The term love has been used in its broadest sense, but, used to refer to individuals who posses tender feelings for the others, and would not want any harm befalling their loved ones. Thus, love being a virtue it is interesting if it can inspire positive action in people possessing it. Phaedrus in Plato’s symposium holds that love deserves more recognition as a god that has significant influence on the course of our lives. He places love in the position of a deity, as old as the earth itself.
On the ability of love to inspire positive action, Phaedrus creates a link between love and honor. A lover may not wish their beloved to see them in a dishonorable position, and the reverse is true. Thus, Phaedrus reasoned, if lovers were to be placed in the same workstation, no loved one would risk acting dishonorably, rest their saw them in such a position. Love, therefore, can inspire virtuous action.
While love can inspire virtuous action, and is universally acclaimed as a great god, there raises the question is love a god, and are his actions divine. For the virtue of love, there has been a temptation to classify love as a great god. However, according to Diotima, Socrates’ instructor on love, love is neither mortal nor divine; therefore it cannot be a god. Love according to her interpretation is a cross between mortality and divinity; it is a great spirit. In this role as a spirit, love plays the part of a messenger between the mortals and the gods, delivering the will of the gods to men, and delivering the wishes of the mortals to the gods. Moreover, while love, therefore, cannot be a god, Diotima explains of the want that lends love attributes that alienate it from the divine, for the divine are without want. Love desires all that is good; thus, it is not divine since the gods or the divine are already happy in the possession of all they desire. Therefore, love is not a god, nor is it mortal; it plays a median role as spirits since it seeks the immortal good. In this explanation, Diotima explains that men show love in desire at achieving immortality, not in themselves, but in their actions. In their act of seeking a partner, they seek to procreate so that in their offspring, they may go on living. Further, in doing actions such as the example given of Achilles, they do not do them out of the love of their partners, but in the hope of the immortality of their actions through the generations.
‘Love is the love of beauty and not of deformity,' this is a maxim raised in the essay by Socrates. Human beings desire, love what they do not current possess, and if they love what they currently have, they desire for its continuity. These notions expose human beings as continually driven by love, in one way or the other, of actions that would better their standing in days to come. Thus, love, in the conventional understanding of the word, is inspired by the need for procreation, the need for future generations to hold memory of their predecessor in pursuit of some of immortality. However, and while guided by love, human beings are at times in no position to predetermine the outcome of their desires. While the intent of love may attain the good that one is currently deprived, chance may offer returns that were not expected. For instance, a union of two lovers intended to begot normal and vigorous children may lead to the birth of handicapped children. Love is of the good and not of the deformed. In such instances, taking care of such a child in the best environment is the best decision in the circumstances. While love did not beget the good as expected, it leads to the reaction under the circumstances that lead to immortal virtue. Love in this instance, has degrees, and is not rigid in what it desires, but rather fashions circumstances around it, in a way, that suits it best.
Plato. "The Internet Classics Archive | Symposium by Plato." The Internet Classics Archive: 441 searchable works of classical literature. M.I.T, 360. Web. 8 June 2014.