The reading, “Diotima’s Speech” is an interesting conversation between Socrates and Diotima reflecting the different ideas people have concerning love. Love is a strong emotional feeling that every being experiences in his/her lifetime. Love can reach places where none can manage, such as in the deepest of hearts. It can be expressed in different ways to people, animals, and things. Its characteristics include acceptance to people and things, outright forgiveness, lack of fear, and complete attention to the people or things you love. The feeling and action of love goes beyond any boundaries set both physically and spiritually.
According to the Reading of Plato, love should be incorporated in all things since it is a beautiful thing. Individuals should not give up on it in the name of becoming wise or learned in any way. In her words, Diotima expresses that “one should not give up love in order to become wise or learned. It is love that leads to knowledge, whether in art or more metaphysical learning,” (22). Love cannot be a hindrance towards receiving wisdom or knowledge. Love is the main source of strength, wisdom, and high knowledge. It can be considered as the main source of virtue in humans.
In view of Plato through Diotima’s speech, love emanates from a supreme being- God. The argument between Socrates and Diotima reveals the fact that God is the main source of love. Additionally, God stands out as the main source of love as well as being love itself due to His ability of not falling in the category of mortal or immortal. Therefore, God is also referred to as Eros-the god of love. Eros is a god that mediates between two extremes in the society. For example, he is the god that makes it possible to have the rich and the poor dine on the same table. The dirty and the clean do not have any problem interacting by the fact that they are ruled by one factor-love. As Diotima’s speech suggests, “Love is thus an intermediary between pairs of opposites: poverty/plenty, ignorance/wisdom, ugliness/beauty, death/life …” (22). Therefore, it is right to say that love is what rules the world. It is the feeling or action that makes life worthwhile and enjoyable. Plato, through his character Diotima expresses the fact that Eros, the god of love is already wise and knowledgeable, therefore, not in need of seeking for the same. Her counterpart, Socrates disagrees by insisting that the gods must also be seekers of knowledge. In Socrates view, wise people are seekers of knowledge and wisdom regardless of their state as individuals or gods.
In the basic institution of a society, the family, love inevitably forms part of its members. In her view, Diotima believes that procreation comes as a product of love between couples. She believes that children are and must be a product of love. However, she notices also that presently, children do not fully receive the love that exists during the season of procreation. Lovers who put procreation as a goal for love eventually end up in the trap of not offering sufficient love to their children. Such couples end up losing love for themselves as well as the product of love, the child, or children. As Diotima states, “…the child can no longer be a lover and is put in the place of love’s incessant movement”. (27).
Love must be a natural occurrence, and not forceful. It should not be goal oriented or pointed towards a particular occurrence in life. For example, couples should not let procreation be the goal for love. Additionally, love must never be competitive or be put under the place of duty. Love should be left to bloom without fixed objectives. Such conditions are what make love disappear and unnatural. In Diotima’s view, objective love is not beautiful in any way. It only ends up reappearing in forms of paintings. Diotimastates that, “…often disappears from discourse, reappearing only in art, “painting”…” (27). This reveals that love becomes inactive when it is not handled appropriately or left to grow and bloom. There must be love between two people for them to be lovers. However, there is a thin line between love and hate. Couples who are deeply in love can easily fall into the trap of hatred, especially after a fight or disagreement. This, therefore, means that love is a delicate affair that should be handled with a lot of care. In conclusion, love can be physical or supernatural. Every human being and animal exhibits the desire to be loved. In view of Plato’s reading, love can be likened to acceptance of a person into the society. Additionally, love is a beauty in itself that cannot be separated from wisdom and knowledge. The demonstration of love is not difficult. It can be done in simplest forms. Love is the binding factor in the past and present society. It goes beyond the differences that exist in people.