Thursday, May 04, 2006

Neoplatonic Love

"Love was the basis of Neoplatonism. Plato's Symposium argued that love was the active force which bound everything together; Ficino argued that love was "only another name for that self-reverting current from God to the world and from the world to God" (Panofsky 141). Love had motivated God to "spread himself" into the world, and love motivates men to return to him. Love's ultimate goal is reaching God, who manifests himself in beauty."

- Deborah Vess

"Ficino developed a concept he called Platonic love, which had far-reaching consequences in the history of love and social reality in the European tradition. While Ficino believed that the human soul pursued contemplation more or less in isolation, he acknowledged that human beings were fundamentally social. When the spiritual relationship between God and the individual, sought through contemplation, is reproduced in a friendship or love with another person, that constitutes for Ficino spiritual or Platonic love. In other words, when the love and spiritual activity in a friendship mirrors the love for God, then the two individuals have attained the highest type of friendship that they can. Ficino did not condemn sexuality or erotics nor deny that Platonic love was only possible outside sexual relations; his only concern was the nature of the spiritual bond between two people."

- Richard Hooker

"[Shakespeare] A man of the Renaissance influenced by the Neoplatonic ideal of love, he is referring to the basic eternal principle of love that is structured into the world, and underlies everything else -- friendship, love between man and woman, love of children. We yearn for this eternal, unchanging love. It alone defeats death and the vagaries of time."

- Rochelle Furstenberg

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