SOC 2201 Discussion Hierarchy of Love

March 8, 2022
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SOC 2201 Discussion Hierarchy of Love

SOC 2201 Discussion Hierarchy of Love

Discuss the claims that there are different ways to express love (masculine and feminine) and the hierarchy of the forms. Is this hierarchy appropriate? Is one form actually better than another, or should they be accepted as equals? Justify your response.

Diotima’s Ladder of Love, also known as Plato’s ladder of love or Plato’s ladder of Eros is a philosophy of different types of love that originated in Plato’s Symposium. Socrates had a speech contest of praising Eros, the god of love. In the end, they summarized the ideas based on the teachings of a priestess, Diotima.[1] There are six types of love, and each kind is put on a rung of a ladder. The ladder represents the path of love as an ascent from, initially, pure physical attraction to, finally, love of divinity.

The ladder of love was mentioned only in the Symposium, a philosophical text by Plato that depicts a series of speech contests from notable men in Ancient Greece.[2]

SOC 2201 Discussion Hierarchy of LoveThere are on-going debates on how the ladder of love could be interpreted.

Furthermore, Diotima’s ladder of love also has a religious connection, and is especially taken up in the Christian mystical tradition, most notably in Dante’s Commedia. This was interpreted by hidden messages used in the writing by Plato.

Diotima began with saying that if a man is normal, he will naturally fall in love with one particular beautiful body. Then, he must consider the similarities of the beauty in different bodies. If he understands that all bodies are beautiful he will become a lover of all bodies, not just one. Next, he must realize that the physical beauty is meaningless and impermanent, unlike souls. Whenever he encounters with other individuals that have beauty within their spirits and even if the bodies aren’t particularly attractive, he will fall in love to the immaterial part. From this, he will learn to contemplate and appreciate what those people with beautiful souls create, institutions. Then, his attention should ascend from institutions to science, so now he will accept the beauty of every aspect of knowledge. And lastly, once he sees the beauty in a wide horizon, his vision of the beauty will not be anything that is of the flesh. It will be neither words, nor knowledge, nor a something that exists in something else, it will be the beauty of beauty itself that he loves.

Steps on the ladder of love
Plato mentioned the steps of love by putting it under the teaching of Diotima to Socrates. The higher the steps, the more intellectual it is. To be able to climb the ladder, one must understand the prior ladder thoroughly.

First: Love for a particular body Love is a desire for physical features. An individual tends to get attracted to what is missing from their own body. Different particular bodies trigger different individuals.

Second: Love for all bodies When an individual recognizes the physical features that he is attracted to and understand that many bodies can have beauty. Love is then expressed towards all beautiful bodies in the lover’s view, not just a particular body. He then sees beauty in all bodies and learns to love the differences.

Third: Love for souls The stage in which physical features are put aside and spiritual and moral beauty trigger love. One will fall in love with beautiful minds in this step.

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Fourth: Love for laws and institutions Love for the practice, custom or foundation that are derived from people with beautiful souls.

Fifth: Love for knowledge When an individual turns his attention to all kinds of knowledge and loves that there is knowledge to acquire everywhere.

Sixth: Love for love itself An individual sees the beauty in its form and loves the beauty of love as it is. Every particular beautiful thing is beautiful because of its connection to this Form. The lover who has ascended the ladder apprehends the Form of Beauty in a kind of vision not through words or in the way that other sorts of more ordinary knowledge are known.

“Diotima’s Ladder,philosophy and fiction discussed”. August 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2018. definition
Westacott, Emrys (June 27, 2018). “Plato’s “Ladder of Love”. ThoughtCo. Retrieved August 18, 2018. origin
Shelley, Percy Bysshe (September 9, 2001). “Socrates and the Ladder of Love”. Pagan Press. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
“Plato’s “Ladder of Love”,The Ascent to Beauty Itself (Symposium)”. n.d. Retrieved July 28, 2018. Diotima’s teaching
Miller, Patrick Lee (April 5, 2012). “Love’s ladder’s God”. SSRC. Retrieved November 1, 2018. viewpoint
Urstad, Kristian (2010). “Loving Socrates:The Individual and the Ladder of Love in Plato’s Symposium”. Res Cogitans. 7 (1): 33–47.

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