Sunday, February 14, 2016

Learning about Love from 'The Symposium'

Every time I read ‘The Symposium’, I marvel at all the aspects of love, which are described in the various speeches. There’s tributes to love, tales of heroism, sexual desire, passionate friendship, searching for your other half, how it ennobles and debases, and how it’s a gateway, leading to an even greater passion, akin to a religious devotion. Every one of these loves is possible. Every one is true, to the person speaking. As a college freshman, I found myself thinking about how each speaker in ‘The Symposium’ was right and wrong. Socrates is much more skilled at arguing, as well as revealing the fallacies in other people’s arguments through questions, but I wasn’t convinced he was any more correct than anyone else. His experiences wouldn’t necessarily be the same as his companions’, any more than his thoughts would be. At that moment, I caught a glimpse of how complex thought could be. At that moment, you could say I fell in love. It was a love, which had already been growing in my passion for stories, for the printed word. I fell in love with ideas, with complex thoughts, and how fictional characters could be the very embodiments of those thoughts. As your characters grow and developed, so can the thoughts, which first gave form to them. I wanted to devote myself to those thoughts, wrapped around and embodied within my characters. This devotion has made my life, as well as my writing, much richer experiences than they might have been. It can be a lonely devotion, if you have no else to share it with. Not everyone understands, or tolerates such devotion. I treasure the people who do, particularly the one person, who decided he wanted to share his life with me, even if he didn’t always understand me. After being together with my husband for twenty-two years, there are still things about each other, which remains mysteries. This means there is still a lot left to explore. We continue to grow and learn from each other, just as Socrates and his friends grew and learned, from sharing their sentiments about love with each other. May each and every one of you have someone you can grow and learn with, even if that relationship doesn’t quite take the form you might have expected. May each and every one you experience the kind of love, which makes it a joy to continue to strive to go on living, even if it’s a love, which takes on a surprising form. 

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