essay

This week we’re discussing Socrates’ speech on Love from the symposium.  For a way into our topic, I’m using this piece from a recent publication.  It is an excerpt from Rebecca Newberger Goldstein 2014 Book “Plato at the GooglePlex (p.267).  The questions for discussion are listed below.

Dear Margo: I’m engaged to a wonderful man, who’s highly successful in his field, the same field I’m in.  My problem is that my fiancé thinks too highly of me!  Somehow he’s gotten an inflated view of how talented and brilliant I am, and no matter how banal a suggestion I make, he infuses it with profound insights.  Most of the time these insights are really his own, loosely inspired by some half-baked thing I’ve said.  Sometimes he takes ‘my’ opinions so seriously that he uses them to challenge his own views, and ends up proclaiming that only ‘I’ could have seen through his fallacies.

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All of this makes me nervous, most of all because I think that eventually, after his infatuation wears off, he’s going to see me for what I am and feel he’s been deceived – which, of course he has been, even if the deception is really self-deception.  On the other hand, I have to admit that it feels great to be praised to the skies by someone I so respect.  It feels so good, in fact, that I never correct him and just accept the credit and compliments as if I deserved them.   What should I do?   I love this guy to bits and don’t want to lose him – not now and not in the future when his fog of love lifts.

  • Yours truly,
  • Teetering on Pedestal

(Rebecca Goldstein, Plato at the GooglePlex, p.267, 2014)

 

  1. How would you respond to this letter if you were Dear Margo?
  2. Do love and deception have anything to do with each other?  And if so, how can any relationship last?
  3. How do you imagine Socrates or Plato might reply with his notion of the ladder of love?

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