being familiar with the word for decades, I had no idea that "symposium" more or less literally means a "drinking party" or "to drink together". In Socrates’ time, it was like a toga party for philosophers. It’s great that this learned tradition was reinvigorated by Pomona College in 1953. How appropriate that Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruitful abundance. Of course, many of us will remember our first experience of a toga party from the film "Animal House". More recently, perhaps in tribute to the film, the concept has transformed into a "frat party" (notice the derivation from the masculine word "fraternity"), which Urban Dictionary defines in its own inimitable way: "A sausage fest with douchebag frat boys who let a lot of girls in and hardly any guys so they can slip date rape drugs into the girls’ drinks and have sex with them because obviously they can't rely on their charm." If you substitute philosophers for frat boys, young boys for young girls, and wine and mead for date rape drugs, then you have the recipe for "The Symposium". Alcohol-Free Daze I should mention one other aspect of the plot (sorry about the spoiler, but the work is 2,400 years old today, so you've had enough time to catch up), and that is that Socrates appears to have attended two symposia over the course of two consecutive days. In those days, future philosophers were counselled to embrace alternating alcohol-free days. In breach of this medical advice, Socrates and his confreres turn up to this Symposium hung-over from the previous night. As a result, there was more talking than drinking. If this had just been your run-of-the-mill Saturday Night Live Symposium, it’s quite possible that the legacy of this particular night might never have eventuated. Instead, we have inherited a tradition of Greek Love, Platonic Love, Socratic Method and Alcohol-Free Tutorials. An Artist in Comedy as Well as Tragedy One last distraction before I get down to Love: It has always puzzled readers that "The Symposium" ends with a distinct change of tone as the feathered cocks begin to crow and the sun rises on our slumber party: "Aristodemus was only half awake, and he did not hear the beginning of the discourse; the chief thing which he remembered was Socrates compelling the other two to acknowledge that the genius of comedy was the same with that of tragedy, and that the true artist in tragedy was an artist in comedy also." Researchers at the University of Adelaide now speculate that what Socrates was saying was, "When you’re pissed, nobody can tell whether you’re serious or joking." There is still some contention as to whether Socrates was referring to the inebriation of the artist or the audience. Anyway, it remains for us to determine how serious this Socratic Dialogue on Love should be taken. Togas on? Hey, Ho! Let’s go! The Mocking Socrates’ Easy Touch OK, so the tale starts with Apollodorus telling a companion a story that he had heard from Aristodemus (who had once before narrated it to Glaucon, who had in turn mentioned it to the companion – are you with me?). The tale concerns a Symposium at the House of Agathon. On the way, Socrates drops "behind in a fit of abstraction" (this is before the days of Empiricism) and retires "into the portico of the neighbouring house", from which initially "he will not stir". When he finally arrives, he is too hung-over to drink or talk, so he wonders whether "wisdom could be infused by touch, out of the fuller into the emptier man, as water runs through wool out of a fuller cup into an emptier one." Addressing his host, he adds, "If that were so, how greatly should I value the privilege of reclining at your side!" As often seems to be the fate of flirts, Agathon rebuffs him, "You are mocking, Socrates." Instead, it is agreed that each of the attendees will regale the withered assembly with their views on Love. Phaedrus (on Reciprocity) Phaedrus speaks of the reciprocity of Love and how it creates a state of honour between Lover and Beloved. A state or army consisting of lovers whose wish was to emulate each other would abstain from dishonor, become inspired heroes, equal to the bravest, and overcome the world. Phaedrus also asserts that the gods admire, honour and value the return of love by the Beloved to his Lover, at least in a human sense, more than the love shown by the Lover for the Beloved. Paradoxically, this is because the love shown by the Lover is "more divine, because he is inspired by God". I had to have an alcohol-free day before I understood this subtle distinction, so don’t worry if you’re having trouble keeping up. Pausanius (on the Heavenly and the Common) Pausanius argues that there are two types of Love that need to be analysed: the common and the heavenly (or the divine). The "common" is wanton, has no discrimination, "is apt to be of women as well as youths, and is of the body rather than of the soul". In contrast, heavenly love is of youths: "...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." This love is disinterested (it is not "done from any motive of interest, or wish for office or power") and involves both honourable attachment and virtuous service. Eryximachus (on the Healthy and the Diseased) Eryximachus, a physician, defines Love in terms of both the soul and the body. He distinguishes two kinds of love: the desire of the healthy and the desire of the diseased. These two are opposites, and the role of the physician is to harmonise or "reconcile the most hostile elements in the constitution", by analogy with music, which is an "art of communion". Aristophanes (on "The Origin of Love") Aristophanes explains the origin of the gender and sexuality of mankind in terms of three beings, one of which was a double-male (now separated into homosexual men), one a double female (now separated into homosexual women) and the third an androgynous double (now separated into heterosexual male and female) by Zeus: "...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 ...human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love." Agathon (on Beauty) Agathon praises the god of love first and then his gift. Love in the form of Temperance is the master of pleasures and desires. It "empties men of disaffection and fills them with affection." Love is concerned with Beauty. Socrates (on Good) Socrates approaches the topic of Love by asking questions, for example, "whether Love is the Love of something or nothing?" Socrates elicits the answer that Love wants Beauty and in doing so it wants what is Good. He then quotes Diotima extensively. The Pizmotality of Diotima Diotima, by a process that we would now call the Socratic Method, leads Socrates to the conclusion that Love is the love of the "everlasting possession of the Good". We seek Good, so that we can maintain it eternally. "Love is of immortality." Because Man is mortal, our way of achieving eternity or immortality of possession is the generation or birth of Beauty. We achieve immortality by way of fame and offspring. Diotima argues that Beauty applies to both the soul and the body. However, the "Beauty of the Mind is more honourable than the Beauty of the outward Form." She advocates 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…[you would not be] clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colours and vanities of human life..." Socrates does not reveal how else Diotima tutored him in the art and science of Love or whether she herself was a Beauty Absolute whose appeal was greater than that of boys and youths. Alciabades (on Indifference) At this point, the younger Alciabades speaks. He is equal parts frat and prat, he is evidently "in love" with Socrates, and seems intent on complaining that Socrates has resisted his sexual advances. Even though Alciabades had slept a night with "this wonderful monster in my arms... he was so superior to my solicitations...I arose as from the couch of a father or an elder brother." It is clear that Socrates has no affection for the mind of Alciabades, no matter what he might think of his body. He teases him by proposing that Socrates and Agathon share a couch for the night. The Pompatus of Love And that's how it ends, but for the discussion of Comedy and Tragedy. If this had been a PowerPoint Presentation, Socrates, Plato and I would have told you what we were going to say, then say it, and end by telling you what we had just said. But because this work is pre-Microsoft, I will end this disquisition here, largely because I want to read Plato’s complementary work on Love, "Phaedrus", and see what more he has to say about Socrates, this mentor of frat boys who was so much more than a picker, a grinner, a lover and a sinner. Only then will I be able to speak more definitively of the Pompatus of Love. VERSE: The Object of Love [According to Aristophanes] I would love To find One, An Other, So we could Each love one Another, In divine Unity. SOUNDTRACK: Steve Miller Band – "The Joker" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89QliW... Hedwig and the Angry Inch - "The Origin of Love" Scroll to 3:57 for video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29fiaL... Hedwig and the Angry Inch - "The Origin of Love" Spanish subtitles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTTNJZ... John Cameron Mitchell on "The Origin of Love" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Hu4UL... Carol Zou - Animation of "The Origin of Love" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BgvD0... StickdudeSeven - Animation of "The Origin of Love" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HgJ6x... FoxmanProductions - Animation of "The Origin of Love" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvcX_m... Jinkx Monsoon - "The Origin of Love" [Live with cocktail glass] Starts at 2:50 (but the intro is fun): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFbC6k... Jinkx Monsoon - "The Origin of Love" [Live at the 2013 Capital Pride Festival] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNQBSB... Rufus Wainwright - "The Origin of Love" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYQGgl... Robyn Hitchcock - "Intricate Thing" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7Av0x... The Velvet Undergound & Nico - "Femme Fatale" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjjDmX... Lou Reed - Sweet Jane (Live with Steve Hunter) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrMLt9... Cowboy Junkies - "Sweet Jane" (Official Video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4XVJj... Cowboy Junkies - "Sweet Jane" (Live on Japanese TV) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ3W9i...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    The Symposium holds the key to ancient psychology. One has but to compare post-Freudian psychology's understanding of the drives with Plato's discourse on human longing here in order to measure the distance between the ancient and modern orientations to reality. It is strange for us to conceive this in the post-Darwinian, post-Freudian era, but Plato genuinely held that the longing to know is the fundamental human drive, with sexuality (the modern candidate foundational drive) being derived ther The Symposium holds the key to ancient psychology. One has but to compare post-Freudian psychology's understanding of the drives with Plato's discourse on human longing here in order to measure the distance between the ancient and modern orientations to reality. It is strange for us to conceive this in the post-Darwinian, post-Freudian era, but Plato genuinely held that the longing to know is the fundamental human drive, with sexuality (the modern candidate foundational drive) being derived therefrom. What a different psychology this basic belief reveals! And with this alternate psychology Plato reveals an orientation to the world that opens up horizons entirely other to those we are accustomed to. Plato has shown a concern for the way that our pre-rational orientation to the real feeds into and constrains our capacity to reason already in other dialogues, such as The Republic. One gets the feeling that the arch-rationalist becomes progressively haunted, in each dialogue, by the realization that what we love determines in advance the direction our rationality can take in its approach to the real. Nietzsche commented admiringly on Plato's psychological acumen evinced by his discovery that our strongest longing is the true, but hidden, master of our reason. Already with the Symposium we see that the structure of reasoning crystallizes itself around this primordial, pre-rational engagement with the real. Early on in the dialogue, Socrates makes the rather cheeky claim that it is only the genuine philosopher who can understand the real meaning of desire. Socrates further proposes, to the incredulity of others present, that indeed, philosophy is somehow connected with the pursuit of the fulfillment of this deepest desire. And what better setting could Plato choose to prove the power of Socrates's insight into the human drives than a drinking party? Here, Socrates proves his superior capacity to harmonize and rein in his whole human capacity for feeling not merely by displaying his superior discursive prowess, but also by drinking every last one of his companions under the table by banquet's end. The banquet setting thus seems like a mock ordeal which allows Socrates to reveal his deeper mastery over his animal nature. It is the depth of his transformation of his pre-rational nature that makes him the better philosopher. What Socrates shows us is that our longing is the hunger for completion awakened by our growing awareness of finitude. It is a drive to transcend the boundaries of our finitude through an effort to establish a relationship to a reality that is registered as being more complete than that possessed by the finite self. Socrates' famous speech on the real nature of love in this dialogue attests to the fact that our desire for sexual love is an offshoot of this primordial drive - which is part and parcel of the structure of consciousness itself - to find our fullest orientation to reality in an act of knowing that relates all that we are to a world which is for the first time experienced as a unity. In the growth of our consciousness, we first learn to relate body to human body, immersing ourselves in the physical continuum of interchanges in a game of self-forgetful clinging to outward shadows. At this level of self-development, (according to Plato's account of the levels of understanding in the Republic) our relation is merely to the shifting outward images of being. Because we cannot conceive the unity of things at this level, we fall short of that supreme mark of reality, which is the knowledge of the unity of things. Our love at this level thus remains a game of hide-and-seek, played with ourselves as much as with one another. But as the power of our minds grows, we cannot fail to realize deeper dimensions of our longing to relate. We now come to long for a relationship to the real established on the basis of our most characteristic capacity. We long to relate to the world on the level of mind, and we find that this relation to the world not only takes us deeper into the heart of the real. Our deepest desire is realized in the perception of the world on the level of form. This level of perception also takes us deeper into ourselves, as well as revealing the true basis for relating to one another. Our real community is a communion of minds. Socrates proposition to us is that we are selves and lovers to the extent that we realize our true nature as knowers. And we attain realization as selves to the extent that we progress from being driven by our shadow-loving sexual love to that more comprehensive love in us that is wisdom itself. The rest of Plato's philosophy is arguably built on this psychology of self-realization. Plato's identification (through Socrates) of Love, the Good, the Beautiful, and the True is really the best definition of the most consummate philosophic vision. In our highest reasonings, Plato's Socrates claims, these four things become one. Their union, in the actuality of an experience, is what we call wisdom, the end goal of the whole search that structures our lives from the first awakening of consciousness in infancy. Modern philosophy would be different if we operated under the same definition of reason. The greatest proof of its power, to me, is that even Nietzsche, who was its most serious critic, nonetheless pined for the loss of it. It seems that Plato's description of the goal of human development was accurate after all, even if it remains only an inescapable regulative ideal for philosophic inquiry without ever becoming a stable, humanly realizable reality. This dialogue is worth reading if only for Alcibiades' drunkenly revealing speech expressing Socrates' effect on those poor souls, like himself, whom he manages to convert to his way of life. Surely there has been no greater portrait of the psychology of a great philosopher anywhere, nor of the effect that such a figure inevitably will have on natures less in tune with the original drive to know that structures human nature! But Alcibiades nonetheless proves himself to be Socrates' truest disciple, even as he expresses his frustration at his inability (read: unwillingness) to follow him to the end. Alcibiades poignantly shows what's in store for all of us as soon as we start to take this gig seriously: the way that Socrates represents will cleave us into two warring parts so that we become strangers to our old desires and attachments, and strangers in the world, awaiting a new birth.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Fatemeh sherafati

    خیلی کتاب خوبی بود.. زیاد پیش اومده بود که بشنوم سقراط از شیوه ی پرسش و پاسخ استفااده می کنه برای بحث کردن.. تو این کتاب اولین بار این دیدم چطور و چقدر هوشمندانه این کار رو انجام میده.. داستان کتاب در مورد ضیافتیه که برگزار شده و بحث عشق میان حضار پیش میاد. که اول هر کدوم از حاضرین نظرشون رو می گن، و در نهایت سقراط، به طرز دلنشینی از عشق صحبت می کنه که واقعا دوست دارم یک بار دیگه سطرهای مربوط به سقراط رو بخونم.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Xanthi

    Κάθε επιθυμία των καλών πραγμάτων και της ευτυχίας είναι ο μεγαλύτερος και απατηλός έρωτας κάθε ανθρώπου.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carlos De Eguiluz

    Lectura #6 de la materia de Teoría del Conocimiento, "El Banquete". Citas y pequeños comentarios de uso personal: Sabios reunidos: Fedro, Agaton, Eriximaco, Pausanias, Aristodemo, Aristófanes *Tributo al amor. "El Amor es un gran dios, muy digno de ser honrado por los dioses y por los hombres por mil razones, sobre todo, por su ancianidad; porque es el más anciano de los dioses." *Palabra clave: virtud. "No conozco mayor ventaja para un joven, que tener un amante virtuoso; ni para un amante. que el am Lectura #6 de la materia de Teoría del Conocimiento, "El Banquete". Citas y pequeños comentarios de uso personal: Sabios reunidos: Fedro, Agaton, Eriximaco, Pausanias, Aristodemo, Aristófanes *Tributo al amor. "El Amor es un gran dios, muy digno de ser honrado por los dioses y por los hombres por mil razones, sobre todo, por su ancianidad; porque es el más anciano de los dioses." *Palabra clave: virtud. "No conozco mayor ventaja para un joven, que tener un amante virtuoso; ni para un amante. que el amar un objeto virtuoso." "No hay hombre tan cobarde a quien el Amor no inspire el mayor valor y no le haga semejante a un héroe." *Los dioses miraban el amor como una virtud. "El que ama tiene un no sé qué de más divino que el que es amado, porque en su alma existe un dios." "Toda acción en sí misma no es bella ni fea; lo que hacemos aquí, beber, comer, discurrir, nada de esto es bello en sí, pero puede convertirse en tal, mediante la manera como se hace. Es bello, si se hace conforme a las reglas de la honestidad; y feo, si se hace contra estas reglas. Lo mismo sucede con el amor. Todo amor, en general, no es bello ni laudable, si no es honesto." *La comparación de las dos venus. "Es bello amar cuando la causa es la virtud." *Amor virtuoso que pertenece a la Venus celeste. Todos los demás a la venus popular (EROS). "El amor no reside sólo en el alma de los hombres, donde tiene por objeto la belleza, sino que hay otros objetos y otras mil cosas en que se encuentra ; en los cuerpos de todos los animales, en las producciones de la tierra; en una palabra, en todos los seres; y que la grandeza y las maravillas del dios brillan por entero, lo mismo en las cosas divinas que en las cosas humanas." "Es bello y necesario ceder a lo que hay de bueno y de sano en cada temperamento, y en esto consiste la medicina; por el contrario, es vergonzoso complacer a lo que hay de depravado y de enfermo" *Amor en la ciencia. "La armonía es una consonancia; la consonancia un acuerdo, y no puede haber acuerdo entre cosas opuestas, mientras permanecen opuestas; y así las cosas opuestas, que no concuerdan, no producen armonía." "En otro tiempo la naturaleza humana era muy diferente de lo que es hoy. Primero había tres clases de hombres: los dos sexos que hoy existen, y uno tercero compuesto de estos dos, el cual ha desaparecido conservándose sólo el nombre. Este animal formaba una especie particular, y se llamaba andrógino, porque reunía el sexo masculino y el femenino; pero ya no existe y su nombre está en descrédito. En segundo lugar, todos los hombres tenían formas redondas, la espalda y los costados colocados en círculo, cuatro brazos, cuatro piernas, dos fisonomías, unidas a un cuello circular y perfectamente semejantes, una sola cabeza, que reunía estos dos semblantes opuestos entre sí, dos orejas, dos órganos de la generación, y todo lo demás en esta misma proporción. Marchaban rectos como nosotros, y sin tener necesidad de volverse para tomar el camino que querían. Cuando deseaban caminar ligeros, se apoyaban sucesivamente sobre sus ocho miembros, y avanzaban con rapidez mediante un movimiento circular, como los que hacen la rueda con los pies al aire. La diferencia, que se encuentra entre estas tres especies de hombres, nace de la que hay entre sus principios. El sol produce el sexo masculino, la tierra el femenino, y la luna el compuesto de ambos, que participa de la tierra y del sol. De estos principios recibieron su forma y su manera de moverse, que es esférica. Los cuerpos eran robustos y vigorosos y de corazón animoso, y por esto concibieron la atrevida idea de escalar el cielo, y combatir con los dioses, como dice Homero de Efialtes y de Oto. Júpiter examinó con los dioses el partido que debía tomarse. El negocio no carecía de dificultad; los dioses no querían anonadar á los hombres. como en otro tiempo á los gigantes, fulminando contra ellos sus rayos, porque entonces desaparecerían el culto y los sacrificios que los hombres les ofrecían; pero, por otra parte, no podían sufrir semejante insolencia. En fin, después de largas reflexiones, Júpiter se expresó en estos términos: Creo haber encontrado un medio de conservar los hombres y hacerlos más circunspectos, y consiste en disminuir sus fuerzas. Los separaré en dos; así se harán débiles y tendremos otra ventaja, que será la de aumentar el número de los que nos sirvan; marcharán rectos sosteniéndose en dos piernas sólo, y si después de este castigo conservan su impía audacia y no quieren permanecer en reposo, los dividiré de nuevo, y se verán precisados a marchar sobre un solo pié, como los que bailan sobre odres en la fiesta de Caco. Después de esta declaración, el dios hizo la separación que acababa de resolver, y le hizo lo mismo que cuando se cortan huevos para salarlos, o como cuando con un cabello se los divide en dos partes iguales. En seguida mandó a Apolo que curase las heridas y colocase el semblante y la mitad del cuello del lado donde se había hecho la separación, a fin de que la vista de este castigo los hiciese más modestos. Apolo puso el semblante del lado indicado, y reuniendo los cortes de la piel sobre lo que hoy se llama vientre, los cosió a manera de una bolsa que se cierra, no dejando más que una abertura en el centro, que se llama ombligo. En cuanto a los otros pliegues, que eran numerosos, los pulió, y arregló el pecho con un instrumento semejante á aquel de que se sirven los zapateros para suavizar la piel de los zapatos sobre la horma, y sólo dejó algunos pliegues sobre el vientre y el ombligo, como en recuerdo del antiguo castigo. Hecha esta división, cada mitad hacia esfuerzos para encontrar la otra mitad de que había sido separada; y cuando se encontraban ambas, se abrazaban y se unían, llevadas del deseo de entrar en su antigua unidad , con un ardor tal, que abrazadas perecían de hambre e inacción,no queriendo hacer nada la una sin la otra. Cuando la una de las dos mitades pereda, la que sobrevivía buscaba otra, a la que se unía de nuevo, ya fuese la mitad de una mujer entera, lo que ahora llamamos una mujer, ya fuese una mitad de hombre; y de esta manera la raza iba extinguiéndose. Júpiter, movido a compasión, imagina otro expediente: pone delante los órganos de la generación, por que antes estaban detrás, y se concebía y se derramaba el semen, no el uno en el otro, sino en tierra como las cigarras. Júpiter puso los órganos en la parte anterior y de esta manera la concepción se hace mediante la unión del varón y la hembra. Entonces, si se verificaba la unión del hombre y la mujer, el fruto de la misma eran los hijos; y si el varón se unía al varón, la saciedad los separaba bien pronto y los restituía á sus trabajos y demás cuidados de la vida. De aquí procede el amor que tenemos naturalmente los unos a los otros; él nos recuerda nuestra naturaleza primitiva y hace esfuerzos para reunir las dos mitades y para restablecernos en nuestra antigua perfección. Cada uno de nosotros no es más que una mitad de hombre, que ha sido separada de su todo, como se divide una hoja en dos. Estas mitades buscan siempre sus mitades. Los hombres que provienen de la separación de estos seres compuestos, que se llaman andróginos, aman las mujeres; y la mayor parte de los adúlteros pertenecen a esta especie, así como también las mujeres que aman a los hombres y violan las leyes del himeneo. Pero a las mujeres, que provienen de la separación de las mujeres primitivas, no llaman la atención los hombres y se inclinan más á las mujeres; a esta especie pertenecen las trihades. Del mismo modo los hombres, que provienen de la separación de los hombres primitivos, buscan el sexo masculino. Mientras son jóvenes aman a los hombres; se complacen en dormir con ellos y estar en sus brazos; son los primeros entre los adolescentes y los adultos, como que son de una naturaleza mucho más varonil. Sin razón se les echaba en cara que viven sin pudor, porque no es la falta de éste lo que les hace obrar así, sino que dotados de alma fuerte, valor varonil y carácter viril, buscan sus semejantes; y lo prueba que con el tiempo son más aptos que los demás para servir al Estado. Hechos hombres á su vez aman los jóvenes, y si se casan y tienen familia, no es porque la naturaleza los incline a ello, sino porque la ley los obliga. Lo que prefieren es pasar la vida los unos con los otros en el celibato. El único objeto de los hombres de este carácter, amen o sean amados, es reunirse a quienes se les asemeja. Cuando el que ama a los jóvenes o a cualquier otro llega a encontrar su mitad, la simpatía, la amistad, el amor los une de una manera tan maravillosa, que no quieren en ningún concepto separarse ni por un momento. Estos mismos hombres, que pasan toda la vida juntos, no pueden decir lo que quieren el uno del otro, porque si encuentran tanto gusto en vivir de esta suerte, no es de creer que sea la causa de esto el placer de los sentidos. Evidentemente su alma desea otra cosa, que ella no puede expresar, pero que adivina y da á entender. Y si cuando están el uno en brazos del otro, Vulcano se apareciese con los instrumentos de su arte, y les dijese: ¡Oh hombres!, ¿qué es lo que os exigís recíprocamente?» y si viéndoles perplejos, continuase interpelándoles de esta manera: lo que queréis, ¿no es estar de tal manera unidos, que ni de día ni de noche estéis el uno sin el otro? Si es esto lo que deseáis, voy a fundiros y mezclaros de tal manera, que no seréis ya dos personas, sino una sola; y que mientras viváis, viváis una vida común como una sola persona, y que cuando hayáis muerto, en la muerte misma os reunáis de manera que no seáis dos personas sino una sola. Ved ahora si es esto lo que deseáis, y si esto DOS puede hacer completamente felices. Es bien seguro, que si Vulcano les dirigiera este discurso, ninguno de ellos negarla, ni responderla, que deseaba otra cosa, persuadido de que el dios acababa de expresar lo que en todos los momentos estaba en el fondo de su alma; esto es, el deseo de estar unido y confundido con el objeto amado, hasta no formar más que un solo ser con él. La causa de esto es que nuestra naturaleza primitiva era una, y que éramos un todo completo, y se da el nombre de amor al deseo y prosecución de este antiguo estado. Primitivamente, como he dicho, nosotros éramos uno; pero después en castigo de nuestra iniquidad nos separó Júpiter, como los arcadios lo fueron por los lacedemonios. Debemos procurar no cometer ninguna falta contra los dioses, por temor de exponernos a una segunda división, y no ser como las figuras presentadas de perfil en los bajorrelieves, que no tienen más que medio semblante, o como los dados cortados en dos. Es preciso que todos nos exhortemos mutuamente a honrar a los dioses, para evitar un nuevo castigo, y volver á nuestra unidad primitiva bajo los auspicios y la dirección del Amor. Que nadie se ponga en guerra con el Amor, porque ponerse en guerra con él es atraerse el odio de los dioses. Tratemos, pues, de merecer la benevolencia y el favor de este dios, y nos proporcionará la otra mitad de nosotros mismos, felicidad que alcanzan muy pocos." "Sea lo que quiera, estoy seguro de que todos seremos dichosos, hombres y mujeres, si, gracias al Amor, encontramos cada uno nuestra mitad, y si volvemos a la unidad de nuestra naturaleza primitiva. Ahora bien, si este antiguo estado era el mejor, necesariamente tiene que ser también mejor el que más se le aproxime en este mundo, que es el de poseer á la persona que se ama según se desea. Si debemos alabar al dios que nos procura esta felicidad, alabemos al Amor, que no sólo nos sirve mucho en esta vida, procurándonos lo que nos conviene, sino también porque nos da poderosos motivos para esperar, que si cumplimos fielmente con los deberes para con los dioses, nos restituirá él á nuestra primera naturaleza después de esta vida, curará nuestras debilidades y nos dará la felicidad en toda su pureza." "Para alabar al Amor, es preciso decir lo que es el Amor" "La mayor ventaja del Amor es que no puede recibir ninguna ofensa de parte de los hombres ó de los dioses, y que ni dioses ni hombres pueden ser ofendidos por él, porque si sufre ó hace sufrir es sin coacción, siendo la violencia incompatible con el amor. Solo de libre voluntad se somete uno al Amor, y a todo acuerdo, concluido voluntariamente, las leyes, reinas." *JUSTICIA, TEMPLANZA, FUERZA -CARACTERÍSTICAS DEL DIOS DEL AMOR. "El Amor es un poeta tan entendido, que convierte en poeta al que quiere; y esto sucede aun cuando sea uno extraño A las Musas, y en el momento que uno se siente inspirado por el Amor; lo cual prueba que el Amor es notable en esto de llevar á cabo las obras que son de la competencia de las Musas, porque no se enseña lo que se ignora, como no se da lo que no se tiene." "El Amor es el que da paz a los hombres, calma a los mares, silencio a los vientos, lecho y sueño a la inquietud. Él es el que aproxima a los hombres, y los impide ser extraños los unos a los otros; principio y lazo de toda sociedad, de toda reunión amistosa, preside a las fiestas, a los coros y a los sacrificios. Llena de dulzura y aleja la rudeza; excita la benevolencia e impide el odio. Propicio a los buenos, admirado por los sabios, agradable a los dioses, objeto de emulación para los que no lo conocen aún, tesoro precioso para los que le poseen, padre del lujo, de las delicias, del placer, de los dulces encantos, de los deseos tiernos, de las pasiones; vigila a los buenos y desprecia a los malos. En nuestras penas, en nuestros temores, en nuestros disgustos, en nuestras palabras es nuestro consejero, nuestro sostén, y nuestro salvador. En fin, es la gloria de los dioses y de los hombres, el mejor y más precioso maestro, y todo mortal debe seguirle y repetir en su honor los himnos de que él mismo se sirve, para derramar la dulzura entre los dioses y entre los hombres." *Es una mujer quien tiene la respuesta a lo que es verdaderamente el amor, Diotima. "El que desea, desea lo que no está seguro de poseer, lo que no existe al presente, lo que no posee, lo que no tiene, lo que le falta. Esto es, pues, desear y amar." "El Amor carece de belleza, y si lo bello es inseparable de lo bueno, el Amor carece también de bondad." "La verdadera opinión ocupa un lugar intermedio entre la ciencia y la ignorancia." "—¿No llamas dichosos a aquellos que poseen cosas bellas y buenas? —Seguramente. —Pero estás conforme en que el Amor desea las cosas bellas y buenas, y que el deseo a una señal de privación. —En efecto, estoy conforme en eso. —¿Cómo entonces, repuso Diotima, es posible que el Amor sea un dios, estando privado de lo que es bello y bueno? —Eso, a lo que parece, no puede ser en manera alguna. —¿No ves, por consiguiente, que también tú piensas que el Amor no es un dios? —¡Pero qué!, la respondí, ¿es que el Amor es mortal? — De ninguna manera. —Pero, en fin, Diotima, dime que es. —Es, como dije antes, una cosa intermedia entre lo mortal y lo inmortal. —¿Pero qué es por último? —Un gran demonio, Sócrates; porque todo demonio ocupa un lugar intermedio entre los dioses y los hombres." "Los demonios llenan el intervalo que separa el cielo de la tierra; son el lazo que une al gran todo. De ellos procede toda la esencia adivinatoria y el arte de los sacerdotes con relación a los sacrificios, a los misterios, a los encantamientos, a las profecías y a la magia. La naturaleza divina como no entra nunca en comunicación directa con el hombre, se vale de los demonios para relacionarse y conversar con los hombres, ya durante la vigilia, ya durante el sueño. El que es sabio en todas estas cosas es demoníaco; y el que es hábil en todo lo demás, en las artes y oficios, es un simple operario. Los demonios son muchos y de muchas clases, y el Amor es uno de ellos." "El Amor es lo que es amado y no lo que ama." "—¿Pues cuál es el objeto del amor? —Es la generación y la producción de la belleza. —Pero, ¿por qué el objeto del amor es la generación? —Porque es la generación la que perpetúa la familia de los seres animados, y le da la inmortalidad, que consiente la naturaleza mortal. Pues conforme a lo que ya hemos convenido, es necesario unir al deseo de lo bueno el deseo de la inmortalidad, puesto que el amor consiste en aspirar a que lo bueno nos pertenezca siempre. De aquí se sigue que la inmortalidad es igualmente el objeto del amor." "En efecto, lo que se llama reflexionar se refiere a un conocimiento que se borra, porque el olvido es la extinción de un conocimiento; porque la reflexión, formando un nuevo recuerdo en lugar del que se marcha, conserva en nosotros este conocimiento, si bien creemos que es el mismo. Así se conservan todos los seres mortales; no subsisten absolutamente y siempre los mismos, como sucede a lo que es divino, sino que el que marcha y el que envejece deja en su lugar un individuo joven, semejante a lo que él mismo había sido. "Si es preciso buscar la belleza en general, sería una gran locura no creer que la belleza, que reside en todos los cuerpos, es una e idéntica. Una vez penetrado de este pensamiento, nuestro hombre debe mostrarse amante de todos los cuerpos bellos, y despojarse, como de una despreciable pequeñez, de toda pasión que se reconcentre sobre uno sólo. Después debe considerar la belleza del alma como más preciosa que la del cuerpo ; de suerte, que una alma bella, aunque esté en un cuerpo desprovisto de perfecciones, baste para atraer su amor y sus cuidados, y para ingerir en ella los discursos más propios para hacer mejor la juventud."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amir Latifi

    امتیاز واقعی: ۲/۵ اگر میخواهید برای لذت بخوانید. نخواندید هم چیزی از دست ندادید. کتاب شیرینی است. ولی اگر دنبال نگاهی دقیق و فلسفی به عشق هستید، اشتباه آمدید. جمعی در ضیافتی نشستهاند و هرکس از عشق چیزی میگوید. سقراط هم یکی از آنهاست. حرفها قریب به اتفاق از شیرینگویی، آسمان ریسمان بافتن، استعارهبازی و اسطورهگویی فراتر نمیرود. پختهترینشان سقراط است. کمی دقیقتر سخن میراند ولی آن چنان هم حرف حسابی ندراد. امتیاز واقعی: ۲/۵ اگر می‌خواهید برای لذت بخوانید. نخواندید هم چیزی از دست ندادید. کتاب شیرینی است. ولی اگر دنبال نگاهی دقیق و فلسفی به عشق هستید، اشتباه آمدید. جمعی در ضیافتی نشسته‌اند و هرکس از عشق چیزی می‌گوید. سقراط هم یکی از آن‌هاست. حرف‌ها قریب به اتفاق از شیرین‌گویی، آسمان‌ ریسمان بافتن، استعاره‌بازی و اسطوره‌گویی فراتر نمی‌رود. پخته‌ترین‌شان سقراط است. کمی دقیق‌تر سخن می‌راند ولی آن چنان هم حرف حسابی ندراد.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    The life of the party 26 August 2015 You've really got to love the way Plato writes philosophy. Whereas everybody else simply writes what is in effect a work of non-fiction explaining some ideas, Plato seems to have the habit of inserting them into a story. Okay, he may not be the only philosopher that uses a story to convey his philosophical ideas, but he certainly stands out from his contemporaries, who simply wrote treatises. I've read a few of his works, and he always seems to structure it in The life of the party 26 August 2015 You've really got to love the way Plato writes philosophy. Whereas everybody else simply writes what is in effect a work of non-fiction explaining some ideas, Plato seems to have the habit of inserting them into a story. Okay, he may not be the only philosopher that uses a story to convey his philosophical ideas, but he certainly stands out from his contemporaries, who simply wrote treatises. I've read a few of his works, and he always seems to structure it in a similar way, usually beginning with a conversation that has absolutely nothing to do with the ideas that he is trying to explore, but rather idle chit-chat. The Symposium stands out from his over works because the discussion occurs during a party (nice one Plato). In fact as I was reading this I could almost imagine the exact same scenario happening today. A group, who had had a pretty heavy night of drinking the night before decide to take it a little easier tonight, order a pizza, grab a couple of six packs of beer, and sit in the lounge room for a quiet one while still nursing the remnants of a hangover. Instead of turning on the television they decide to have a conversation. However, as the night wears on there is a knock at the door, and upon opening it we find the guy that we all know with two bottles of Jack Daniels in his hands who invites himself into the discussion. However this guy is hardly the philosophical type, and his discussion simply turns into how wonderful he thinks this other guy happens to be. Then there is another knock at the door, and as it happens he has invited all his friends over, and that quiet night ends up turning into another free-for all. Come morning, one of the guys from the original group picks himself off the couch, and in the haze of a hangover sees that three of the original group are still up and are talking about something completely different. However he is way too hungover to join in so he makes his way home. That's basically the plot of the Symposium. However Plato simply isn't telling a story about the party, he is exploring the idea of love. In fact it is suggested that what he is actually doing is recounting the discussion that occurred during an actual Symposium years before (and from the last couple of paragraphs it appears that the person who was telling the story was Aristodemus – whoever he happens to be – but he is telling it to another guy named Apollodorus, who I suspect is then telling Plato). This book is really interesting on so many levels. Not only are we allowed to listen into a discussion between Greeks about the nature of love, we are also given a pretty detailed glimpse of what went on during a symposium (or at least one that initially wasn't supposed to be a drunken free for all, but then again I'm sure we have all experienced something similar in our lives). Not only is it a work of philosophy, it is a work that gives us a very clear picture of the Ancient Athenian culture. Before I continue I must say one thing – Socrates is a freak. The book opens with Aristodemus meeting up with Socrates and then Socrates invites himself along to a party at Agathon's house. However when they arrive Socrates doesn't enter, he just stands outside staring into space. The ensuring conversation goes a little like this: AGATHON: Hey, weren't you with Socrates? ARISTODEMUS: Yeah, he's just outside. AGATHON: What's he doing out there, invite him in! ARISTODEMUS: I suspect he's contemplating the nature of the universe. AGATHON: There's plenty of time to do that, I'm going to bring him in. ARISTODEMUS: Don't bother. You know what he's like. He'll come in once he's had his revelation. … AGATHON: What! He's still out there! This is getting ridiculous, I'm bringing him inside! ARISTODEMUS: I wouldn't worry too much about him Agathon. You know how he exists in his own little world. Come to think of it, he sound's like that cat that stands at the open door, but really has no intention of going inside, or even staying outside. However, as I have indicated (and as many of you probably already know) this book is more than a story about what happened at Agathon's party (though I am sure many of us have had the experience where somebody we know comes along and gives us a detailed account of the party they went to the other night – though it is no where near as good as actually being there) but an exposition of love. Each of the main characters gives a dissertation of their idea of love, and as is expected, Socrates' dissertation is left until last. However I am sort of wandering whether the conversation occurred how it has been reported, or whether Plato is altering the events to suit his own purpose (I can't remember the intricate details, or the philosophical discussion I had at any of the parties I went to – all I can remember is talking about George Bush). For instance, we have Pausanius talk about how there are two kinds of love – physical and celestial. In a way there is the base love that we humans experience, a love that is expressed in physical actions (such as sex). However there is also spiritual love, that which is expressed in spiritual actions (such as self-sacrifice). I should pause here and state that my view of love unfortunately is tarnished by my Christian upbringing. I say that because the way I view love is that it exists entirely on the spiritual level. To me the love that Pausanius describes as physical love is actually little more than lust. However, Socrates does suggest that love is the desire to possess that which is beautiful, which does fall into the category that Pausanius describes. In my mind, love is not so much a feeling but rather expressed through actions such as self-sacrifice. Love is also unconditional – it doesn't play favourites, which means that it is impossible to love one person and no another (though due to our human nature, and our natural instinct to play favourites, unconditional love is a state that is very difficult to achieve). Now I wish to say a few things about my view on desire and sex. In my mind sex has two purposes – a means to stimulate the pleasure centres of the brain (much like a drug) and to procreate. The reason that it stimulates the pleasure centres is because it is a mechanism to encourage us to procreate. However we won't know about its pleasurable aspects unless we actually engage in it, which is why many of us develop this desire for members of the opposite sex. These desires exist to encourage us to have sex so that we might perpetuate the species. Note that I don't speak about 'falling in love' simply because I do not believe that these biological desires have anything to do with love – once again Hollywood is lying to us. Anyway, lets get on to Socrates: Socrates describes love as being the desire to possess that which is beautiful. In a way what he is suggesting is that if we possesses that which is beautiful then we are happy. In my mind Socrates is confusing love with happiness, but let us continue. He starts off by suggesting that this love begins on a physical level where we see a single person who we believe is beautiful and we desire to possess that person. This possession is fulfilled in the sexual act. However he suggests that to seek true beauty we simply cannot rest on one person, but we must begin to see the beauty in many people. As such our desire for that one person begins to diminish as we begin to see everybody else as being just as beautiful as this one person. However, he then takes the next step and suggests that we begin to move away from physical beauty to come to see the mental beauty (that is the intelligence) of individual people. As such we begin to lose interest in those whose beauty is not intellectual to focus on those who are. As such physical beauty begins to take a back seat. From there we move on to understand absolute beauty, namely that we can see beauty in everything without differentiation. This absolute is quite interesting – Plato rejects relativism. In his mind there must be an absolute because the universe simply cannot exist without one. A relative world is a world that is chaotic and has no form, but by looking at the world he can see that there is an absolute form, but he realises that everybody sees these forms differently. Thus his quest is the search for the absolute, and to move beyond relativism and the world of the opinion to try to understand and grasp the absolute truth. This the the goal of this book, to reject the relativism of physical beauty and to seek out the absolute of the celestial beauty. However, he does something really interesting – once Socrates finishes his speech in comes Alcibaides and brings the entire discussion back to reality. Not only does he interject into the discussion, he turns it completely on its head by telling everybody how wonderful he thinks Socrates is (he lusts after Socrates, but Socrates won't have a bar of it). Plato understands the real world, and this is what Alcibaides represents. While we may begin to ascend the ladder towards our grasp of absolute beauty, things will happen that will bring us crashing back down to reality. As I said, Socrates was a freak, which is why he was able to rebuff Alcibaides' advances.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    HEADLINE: This is priceless! When I was a young man, I and my friends certainly had some strange conversations, possibly aided by some substances of questionable legality in certain countries, but we never quite managed to attain the heights of strangeness reached at this banquet/drinking party(*) held in 416 BCE when Socrates was approximately 53 years old, once again the principal figure in this "dialogue" written by Plato between 12 and 15 years after Socrates' death by poisoning in 399 BCE. P HEADLINE: This is priceless! When I was a young man, I and my friends certainly had some strange conversations, possibly aided by some substances of questionable legality in certain countries, but we never quite managed to attain the heights of strangeness reached at this banquet/drinking party(*) held in 416 BCE when Socrates was approximately 53 years old, once again the principal figure in this "dialogue" written by Plato between 12 and 15 years after Socrates' death by poisoning in 399 BCE. Plato was 11 years old when the banquet took place, so, as in Crito and Phaedo , all the speeches are Plato's invention, though he may well have listened to stories about the banquet from participants. The general topic of the speeches: love in all of its forms. Each of the participants in the banquet is, in turn, to deliver a speech about Love. And deliver they do... Eryximachus, first up to bat, laments that so little poetry has been dedicated to the topic of Love. Phaedrus, in honorable Greek tradition, reaches into the past and recalls what Hesiod and Parmenides, among others, had to say. Love is the eldest and most beneficent of the gods. Then he launches into an explanation why the love between men fosters and supports honor and virtuous behavior. (A common theme at this banquet, which makes me wonder why the Christians permitted this text to survive. Thank goodness the Christian crusade against "sodomy" is ebbing into impotence.) Phaedrus unfavorably contrasts Orpheus' love for his wife with Achilles' love for Patroclus (and can't resist asserting that Achilles was the bottom, not Patroclus, because he was the fairer, beardless and younger; he doesn't use "bottom", but in the Greco-Roman world, those are the attributes of the "passive" partner in a homosexual relationship - I've heard some conversations like this at drunken parties, but Achilles usually wasn't the subject of the gossip). Pausanias then holds forth on the distinction between noble Love, expressed for youths who are "beginning to grow their beards", and common Love, whose object is women and boys. (At this point I'd be wondering if somebody had slipped something into the wine. But I'd be listening closely.) He gives a lengthy and closely reasoned moral argument in favor of this. I wonder how it would go over in the House of Representatives? Eryximachus, in a return engagement, is a physician and reinterprets Pausanias' moral distinctions in terms of the concepts of "healthy" and "diseased". In a process of what appears to be free association (was Plato smirking while he was writing this?), the good doctor throws in music, agriculture, astronomy, divination (OK, pass the blunt over here again), ... . Finally, he turns the floor over to the playwright Aristophanes, who clearly had brought his private stash to the party. For he commences to explain that originally mankind had three sexes. Moreover, primeval man was round, had four hands and feet, two faces on one head, etc. etc. In his LSD dream, this primeval man was so powerful that Zeus was envious and smote primeval man in twain. With some cosmetic work by Apollo, which is described in fascinating detail, and after a few false starts, voilà , mankind as we know it. Which explains, of course, why we are always looking for our other half. Instead of being helped away to a sanatorium, Aristophanes goes on to explain how the original three sexes of primeval man fit into the picture. Enjoy! I know I did. After this gobsmackingly strange speech (which would have had me trying to figure out where he hid his stash), the boys engage in some good natured banter, and then Agathon takes the floor. He makes a bad start, and then it goes downhill from there. Let's just say that Love had better not drop the soap in the shower when Agathon is around. (I know Plato was laughing up his sleeve on this one.) Now it is The Man's turn - Socrates steps to the plate. He goes into his usual "Ah, shucks" routine and then starts asking Agathon questions. Please see my review of Plato's Phaedo to see how that goes. After Agathon agrees with everything Socrates says, Socrates launches into a long story, the upshot of which is: the only true love is Love of the Absolute! (This sounds more like Plato than Socrates, but no surprise there.) Upon which Alcibiades comes staggering into the room. After a brief argument with Socrates about which of the two has the greater hots for the other, Alcibiades stumbles up to the plate. He sings the praises of Socrates' virtue, nobility, fortitude and pedagogy. This speech, if authentic, is one of the most detailed glimpses into Socrates' life we have and is fascinating. As literature, Plato really surpassed himself in this dialogue - even the weakest speeches (from the point of view of content and wit) were most savorously eloquent. And all were entertaining, each in a very distinct way. While I personally find Plato's physics, metaphysics and epistemology to be absurd and his politics to be frightening, the man could turn a phrase and draw a convincing characterization through speech. While I am completely unconvinced by claims that the Symposium can be viewed as a novel, one can, nonetheless, read it with great pleasure as a purely literary product. By the way, is any of that wine left? (Re-read in Benjamin Jowett's translation.) (*) A possibly amusing sidenote: The participants take a vote and decide "that drinking is to be voluntary, and that there is to be no compulsion" (they decided this only because so many of them were hung over from the previous evening!). One pauses at the idea that some of the brightest lights of Western culture comported themselves in their middle age like frat boys on a Saturday night... One of Socrates' many reported virtues was he could drink everybody else under the table and walk away into the dawn perfectly sober.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Evripidis Gousiaris

    Αγαπώ.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Leverquin

    Gozba, simpozion, ili simpozijum je bila jedna od najzanimljivijih ustanova starogrčkog društva. Predstavljala je spoj večernje zabave, pijanke i političko-filozofskog foruma muškaraca jer ženama nije bio dozvoljen pristup. Najčešće je organizovana u čast pobede na nekom od agona, sportskih ili pozorišnih. Platon uzima gozbu kao okvir za svoje veliko delo, u kojoj se prelamaju društveni odnosi polisa Atine - politički, religijski, seksualni obrasci ponšanja izranjaju na površinu. Podeljena u 6+1 Gozba, simpozion, ili simpozijum je bila jedna od najzanimljivijih ustanova starogrčkog društva. Predstavljala je spoj večernje zabave, pijanke i političko-filozofskog foruma muškaraca jer ženama nije bio dozvoljen pristup. Najčešće je organizovana u čast pobede na nekom od agona, sportskih ili pozorišnih. Platon uzima gozbu kao okvir za svoje veliko delo, u kojoj se prelamaju društveni odnosi polisa Atine - politički, religijski, seksualni obrasci ponšanja izranjaju na površinu. Podeljena u 6+1 besedu, prožetu dijaozima, Gozba je jedno od najvažnijih Platonovih kniga. Tematski posvećena ljubavi tj. raspravi o prirodi božanstva Erota. Svaki od 6 govornika daje svoje viđenje ljubavi i Erota, a iz kojih saznajemo različita shvatanja koja su bila prisutna u atinskom društvu: podređenost žena, pederastija, herojstvo, duhovnost, shvatanje lepote... Duh antičke filozofije lebdi dok se čita delo. U ovom dijalogu su sadržana i zanimljiva saznanja o starogrčkoj mitologiji, o tome da li je Erot bog ili demon (biće između smrtnika i boga), koje vrste ljubavi postoje, stepeni koje je potrebno preći da bi se došlo do duhovne lepote... Čitanje ove knjige me je vratilo u blisku prošlost, od pre 3 godine, kad smo moje društvo i ja u mojoj staroj kući organizovali ovakve sedeljke, samo za razliku od Atinjana uz prisustvo ženskog pola, drugarica, koje su ravnopravo učestvovale, tako da ovaj tekst završim sa ličnom notom . Pili smo, gledali Bergmanove filmove, slušali Radio Beograd 3, i uz glas Aleksandra Božovića i neprevaziđene Koviljke Panić razmatrali razne teme, od ljubavi, filozofije (nekoliko drugara je studiralo filozofiju) politike, uplovivši u neki paralelni svet, tad sam stvarno imao osećaj (možda i jedini put uživotu) da je vreme stalo. Društvena margina, opuštenost letnjih noći, skup različitih ljudi na jednom mestu i alkohol su učinili da doživim sopstvene simpozijume i upoznam malo bolje ljude generalno.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    Two points about this book that I didn't enjoy. Firstly the descriptions of intimate relations with persons of a very very young age which although not exclusive to the Greek people in those times were nevertheless disturbing to read about. Secondly, in the last pages he seems to be tooting his own horn a lot. Even though he portrays Socrates as this superhuman human we know that Socrates speaks Platos own words throughout the whole text so he seems to be giving these amazing characteristics to Two points about this book that I didn't enjoy. Firstly the descriptions of intimate relations with persons of a very very young age which although not exclusive to the Greek people in those times were nevertheless disturbing to read about. Secondly, in the last pages he seems to be tooting his own horn a lot. Even though he portrays Socrates as this superhuman human we know that Socrates speaks Platos own words throughout the whole text so he seems to be giving these amazing characteristics to himself. Whether he does it consciously or not I don't know. Other than that the whole discussion about the god Eros is very interesting and I enjoyed certain passages a lot. His comparison of love for birth which is physical and love for birth in being creative such that an artist might have is brilliant. As well as the mortality and immortality of love. Here love is something between love and passion as meant by the Greek word Eros. It is a truly philosophical text that helps us understand our hearts and our human instincts better.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gypsy

    من اینو پارسال خونده بودم! گودریدز خوردتش؟! :/

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    And Agathon said, It is probable, Socrates, that I knew nothing of what I had said. And yet spoke you beautifully, Agathon, he said. Back in the late 1990s a cowpunk band named The Meat Purveyors had a song, Why Does There Have To Be A Morning After? It detailed stumbling around in the cruel light of day, sipping on backwash beer from the night before and attempting to reconstruct what at best remains a blur. The event depicted here is a hungover quest for certainty. The old hands in Athens have b And Agathon said, It is probable, Socrates, that I knew nothing of what I had said. And yet spoke you beautifully, Agathon, he said. Back in the late 1990s a cowpunk band named The Meat Purveyors had a song, Why Does There Have To Be A Morning After? It detailed stumbling around in the cruel light of day, sipping on backwash beer from the night before and attempting to reconstruct what at best remains a blur. The event depicted here is a hungover quest for certainty. The old hands in Athens have been tippling. Socrates is invited to the day after buffet. The Symposium attempts to explore the Praise for Love which occupies such a crucial yet chaotic corner of our earthly ways. There is ceremonial hemming-and-hawing about the sublime and then Socrates steps into the fray. All is vanity, Love is a bastard child of Poverty: the attempts at the Ininite and Eternal only reflect poorly on our scrawny and fleeting tenure.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elham 8

    چهار پنج سالی از خوندن این کتاب میگذره. یادمه وقتی خوندمش اونقدر خوب بود که گفتم همۀ کتابهای دیگۀ افلاطون رو میخونم. و حتی چندتاییشون رو هم خریدم. ولی خب، وقت نشده هنوز اما سر تصمیمم هستم! این کتاب واقعاً اندیشه بخش و تأمل برانگیزه. دوست داشتم توی اون ضیافت می بودم و افلاطون رو موقع ادای اون جملات میدیدم و حتی خودم هم سؤالهایی میپرسیدم... به نظرم بهترین ایده ها رو درمورد مسائلی مثل عشق که به اندازۀ عمر بشر موضوع بحث قرار گرفته ن، ارائه میده

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rezvan

    در این کتاب افلاطون معنا و مفهوم حقیقی عشق رو از زبان سقراط بیان میکنه. خیلی خیلی عالی بود. میشنوی که بعضی میگویند کسانی که در جستجوی نیمه دیگر خود هسستند عاشق میباشند، اما من میگویم عاشقان نه به دنبال نیمه دیگر خود هستند و نه به دنبال تمام خود! آنچه که مردمان آن را دوست دارند و خواهان آن هستند فقط خوبی است و لاغیر. هدف و غایت جوشش عشق آفرینش و زاینندگی در زیبایی است. تن و جان مردمان زاینده است و در سن معینی طبیعتشان اشتیاق به تولید و آفرینش پیدا میکند و بر سر آن میرود که زیبایی را بیافریند نه زش در این کتاب افلاطون معنا و مفهوم حقیقی عشق رو از زبان سقراط بیان میکنه. خیلی خیلی عالی بود. می‌شنوی که بعضی می‌گویند کسانی که در جستجوی نیمه دیگر خود هسستند عاشق میباشند، اما من میگویم عاشقان نه به دنبال نیمه دیگر خود هستند و نه به دنبال تمام خود! آنچه که مردمان آن را دوست دارند و خواهان آن هستند فقط خوبی است و لاغیر. هدف و غایت جوشش عشق آفرینش و زاینندگی در زیبایی است. تن و جان مردمان زاینده است و در سن معینی طبیعتشان اشتیاق به تولید و آفرینش پیدا می‌کند و بر سر آن می‌رود که زیبایی را بیافریند نه زشتی را و اینچنین پیوند مرد و زن جاودان ساختن موجود فانی است. اما علت وجود عشق و اشتیاق چیست؟ مگر نه اینکه همه جانوران چه پرندگان و چه روندگان گرفتار عشق و اشتیاق می‌شوند و شوق تولید مثل در آنها پدید می‌آید! و برای این کار چه درد و رنجی را که بر خود هموار نمی‌سازند؟ و حتی ناتوانترین جانداران هم آماده است که در راه بچه های خود با نیرومندترین آنها به نبرد برخیزد و شاید در این راه جان دهد! در مورد انسانها شاید این طور فکر کنیم که عقل و خرد آنهاست که آنها را وادار به این اعمال می‌کند. اما جانوران که از عقل و خرد بی بهره اند برای چه این کار می‌کنند؟ طبیعت فانی و میرای موجودات زنده باعث میشود که آنها برای خود جاودانگی و نامیرایی پدید آورند و در جانداران تنها راه همان تولید مثل است که سبب بقای آنها میشود. و اما در انسانها عشق زمینی است که قوه تمیز ندارد و اینها هستند که عاشق زنان یا مردان میشوند یعنی عاشق تن میشوند و نه عاشق جان! و گمان میکنند که از این عشق زمینی و میرا جاودانگی و نیکنامی خود را تضمین میکنند و به جای موجود فرسوده، موجود نو و تازه ای در جهان پدید می آورند. پس شگفت نیست اگر همه آدمیان محبت فرزندان خود را در دل بپرورانند! اما جانها و ارواح نیز زاییدن و و آفرینش دارند. پس عاشق واقعی چون وقت تولید وتناسل روحانی او فرا رسد به جستجوی افرادی میپردازد که هم زیبایی سیرت داشته باشند و هم صورت. پس به تاثیر عشق و بر اثر مجاورت و همنشینی با وی بالطبع بر آن خواهد شد که مقصود جاودانگی و دوام بقای وجود معنوی خود را به وسیله آن تولید و تناسل معنوی در وی انجام داده و هر آنچه را که در خزانه وجودش از وظایف انسانی و شرافت نفسانی اندوخته است بدو سپارد و به این ترتیب مهرورزی و یگانگی که بین این دو به وجود می آید به مراتب استوارتر و زیباتر از یگانگی اتحادی است که در سایه فرزندان جسمانی بین پدر و مادر می‌آید. شاعران بزرگ آثار جاودانشان فرزندان آنها هستند و مردم به تجلیل آنها پرداخته و به خاطر فرزندانی که به یادگار گذاشته اند، برای یادبود آنها همه جا معابدی برپا کرده اند و حال آنکه به سبب فرزندان تنی حتی برای یک نفر هم معبدی برپا نساتخته اند! اما پس از این مرحله اگر راهبرش راه را درست به او نشان داده باشد با پدیدار شدن چنین شناختی، او عاشق تمام ارواح و جان های زیبا خواهد شد و پیوسته افکار و اندیشه هایی را می جوید و می آفریند که بتواند آنها را بهتر و کامل تر بسازد و بدین گونه به مقامی میرسد که بتواند زیبایی را در قوانین و اچتماع و اخلاق و جامعه جای دهد و خویشی و یگانگی را که بین اینهاست باز می‌شناسد و اینجاست که بر او روشن میگردد که زیبایی یک فرد در برابر زیبایی اجتماع بسی کم ارزش است و دیگر پابند یک مظهر واحد نخواهد بود بلکه به دریای مواج زیبایی میراند و از عشق بی پایان به حکمت روی می‌اورد و سخنان و اندیشه های زیبا می آفریند. کسی که در مرحله عشق بدینجا رسید ناگهان طبیعتی بر او آشکار میشود که زیبایی اش بی پایان است و این زیبایی جاودانه است و نه به وجود می‌آید نه فانی میشود نه کوچکتر میشود و نه بزرگتر!

  25. 4 out of 5

    صان

    کتاب جالبی بود اما برای من تا حدودی خستهکننده بود. توش نظریات آدمهای مختلف توی شبنشینیای در حضور سقراط در باب عشق بیان میشد و آخراش سقراط میاد کاسه کوزهها رو میشکنه و درباره عشق و زیبایی حرف میزنه و آخرش هم مجلس به ابتذال کشیده میشه و ماجرا تموم. جالبیش برداشت یونانیهای اون زمان از زیبایی و جذب مردها به پسرهای جوون و زیبا بود. انگار روابطی عاشق و معشوقگون بین مردها طبیعی بوده. یهجاش میگن خب، دیشب خیلی مست کردیم امشب رو کم مِی بزنیم و بهجاش هرکی نظرشو درباره عشق بگه و ماجرا اینطوری شروع میشه :)) کتاب جالبی بود اما برای من تا حدودی خسته‌کننده بود. توش نظریات آدم‌های مختلف توی شب‌نشینی‌ای در حضور سقراط در باب عشق بیان می‌شد و آخر‌اش سقراط میاد کاسه کوزه‌ها رو می‌شکنه و درباره عشق و زیبایی حرف می‌زنه و آخرش هم مجلس به ابتذال کشیده می‌شه و ماجرا تموم. جالبی‌ش برداشت یونانی‌های اون زمان از زیبایی و جذب مرد‌ها به پسرهای جوون و زیبا بود. انگار روابطی عاشق و معشوق‌گون بین مردها طبیعی بوده. یه‌جاش می‌گن خب، دیشب خیلی مست ‌کردیم امشب رو کم مِی بزنیم و به‌جاش هرکی نظرشو درباره عشق بگه و ماجرا اینطوری شروع می‌شه :))

  26. 5 out of 5

    James

    The nature of eros is discussed in this famous dialogue by Plato. Symposium literally means "drinking party" in ancient Greek and this was one well-attended party with the likes of Alcibiades, Aristophanes, Agathon, Pausanias, Eryximachus and Socrates. A variety of views are put forward by the participants during the witty dialog that befits a drinking party. Some believe that eros is a somewhat shadowy thing, neither beautiful nor ugly, good nor bad. The most famous view is Aristophanes myth of The nature of eros is discussed in this famous dialogue by Plato. Symposium literally means "drinking party" in ancient Greek and this was one well-attended party with the likes of Alcibiades, Aristophanes, Agathon, Pausanias, Eryximachus and Socrates. A variety of views are put forward by the participants during the witty dialog that befits a drinking party. Some believe that eros is a somewhat shadowy thing, neither beautiful nor ugly, good nor bad. The most famous view is Aristophanes myth of a time when humans were split into two halves with each seeking their other half to become whole, thus explaining the power of eros. The beauty of the prose, the intricacy of the structure and, above all, the fascinating theories that are propounded combine to make this one of the most profound and enjoyable of all of Plato's dialogues. I highly recommend this to all serious readers.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mohammadjavad Abbasi

    کتاب داستان مهمانی یکی از دوستان سقراط است که چون در شاعری جایزه گرفته ولیمه میدهد.در این مهمانی همه از شرب و نشاط و هیاهو خسته میشوند و بنا میگذارند هر یک خطبه ای در وصف عشق و مدح خداوند عشق(اروس) بسرایند.همه به نوبت سخن از خدای عشق کرده و در نهایت نوبت به سقراط میرسد و به روش خاص خود(دیالکتیک)معنای عشق را روشن میسازد.آنچه واقعا لذت بخش است وصف هر یک از خداوندگار عشق است که با آنکه مربوط به حدود 2400 سال پیش هست هنوز مضامین ان تازه است و هنوز هم افراد در وصف عشق از همین تعابیر سخن میگویند.واقعا کتاب داستان مهمانی یکی از دوستان سقراط است که چون در شاعری جایزه گرفته ولیمه میدهد.در این مهمانی همه از شرب و نشاط و هیاهو خسته میشوند و بنا میگذارند هر یک خطبه ای در وصف عشق و مدح خداوند عشق(اروس) بسرایند.همه به نوبت سخن از خدای عشق کرده و در نهایت نوبت به سقراط میرسد و به روش خاص خود(دیالکتیک)معنای عشق را روشن میسازد.آنچه واقعا لذت بخش است وصف هر یک از خداوندگار عشق است که با آنکه مربوط به حدود 2400 سال پیش هست هنوز مضامین ان تازه است و هنوز هم افراد در وصف عشق از همین تعابیر سخن میگویند.واقعا از خواندن ان لذت بردم و به جاست از ترجمه دلنشین دکتر محمد علی فروغی نیز قدردانی کرد.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mahdi Lotfi

    ضیافت، مهمانی یا سومپوسیون یکی از مهمترین دیالوگهایافلاطون است. موضوع این دیالوگ اروس یا عشق است و این اثر مهمترین اثر افلاطون در زمینهٔ عشق میباشد. اثر دیگر افلاطون دربارهٔ عشق که با ضیافت هم در پیوند است فایدروس میباشد. این دیالوگ از دیالوگهای سقراطی افلاطون میباشد که در آنها سقراط چهرهٔ اول آن است. کتاب ضیافت به گونهٔ روایتیاست که در بخشی از آن خواننده شاهد گفتگوی بازیگران آن با یکدیگر است. ضیافت، مهمانی یا سومپوسیون یکی از مهمترین دیالوگ‌هایافلاطون است. موضوع این دیالوگ اروس یا عشق است و این اثر مهمترین اثر افلاطون در زمینهٔ عشق می‌باشد. اثر دیگر افلاطون دربارهٔ عشق که با ضیافت هم در پیوند است فایدروس می‌باشد. این دیالوگ از دیالوگ‌های سقراطی افلاطون می‌باشد که در آنها سقراط چهرهٔ اول آن است. کتاب ضیافت به گونهٔ روایتی‌است که در بخشی از آن خواننده شاهد گفتگوی بازیگران آن با یکدیگر است.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    In one of those strange literary coincidences this short treatise on Love by Plato has been referenced this past week in my reading of Barth’s The Friday Book and Hilton Als’s White Girls. And for completely different reasons. I haven’t plunged head-first into White Girls just yet, so this is a great opportunity to pause and catch up on a work of antiquity. My copy of The Symposium is translated from the Greek by Percy Bysshe Shelley - he titles the work The Banquet of Plato rather than the more In one of those strange literary coincidences this short treatise on Love by Plato has been referenced this past week in my reading of Barth’s The Friday Book and Hilton Als’s White Girls. And for completely different reasons. I haven’t plunged head-first into White Girls just yet, so this is a great opportunity to pause and catch up on a work of antiquity. My copy of The Symposium is translated from the Greek by Percy Bysshe Shelley - he titles the work The Banquet of Plato rather than the more common title used today. John Barth loves this work because he loves literature with telescoping frames of stories (One Thousand and One Nights is by far his favorite work - he admits to having the biggest lit crush possible on Scheherazade, his Muse). In this short piece, we have the general framework story of Apollodorus and Friend on a journey; Friend implores Apollodorus to tell him a story about the great Socrates that he recently overheard. Apollodorus confesses that his story is second hand from his other friend Aristodemus, and so Apollodorus unfurls the tale as told to him by Aristodemus. With me so far? We are now in Aristodemus’s narrative: He and Socrates are going to friend Agathon’s house for dinner - the night before Agathon was crowned by Athens as their laureate; that celebration was a real Bacchanalian blowout. On this night Agathon and guests agree to not get hammered and just drink respectably and talk about Love. Each party member offers their dialectic on the topic of Love, when it is Socrates’s turn, he tells a story about the stranger Priestess Diotima who instructs him on the true meaning of Love. This is Barth Bliss - we are now three levels deep in storytelling. Everything gets wrapped up nicely by the sudden invasion of the dinner by the shitfaced Alcibiades, who takes a few pages to explain in his drunken state just how much he loves Socrates. The evening ends with more wine, some guests leaving, others passing out, and ultimately Socrates puts the remaining friends to sleep and leaves. The story ends suddenly, like Plato had just remembered a more important engagement and needed to wrap things up quickly. Hilton Als, in the opening essay “Tristes Tropiques” of White Girls uses one of the vignettes on love from The Symposium to describe his feeling for his best friend: a platonic love that feels like being separated from a twin. Having finished Plato’s work, I now understand his reference (and have only about ten more books to read or movies to watch to divine the rest of the references Als makes in his opening essay). Even if I wasn’t necessarily along for the ride on Plato’s “Love fest” in this work, I did love the construct of the narrative, the characters, the drunken party crashing Alcibiades and the Barthian telescoping storytelling. As the piece can be read in a single sitting I can recommend it as time well spent.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sheyda Heydari Shovir

    سمپوزیوم/ضیافت رو بزبان اصلی نخوندم و ترجمهش بانگلیسی رو خوندم و پس در مورد نثرش حرفی نمیتونم بزنم. اما پیشنهاد کوچکم اینه که ترجمه جوئت رو بخونید. اما سمپوزیوم همونطور که مشهوره در مورد یک شبنشینیه که توش شراب میخورند و در مورد عشق حرف میزنند. موقعیت واقعا اغراقآمیزه، قبول کنیم. بهرحال سقراط و چن نفر دیگه نشستهند و هرکی نظرشو میگه و سقراط هم نظرشو که کلش نقل قول از فرد دیگریست رو میگه. این شکل پرداختش بموضوع یکم ریتمش کنده ولی بطور کلی از بامزگی خالی نیست. من بعنوان ادبیاتی واجب ندیدم طرفی ازین سمپوزیوم/ضیافت رو بزبان اصلی نخوندم و ترجمه‌ش بانگلیسی رو خوندم و پس در مورد نثرش حرفی نمیتونم بزنم. اما پیشنهاد کوچکم اینه که ترجمه جوئت رو بخونید. اما سمپوزیوم همونطور که مشهوره در مورد یک شب‌نشینیه که توش شراب میخورند و در مورد عشق حرف میزنند. موقعیت واقعا اغراق‌آمیزه، قبول کنیم. بهرحال سقراط و چن نفر دیگه نشسته‌ند و هرکی نظرشو میگه و سقراط هم نظرشو که کلش نقل قول از فرد دیگریست رو میگه. این شکل پرداختش بموضوع یکم ریتمش کنده ولی بطور کلی از بامزگی خالی نیست. من بعنوان ادبیاتی واجب ندیدم طرفی ازین اثر بربندم و با توجه باینکه فلسفه‌خوان نیستم رو بامزگیها و قشنگیها تمرکز کرد. بجای اینکه مثل یک عاشق بدانش (فیلسوف) بحرفهای سقراط ریز بشم ازون تیکه‌ای خیلی خوشم اومد که آریستوفانس نظرشو در مورد عشق گفت. اولا که اول که نوبت بآریستوفانس میرسه آریستوفانس سکسکه داره نمیتونه حرف بزنه. دکتر جمع بهش میگه نفستو نگه دار، نشد آب قرقره کن، نشد دماغتو قلقلک بده عطسه‌ت بگیره. این دیگه ردخورد نداره حتما قطعش میکنه. تکرار میکنم اینها قبل از میلاد مسیح نوشته شده. اما نظراتش در مورد عشق تقریبا مثل این بود که دارم عجایب‌المخلوقات میخونم. منطقی‌ترین حرفی که میزنه میگه بنظر من آدمها هیچوقت (خدای) عشق رو درک نکرده‌ند. اگر کرده بودند که تا میتونستند قربونی میکردند و براش معبد میساختند. اما یکم ازین پایینتر میگه آدمها فرزندان ماه و خورشید و زمینند، بخاطر همین اول همه گرد و کروی بودند و مثلا چهار دست و چهار پا داشتند، بعدا زئوس برشون خشم میگیره و نصفشون میکنه دارای دودست دوپا میشند اما ظاهرا احساس ناکاملی درشون میمونه. اینه که هی میرن همدیگه رو پیدا میکنند همدیگه رو بغل میکنند و انقدر باین مشغول میشند که بهیچ کار دیگه نمیپردازند و بیم این میره که از گرسنگی بمیرند؛ درین حد که از آسمون دلشون برحم میاد و فکر چاره میکنند. مثلا این قشنگ رو در همین اثنا میگه: Each of us when separated, having one side only, like a flat fish, is but a indenture of a man, and he is always looking for his other half. طرفه اینکه همین آقای آریستوفانس با همین مقدمات باین میرسه که مردانی که علاقه بهمجنس دارند مردانگی‌شون بیشتره و در حد کامله. بطور کلی توی ضیافت چیزهایی که در مورد عشق بپسر نوجوان مطرح میشه و احیانا برتر دونستنش از دیگر صورتهای عشق دوبار از شاهدبازی که معرف حضوره تکان‌دهنده تره. دیگر جایی که خیلی بامزه بود جاییه که یکی از معشوقهای سقراط دیروقت بجمع میپیونده و با حالت بازیچهٔ دست کودکانم کردی میشینه و پاکباخته میگه من چه حرفی از عشق بزنم من میخوام از سقراط حرف بزنم برا من عشق همینه. و شروع میکنه غر زدن و خاطره تعریف کردن. نهایتا هم راوی داستان خوابش میبره و دو سه جمله در مورد وضعیت صبح بعد بیداریش میگه و کتاب تموم میشه.

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