Friday, October 22, 2010

It All Goes Back To Plato

David Foster links to this post which begins by discussing Hegel.

... to have thrown your whole soul into a vision of beauty, that is passion. To have passion for a woman is, then, not to have some physical longing alone; that belongs to mere appetites, which rank much lower on his scale of mind. Rather, what you have is a longing for an idea of what the woman would be if she were as perfect as you wish her to be.

Well, and she is not; so is this not a lie? And are you not betraying her, if you will not take her as she is rather than demanding some perfection no one can possess?

But this question goes back to Plato at least. Here's part of Phaedrus:
After this [reveling in beauty, which FLG might call lust, the lovers'] happiness depends upon their self-control; if the better elements of the mind which lead to order and philosophy prevail, then they pass their life here in happiness and harmony-masters of themselves and orderly-enslaving the vicious and emancipating the virtuous elements of the soul; and when the end comes, they are light and winged for flight, having conquered in one of the three heavenly or truly Olympian victories; nor can human discipline or divine inspiration confer any greater blessing on man than this.

But for Plato, what's important is that the desire for Beauty is the soul remembering what the Form of Beauty looks like, and isn't as negative as mere appetite. Our appetites are ordered toward the Good in important ways.

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