The Art of Love and Love-Making

(Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen, Wikimedia Commons

Plato: Hail Socrates, master and friend. How goes it? Why do you avoid me so?

Socrates: Brother, Plato! I am afraid that you will hold me much longer. I am in a hurry… to tell the truth someone is waiting for me.

Plato: Ah, I see. Is this a meeting where you will discuss beauty and justice; or if, as I intuit more clearly now by the sweat on your brow, where you will do the dance of ages gone by and to come.

Socrates: Your philosophy has morphed into an accurate science. Yes I am going to fuck someone.

Plato: (high fives all round) Nice. Good. Just. But my friend if you stay here I promise to reveal all the secrets of love — the eternal truths as well as the temporal.

Socrates: Don’t you threaten me with philosophy. I’ll just send a δοῦλος (slave) to tell her that our sweet music-making will have to wait. We will have to bang the bongos another night.

Plato: Now let us begin my brother. Is Love an Art or a Science? By the former, we mean to say that love is concerned with particular knowledge and by the latter with universal knowledge.

Socrates: I think it is an art. No two women, or men for that matter, are the same. Love must be concerned with the love of an individual, and that very individuated way of expressing itself. As many as the grains of sand on earth, are there ways of love. This woman loves a man because he is unlike her father. That woman loves a man because he is like her father. This man loves a man because of his intellect. This man loves a woman because she is sexy, and his conception of sexy is the large curvature of her body. This other man loves a woman because she is sexy, and his conception of sexy is the small waist of her body. Do you see what I mean Plato? There are endless, innumerable differences in the way people love, therefore love must be an art.

Plato: Let me combat some of your assertions. Art is merely mimetic, it copies and hence it is unreflexive. Science, as the latin word scientia means, knows. And what is knowledge other than knowing the cause of things. It cannot concern the manifested effects of something for then we would have to say that any animal, and any human, is a perfect scientist from the beginning of pre-history until now. To know flint sparked causes a fire is the science, and not the seeing of the fire. Just so it must be with love. All the examples you have given are manifested results of love, but not the causes.

Let me ask you a question:

When a man loves another man for his virtue, what is the cause behind this loving.

Socrates: The loving man must serve his own interests, and hence he sees something he wants. He sees that the other man is good, that is he values the other man for something that the other man possesses. He wants this either in the form of the other person, or to assimilate this virtue into his nature.

Plato: You are on the right track. Perhaps we need a little more preparatory philosophy to explain more fully the cause of love. A person is the summation of his thoughts. These thoughts are transposed into the world through action. The union between thought and action produces, over time, character. Character is therefore a listing of virtues and vices, either good or bad behaviours. When two people are brought together by the gods or fate or chance, these two sum each other up, their virtues weighed against their virtues and their vices weighed against their vices. Love is nothing more than the correct proportion of virtues and vices to each other.

I would now like to analyse the elements of love and their interactions: virtues and vices. Virtue is always attracted to virtue — bravery attracts the brave; sincerity attracts sincerity etc. Virtue and vice may attract or it may repel. Virtue may attract vice, if the vicious wants to change; if not the vicious will be repelled by the virtuous. The vicious know within themselves their deficiency and the virtuous serve to remind them of that inadequacy. Lastly, the vicious may either attract or repel the vicious. People with severe character deficiencies will prefer the company of other non-critical people. These deficiencies may be too large, too severe and cause the company of the wicked to disperse from itself.

Love, we may therefore say, is an attractive force. It brings together people. Matchmaking, whether divine or terrestrial, is a tricky business. And it is not for nothing that God almighty is said to be the continual matchmaker of humankind. Only God knows our personalities and hearts.

Socrates: But Plato, surely you have left out a crucial point. What about the pure physical attraction we note between people? The love which is not based on virtues and vices, but the biological make-up of each person.

Plato: We will require some deeper mysticism here. The principle here is that the inner is the source of the outer. The soul’s beauty whether it has cognized and incorporated eternal truths, determines the true physical beauty of the body. The more truthful, the more beautiful a soul, the more beautiful will the outward manifestation of the body become. If some are born with beautiful bodies, it is because both parents possessed beautiful souls. What the inheritor of a beautiful body does, whether they increase or decrease in beauty is up to them.

Socrates: Many will find this hard to believe Plato.

Plato: It is the truth, no less no more.

Socares: Now good friend let us talk about what the great Shakespeare termed the beast-with-two-backs.

Plato: I am in agreement. Let us talk about the art of sex. In essence, sex revolves around the stimulation of erogenous, or sensitive, zones of the body. That is a minimal physical definition. The spiritual definition is two-fold and contradictory. The soul is pure, innocent, divine — the body its opposite, blemished, guilty, animal. What constitutes sexiness is precisely the contradiction between innocence and guilt, between the purity of love and the ‘sinfulness’ of carnal sex. Remember that formulation innocence and guilt — this is why it is sexy to (1) become sexual in public places, (2) dress as irreverent or even heretical things like nuns and priests, (3) break taboos like between teacher and student, or as a famous modern saying puts it — “What are you doing, step-brother?”.

Sexiness concerns the interaction between the Divine Masculine Image and the Divine Feminine Image. The Masculine concerns strength, power, authority, domination. The Feminine concerns weakness, powerlessness, obedience, submission. I stress that I do not place a normative value on either on of these Images, that is, neither the Masculine or Feminine are better — they are complementary. Moreover, these Images, or as I would call them Forms, do not strictly correlate to sex. As it is well known, there are tops and bottoms in gay relationships — the tops would correspond to the Masculine and the bottom the Feminine. Similarly, even in heterosexual relationships you have the existence of dominatrixes, the female dominator, or a woman in the Form of the Masculine.

Socrates: These are indeed wise words.

Plato: I now wish you luck Socrates on your next adventure. Whether it be love or sex or both which come your way, farewell my friend. Let us end on a poem to the gods:

Fair, fairest lady where do you go?

Come back, come back dearest doe

Let us bang a rowdy show

Afterwards we can lay low

Tonight we have fun!

Tonight I’ll kiss the sun

And your back, and your neck

Over every inch of you I’ll trek

That face, and that hair

Oh my god, you’re not fair

Beauty immortal and sincere

I’ll leave my kids, and career

O! And a mind like plum

Your words over each other run

Yes, your silence is bliss

Please don’t talk, I get the gist

No, no, sweet thing don’t leave

I’ll miss you more than I did Steve

Don’t forget your phone and your ring

I’m sorry about the bruise’s sting

Alas I have come,

To the end, my friend

Have good heart and cheer

Sex and Love live on my dear

Writer, poet, philosopher