“All you need is love”. It doesn’t only sound romantic or poetic, but it’s also proven by scientists. The chance of death or illness is significantly bigger when love is absent. In fact, there are numerous studies and discoveries that confirm this. Love, in the form of physical contact, is essential for survival and good health.
But Plato, one of the most famous philosophers of classical Greece, was convinced that only his perspective of love was the correct one: platonic love. This type of love is completely non-sexual and directs one’s attention to spiritual things instead of physical things. Plato considered physical desire and sex as the first degree. With the correct way of life and pristine thoughts one could gain the second degree. But platonic love was the only way to achieve the third and most important degree which presents a means of ascent to contemplation of the divine.
On the reverse, Plato believed that platonic love was only possible between equals. But since woman didn’t have the same rights and status as men, platonic love could only exist between people of the same sex. The Greek philosopher obviously realised that men and woman had to propagate in order to save humanity from extinction. But those who saw this necessary need as the most important thing, were considered as animals. Real and true love could only exist between souls in the third degree.
Even though Plato’s beliefs, platonic love didn’t become the average lifestyle. In fact, love and physical contact between people became very important. Not only in this century, but also in the time of Sophocles (5th century), Dante, (14th century) and Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (18th century). And what’s wrong with that? Maybe you’re considered as an animal by Plato but at least you experience love and love is all you need.
Author: Hanneke Bijker