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Zer Netmouse
October 16th, 2002
05:37 pm

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"Affection at its best can say whatever Affection at its best wishes to say ... the better the Affection the more unerringly it knows which these are (every love has its art of love)."

(from the afore-quoted section of Lewis' The Four Loves)

It seems to me that this section is getting into the sense of the water brotherly affection in Stranger in a Strange Land - the ideal that a water brother can ask any other water brother for anything, and the request will be honored, because ( in part), the request will never be unreasonable, when the nature of the relationship is truly understood and the level of Affection is at its purest.

In actuallity, to master the art of love to the point where you will never say something that inadvertently wounds is like a Platonic Ideal - unreachable. If we were telepathic... maybe. And I find in my relationship with Bill that I have to watch out for the mental path of "If he loved me enough he would know me well enough not to have said that in that way at this time." -- our knowledge of one another will get better over time, and we are both aiming for this kind of knowledge, but (especially since we as people change over time) our knowledge of one another will never be complete. And in many ways, it continues to be the things about Bill that surprise me that delight me the most, and things that he does delight me that even I (who presumably know myself well) could not have suggested he do.

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From:yuggoth
Date:October 16th, 2002 08:47 pm (UTC)

Being nitpicky

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> In actuallity, to master the art of love to the point where you will never say
> something that inadvertently wounds is like a Platonic Ideal - unreachable.
Nope, that's not a Platonic Ideal.

> our knowledge of one another will get better over time, and we are both aiming for this
> kind of knowledge, but (especially since we as people change over time) our knowledge
> of one another will never be complete.
THIS is a Platonic ideal, if you're talking about the real Plato and not the nonsensical, inaccurate version asserted by the Cambridge Platonists (so-called "Orthodox Philosophers") and taken by the public to be the "real" Plato.
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From:netmouse
Date:October 17th, 2002 06:37 am (UTC)

Re: Being nitpicky

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> our knowledge of one another will get better over time, and we are both aiming for this
> kind of knowledge, but (especially since we as people change over time) our knowledge
> of one another will never be complete.
THIS is a Platonic ideal, if you're talking about the real Plato and not the nonsensical, inaccurate version asserted by the Cambridge Platonists (so-called "Orthodox Philosophers") and taken by the public to be the "real" Plato.

What are you pointing to when you say "THIS is a platonic ideal"? The fact that knowledge of one another will never be complete? or the goal of knowing each other well?

I have read Plato, and it is from those readings that I take my definition of platonic ideal -granted most of his ideals were discussed as "essences" poorly reflected in the physical world (other than the political ideals he espoused), but that basis of something that does not exist in reality is what I was getting at.

I don't think I've ever read anything by Cambridge Platonists. Can you give an example with more explanation of what you think to be a true platonic ideal, with a counter-example from the Cambridge group, to show the contrast? I'm really quite curious now.
From:yuggoth
Date:October 17th, 2002 09:09 am (UTC)

Re: Being nitpicky

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> What are you pointing to when you say "THIS is a platonic ideal"? The fact that \
> knowledge of one another will never be complete? or the goal of knowing each other well?
Both, though of course Plato wasn't primarily concerned with "knowing one-another" so much, and assuming you are allowing for one-another to be in a constant process of becoming (and thus your knowledge must change over time).

> I have read Plato, and it is from those readings that I take my definition of platonic
> ideal -granted most of his ideals were discussed as "essences" poorly reflected in the > physical world (other than the political ideals he espoused), but that basis of
> something that does not exist in reality is what I was getting at.
This is the Plato asserted by the Cambridge Platonists, and who is taught in intro philosophy courses. Plato has several different concepts of the Forms -- you're probably thinking of the Cave, where Socrates describes the world we live in as a shadow of the World of Being. Try thinking, however, of the forms as mathematical roots, and of the particulars as powers of those roots. The forms are generative, and they are both epistemological and ontological or the world has no true meaning (no "logos") -- the forms do most certainly exist in reality, or otherwise our attempts to organize objects in the phenomenal world would all necessarily lead to false conclusions. Further, to know the world requires not only that we know the forms, but that we also know the particulars generated by those forms as well. Truth is an enhancement of reality, not a representation.

But we haven't yet gotten into why I think you were misled about the Platonic ideal. Knowledge, for Plato, cannot be about a fixed idea, or most of his dialogues (and his dialectic form in general) make no sense. Take the Parmenides, for example. If the One is a fixed, unmoving form, then all you have in that dialogue is a bunch of meaningless paradoxes. The Euthyphro, further, would be a failed attempt to define "piety", rather than a call to the Academy to begin philosophizing in a Platonic way. Platonic knowledge is not about finding "the truth" and proclaiming: "Aha! This here is piety! Go me!" It is about the process of acquiring knowledge, and that is why the world is known as the world of Becom-"ing". If there were a fixed "truth" Plato could just give it to us and not waste all this time showing us how to obtain knowledge, which is really what his dialogues are all about. Everything, for Plato, is in a constant state of process (see the Theaetetus dialogue), and that, I think, describes your relationship as well. As long as you maintain that process and learn new things about one-another through rational dialogue, I believe you have achieved the Platonic ideal.

> I don't think I've ever read anything by Cambridge Platonists. Can you give an example
> with more explanation of what you think to be a true platonic ideal, with a counter-
> example from the Cambridge group, to show the contrast? I'm really quite curious now.
Well, the Cambridge Platonists give explanations of Plato that are rather like what most people learn in their Intro to Philosophy classes, because it's a bit easier to grasp: Plato is searching for absolute truths that exist in a world separate from our own, a world that is "more real" and from which ours derives. The truths are fixed, immutable ideas that one can capture through a proper, scientific method. The Parmenides? Oh, it's a bunch of silly paradoxes and we can't understand them so it must be a big joke. Don't read it.

Hopefully this clears it up a little. If you'd like to hear more I'd be happy to try to explain. I'm giving you a minority perspective on Plato -- most people don't hold these views. But they are the only ones that really make any sense given Plato's technique.
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From:cannibal
Date:October 18th, 2002 08:34 pm (UTC)
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Lewis didn't say (in that sentence at least) that Affection would prevent you from saying something that wounds... good God, I don't think I would ever be able to not say something that wounds no matter how much I loved anyone... I have frequently placed the loved other far above my self, but still, Affection isn't the only thing that ever talks, sometimes it's Hunger, or Silliness, or... I don't know, what do you call it when you say something that hurts the other person because you're very interested in every aspect of the other's life, and want to help, so you try to analyse and solve her problems? I think you're guaranteed to get hurt that way occaisionally if you insist on dating any man... oh wait, you actually Married Bill, so you're lucky, at least... I mean, he is way, way, way more thoughtful, gentle, and less likely to say hurtful stuff than someone like me, who has been accused of having less tact than Sharon. Hmph.
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