In Plato’s text, Symposium, the writer quickly gives out that erotic love constitutes a practical as well as universally available experience of transcendence. In the philosophical premise of the author to love is to be carried outside, to the metaphysical realms which are above and beyond self. Dalby Andrew (2006) states that the writer presents the erotic love practical experience as a life enhancing exaltation with the capacity of producing fruits of courage, self sacrifice and creativity. Anyone love touches becomes a poet. Love must and indeed excels in any kind of artistic creation. In the foregoing representation the lover is to be perceived as inspired or possessed by some force where-in respect he gets closer than the beloved to being divine and loving instead of being loved is blessed and more exalting. All the characters in Plato’s symposium are determined to present their praise in speeches for Eros. The import of what each speaker contributes in the symposium is directed to the salient theme of love, which is of course levered on other parallel thematic concerns such as beauty and desire, as either a god or just as a force on which human relationships are based, or even both. These are authorial component which make up the framework where in lies the core of the transcendence thrust in Plato's Symposium. An integrated outline of Plato's philosophy articulated in Symposium enlists that desire is presented as an appetitive and craving force that actualizes at different ‘being’ levels including mind and spiritual. On the other end love is the presented as a composite and complex force defining human relationships. These two coalesce to make possible the experience of transcendence which in Plato’s philosophy can be summed up as the transmissions of the soul from the components of love as well as desire in pursuit of a more profound and holistic sense of being.
The explorative presentation of the theme of Eros illuminates a vital experience in a metaphysical ideals advanced by Plato. Beauty and desire are upheld as inalienable components to important human experience of transcendence which is critical for self-cognisance. Agathon expounds on the noble expressions and beneficent effects of human love in volumes which seem to be culminating from St. Paul famous hymn on charity in the first epistle to the Corinthians in (1 Cor. 13: 1-23).
“If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a tinkling symbol. And if I have prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I dole out all my goods, and if I deliver my body that I may boast but have not love, nothing I am profited. Love is long suffering, love is kind, it is not jealous, love does not boast, it is not inflated. …”
Agathon presents that it is love who empties us of the spirit of rupture and fills us with the spirit of kinship, “… whose gift if the gift of good-will and never ill-will. He is easily entreated and of great kindness, loveliest and best of all leaders of song, whom it behooves every man to follow singing his praise and bearing his part in that melody wherewith he casts a spell over the minds of all gods and all men” (Dalby, Andrew 2006)
The other participant in the Symposium Pausanias who is the legal expert dwells much on the ills of the inordinate love which had singled out by various authors and philosophers as amour-passion (Dalby Andrew 2006). Pausanias states that this is similar to epidemics as well as cosmic disorders. Love as the creator of the highest artistic and moral virtues but also carrying the greatest inherent risks it is therefore largely a significant and critical human component.
In Plato's Symposium all speakers seem to concur that sexual desire seeks what is more than mere sensual gratification and the understanding that love is more than a purely animal appetite. The overcutting perception is that even the intense delight goes beyond mere physical enjoyment. What comes out is that the longing is an ever present force which is continually questing as well as fusional. The philosophy leverages on the notion and hope that the lover should melt into his beloved such that the two become as one. (Worthen, Thomas 1999) Hephaestus for instance has, “bound together the lovers such that, instead of two, you shall be one flesh and such that as long as you live you shall live a common life and when you die you shall die a common death. Lilar, Suzanne, (1967) states that what remains is for Plato to account for its complex nature as well as range and to suppose its transcendent potentially ethically as a good pursued in the name of enlightened and rationally discerning self interest.
The foregoing is reinforced by a further biblical allusion when Hephaestus states that love indeed gives us a certain hope that if humans conduct themselves well in the sight of heaven, there will be a blessing bestowed upon those who will be restored to the initial former state. Blondell Ruby et al (2007) note that, “… The transcendent dimension in Symposium is elucidated in the pervading common perception of the interlocutors of the symposium. The transcendent dynamic of Eros contains what all romantic lovers ever declare, namely intimations of immortality."
Among other salient themes in Plato’s Symposium work such as love, nature and friendship the themes of immortality running in tandem with the theme of death constitute the significant thematic thrust that dominates his work. Plato’s text is filled with the writer's zeal and strong self will in the quest to come to terms and grasp the essence of aspects of desire and beauty in the quest for the critical experience of transcendence. In his work Plato has made beauty one of the salient themes in his work and that is traceable to the fact that the place and time setting had a significant impact on his text. The writer was sensitive to some critical realty which had evading impact on his society and himself as an individual. Twain Mark (2007) notes the theme of immortality has been born from the writers’ sensitivity to the omnipresence of death in his time and place setting. Plato sustains as theme of beauty and desire in his text as a personal and private antidote of immortality in the transcendence experience against the gripping ordeals of death.
The attachment of Plato to the eternal and supernatural beyond the confines of time and death is traceable to the author’s inner experiences and travails. Twain Mark (2007) concurs that Plato’s inner travails and toils often left her awed by the concealed rapture of life. The salient thrust of immortality in Plato’s work also culminates from his profound inner revelations. Sri Chinmoy cited in Twain Mark (2007) asserts that it is as if Plato doubted his own impressions of life beyond the mundane and hence the brings the critical aspects of transcendence as an alternative route over the mundane.
Plato’s Symposium is saddled with profound paradoxes and some inherent contradiction in philosophy and internal experiences the authors’ authorial prowess and philosophical inclination can not be gainsaid. Ted Hughes (1998) notes that Symposium is a philosophical text laced with powerful variations of deep feeling and profound opinionation. Through the participants of the Symposium Plato keeps making regular allusions to regularly alludes to nature as well as the supernatural and this is likely influenced by his profound connections with his innermost experiences. In the salient inner paradox which is illuminant in her work Plato is skillful with his parlance as he progresses effortlessly through the cadences of the transcendence experience achieved and carved through the fruition of desire and beauty.
Plato’s apparent vacillations and fluctuations as noted from the some concurrent and some dissonant contributions from the participants of the symposium depict variations in intent as well as belief which play a critical literary role in creating sharp contrasts within the philosophy. To some interpretations the symposium if left philosophically open ended to let the reader formulate his own private interpretation which was the goal of the Plato who believed strongly in the private interpretation of his work despite his strong ties with his fundamentals. Ted Hughes (1998) holds that Plato, like many other great thinkers and Philosophers such as Sigmund Freud view humans as love and desire driven creatures. According to the scholar this is the quest that has made Symposium a theory of love and that of desire. Ted Hughes (1998) holds that Plato has articulated through his Symposium the view that humans are appetitively in the quest of that which will bring fulfillment and satisfy the holistic set of needs, physical and abstract yearnings including the satisfaction of those desires and longings whose fulfillment will bring about happiness.
One notable point is the stress of the spirituality dimension identifiable in Plato’s philosophy of life as presented in symposium. Although Plato does not present a an acute spiritual dimension as does other contemporary philosophers such he stresses the importance of deeply entrenched values of human conduct which surpass the aura of mere appearances, the values that tap from ones’ spirituality. Plato stresses that ethical conduct and indeed holistic ethical living culminates from an individual’s deep core of morality. From Plato’s philosophy the experience of transcendence is a reserve for the spiritually developed people who are not merely religious but are capable of perceiving the depth of meaning and significance below the surface appearance of love and beauty ion the relationships with people around them.
Plato presents a significant thrust on the aspects of morality. He underscores the essence of the aspect love as a key quality and inalienable variable which comes down to appropriate personal development and humane dealings with others. Plato stresses that all human conduct must come of morally sound actions, which should sterm from morally upright character with deep enough genuineness to govern all human conduct. Symposium presents exemplifications of what Plato conceives as beauty and desire as well as love through the interactions in the Symposium. Thorough the reinforcement of the themes of desire, beauty and love in the conceptions of Plato the architect of the Symposium, the ways in which humans conceive what desire, love and beauty are is upheld by the philosopher as critical in the role and functionalities of humans in the defined order of things. By extension the comprehension of the import and essence of what desire and beauty is the bait for the ushering in of the humans experience into a form of transcendence beyond the surface appreciation of those aspects critical to fulfillment life