LITERATURE: Phaedrus – Love as Control

From Socrates’ opening speech, we catch a glimmer of the selfishness of love:

"He who is the victim of his passions and the slave of pleasure will of course desire to make his beloved as agreeable to himself as possible. Now to him who has a mind discased anything is agreeable which is not opposed to him, but that which is equal or superior is hateful to him, and therefore the lover Will not brook any superiority or equality on the part of his beloved; he is always employed in reducing him to inferiority."

Speaking still in the theory of lover and beloved, we see a very common fault of loving, in that manner of control, one over the other.  While man may desire a love of someone whom he would hold of highest esteem, it often fails to satisfy as it holds the danger of that person realizing, as does the lover, that the lover is unworthy. 

You see it all the time: the husband who is controlling of his wife; the short balding rich man with the gorgeous blonde on his arm who doesn’t have a brain beneath the halo of shining hair.  These lovers seek love in a self-indulgent manner, find someone who will make others jealous to see them, and yet privately knowing that the person has a flaw of sorts that keeps them dependent upon them. 

I’m not sure yet where Socrates is leading us with this, but most likely it is towards a goal of a purer love that is not for flattery, but for itself and its own purpose.

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One Response to LITERATURE: Phaedrus – Love as Control

  1. Mark says:

    I’d think twice about taking anything Socrates has to say about love. Dude used to knock off little Greek boys. (Woody Allen)

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