More sly remarks from Socrates on the subject of love

From the Symposium:

Then now, said Socrates, let us recapitulate the argument. First, is not love of something, and of something too which is wanting to a man?

Yes, he replied.
Remember further what you said in your speech, or if you do not remember I will remind you: you said that the love of the beautiful set in order the empire of the gods, for that of deformed things there is no love-did you not say something of that kind?

Yes, said Agathon.
Yes, my friend, and the remark was a just one. And if this is true, Love is the love of beauty and not of deformity?

He assented.
And the admission has been already made that Love is of something which a man wants and has not?

True, he said.
Then Love wants and has not beauty?
Certainly, he replied.
And would you call that beautiful which wants and does not possess beauty?

Certainly not.
Then would you still say that love is beautiful?
Agathon replied: I fear that I did not understand what I was saying.
You made a very good speech, Agathon, replied Socrates; but there is yet one small question which I would fain ask:-Is not the good also the beautiful?

Then in wanting the beautiful, love wants also the good?
I cannot refute you, Socrates, said Agathon:-Let us assume that what you say is true.

Say rather, beloved Agathon, that you cannot refute the truth; for Socrates is easily refuted.

Someone needs to put all the cynical Socratic/Platonic remarks on sex and love together. Why not me?


Leave a Comment