The Form of Beauty

‘Now try, she said, ‘to concentrate as hard as you can. Anyone who has been educated this far in the ways of love, viewing beautiful things in the right order and way, will now reach the goal of love’s ways. He will suddenly catch sight of something amazingly beautiful in its nature; this, Socrates, is the ultimate objective of all the previous efforts. First, this beauty always is, and doesn’t come into being or cease; it doesn’t increase or diminish. Second, it’s not beautiful in one respect but ugly in another, or beautiful at one time but not at another, or beautiful in relation to this but ugly in relation to that; nor beautiful here and ugly there because it is beautiful for some people but ugly for others. Nor will beauty appear to him in the form of a face or hands or any part of the body; or as a specific account or piece of knowledge; or as being anywhere in something else, for instance in a living creature or earth or heaven or anything else. It will appear as in itself and by itself, always single in form; all other beautiful things share its character, but do so in such a way that, when other things come to be or cease, it is not increased or decreased in any way nor does it undergo change.’

— Plato, The Symposium (trans. C. Gill)

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One response to “The Form of Beauty

  1. love lifts us to the beatific vision of the forms in their cosmic course…

    “…it has been said that love is a god…”; it has been said that God is love. these are, perhaps, the same?

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