Wednesday, November 3, 2021


I'm quite a socialist, and I believe in sharing resources. I also pay an exorbitant amount for my education, so to make things worth it, I like sharing everything I learn, on social media or on this here platform. I have the texts for my Liberal Studies course, whether in print or virtually, so if you'd like to read the texts, let me know. The range includes but isn't limited to The Epic of Gilgamesh, Vita Nuova, Symposium, Hayy Ibn Yaqzan. We recently received the mid-term test papers back, so here were my essays. Again, if you read the texts themselves, all this information would make more sense. 
    In Plato's Symposium, Aristophanes says that love is a wound and a want to be reunited with our other half, but Diotima says that "a lover does not seek the half or the whole, unless. . . it turns out to be good as well" (205e). Who is right? Why?

According to the speech that Aristophanes gives in Plato's Symposium, people who are in love are seeking to be rejoined with their perfectly-matched other half in order to heal a wound that was created when Zeus separated them from each other. In the stanza of 192C, Aristophanes proclaims, "And so, when a person meets the half that is his very own, whatever his orientation, whether it's to young men or not, then something wonderful happens: the two are struck from their desire, and they don't want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment."

From Diotima's viewpoint, people in love seek only that which is good for themselves, or a person who would inspire them to create something which will attain a form of immortality, for they want what is good for them, and they want it to last, forever. From 208E, "I believe that anyone will do anything for the sake of immortal virtue and the glorious fame that follows; and the better the people, the more they will do, for they are all in love with immortality."

I veer more toward the stance that Diotima is right. Whilst there are people in love who are definitely always in search of their "one true soulmate", more often than not, this ideal creates unrealistic expectations for a person to have. A romantic relationship is unhealthy when the two parties involved do not want to leave each other's sides and have no sense of independence — this is what is currently known as enmeshment, which is when a relationship has a lack of boundaries. Additionally, with the idea that there is a "one true love" or "better half" in the world, it can lead to two things. First, people already in relationships constantly question if they have found the "right partner", instead of trying to build on the foundation of the relationship they are in. Secondly, it leads to people without romantic partners feeling a sense of lacking in themselves, when they could very well be fulfilled as a single person. 

In contrast, Diotima's idea of love is a healthier and more fulfilling one, so in that sense, I believe she is more "right" than Aristophanes is. From 211B and 211C: "it is not anywhere in another thing, as in an animal, or in earth, or in heaven, or in anything else, but itself by itself with itself, it is always in one form; and all the other beautiful things share in that, in such a way that when these others come to be or pass away, this does not become the least bit smaller or greater nor suffer any change... This is what it is to go aright, or be led by another, into the mystery of Love: one goes always upwards for the sake of this Beauty. . . he arrives in the end at this lesson, which is learning of this very Beauty, so that in the end he comes to know just what it is to be beautiful."

Correspondingly, I believe people in love do pursue love for the sake of beauty, and for the sake of creation. Love causes an attraction toward the things that a person deems as good, and if a person loves the good in another, they would love the Good in every and all others, without discrimination. At least, I do believe that should be the standard in society, that everyone adopts an agape love, which treats everyone equally, regardless of whether they are your partner or not.

    — Nicely argued. Very clear summaries of their positions at the beginning.
    The Renaissance pop star Dante might agree with the contemporary pop star Dua Lipa that "Love is Religion." Explain using details from Dante's text.

Dante might agree with Dua Lipa that "Love is Religion" for several reasons. Followers of a religion are dedicated and steadfast in their rituals. Dante spent all his time in pursuit of Beatrice and in thinking of her. He also spent all his time writing, so he was religious about Beatrice and about writing, whether independently of each other or not. Followers of a religion may also be obedient without skepticism, and we see this in the following examples. In Chapter II, Dante writes, "Here is a god stronger than I, who shall come to rule over me" and in Chapter III, he writes "Love said 'I am your master.'" Both times, Dante simply submits without even questioning this force of Love. Dante is so fervent that he frequently makes supplications such as when he says "Love, help your faithful one" in Chapter XII. 

To Dante, love is also transformative, just like how religion is supposed to help one grow and be a better person. Chapter XVI: "I grieved when my memory excited my imagination to think of the transformations that Love worked in me" and "Love, many times without warning, attacked me so violently that no part of me remained alive." In his pursuit of Beatrice, his love also transforms as he moves his bliss from pursuit of her greeting to that of praising her. His writing also transforms at the same time as it moves from one movement to another with different writing styles, from the Proven├žal to dolce stil novo, until he feels in the last movement that he has transcended even all extant writing styles and successfully made his own. Thus, it shows that in both writing and his subject of Beatrice, he was both steadfast and allowed love to be transformative, as with a religion.

    — Very nice description of Dante's transformation and commitment to love/poetry.

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