Plato’s Phaedrus and the power of Eros
“Whither are you going, my dear Phaedrus, and from whence came you?” With these words Plato opens a dialogue which might be called his manifesto of philosophy: it draws the reader in to a consideration of the fundamental questions of human life, touching upon all the primary teachings of the Platonic tradition, and showing how intimately bound love and truth are in the philosophic life of the soul. This love is a desiring form of love – the kind ruled over by Eros, and Socrates has much to say about the inspiration which comes from him:
“. . . many then are the beautiful works arising from divine mania, . . . So that we ought not to be afraid of mania; nor should any reason disturb us, which endeavours to evince that we ought to prefer a prudent friend to one who is divinely agitated: for he who asserts this, ought likewise to show, in order to gain the victory, that love was not sent from the Gods for the utility of the lover and his beloved. But, on the contrary, it must now be shown by us that a mania of this kind was sent by the Gods, for the purpose of producing the greatest felicity. The demonstration, indeed, will be to the unworthy incredible, but to the wise, an object of belief. It is necessary, therefore, in the first place, that, beholding the passions and operations of the divine and human soul, we should understand the truth concerning the nature of each.”
We will explore what Plato says in the Phaedrus concerning the soul that is the true self and how the divine impulse and inspiration of Eros underpins the ascent to its starry home.
No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.
Entrance in free, but donations between £3-5 will be welcomed.
A PDF download of the extract we will be reading is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust’s activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the “London Monday Evenings” page.)