Thursday, July 12, 2012


FROM "TURNED LOOSE" Writer’s note: Alicia Lys and Gil Stephens, more intimate than just good friends now, settle down in a hotel room in Madrid - One of the mental patients had spoken of the Diotima sequence in Plato’s “Symposium” - Alicia asks Gil to talk about it a little --

“This part of you is vague to me,” she said. “I want to know more. Let’s sit on the couch.”
Stephens let her take his hand and guide him, watched her sit with her feet under her facing him, an arm on the couch, the light of the floor lamp behind her.
“Okay,” he sighed.
“I forget how Plato brings this dialogue to Socrates, but a key idea Diotima expresses is that Eros, born of Resource and Need, is a mediator, even a trickster, who connects the human with what lies beyond representation. First it is Beauty, then the Good and the True, supposed mysteries of the divine, Plato’s forms. Yes. That sounds right.”
Lys sipped her wine. “I remember the forms from a philosophy course I aced.”
“You did. Interesting.”
“Go on, Dr. Stephens.” She pretended to lower a pair of eyeglasses over her nose.
“Eros is unruly, this is attributed to Need, his mother, who lived in poverty. He comes in disguises, too, a master of artifice. He’s barefoot, homeless, sleeps out in the open or in doorways. On the other hand, born of Resource on the day of Aphrodite’s birth, he brings to his mediation, as a form of love, the aspect of beauty. Or better maybe, the expression of beauty as a loveliness of the body, and beauty also in other forms of knowledge, like law, institutions, if you can imagine these being open to that, especially with what we’ve encountered.”
“It’s not easy, that’s for sure.”
This is sounding like a Socratic dialogue, Stephens thought.
“Anyway, this mediation becomes a founding event in the human soul, Diotima says. Only Eros can connect the human with wisdom beyond representation, tough to conceive but I imagine intuited. He mediates, in the way humans generally think, between subject and object, subject and predicate, and lover and the beloved. The other forms of love are filios, kinship or friendship love, and agape, transcendental love beyond reckoning. But another key point Diotima makes is the idea that Beauty itself is a loveliness that is everlasting.”
“Not like as us.”
“So far as we appear.”
“But like something in us.”
“Gil, I love this. I don’t want to lose it. Today. The last few months.”
She walked to the window, looked out into the night, and turned around.
“Who’s the trickster here?” Stephens asked, smiling.
Lys laughed, walked to the couch and clasped his hand.

No comments: