“Platonic love” is a problematic term.

The Thinking Aro

I do my best, these days, to avoid using it. Let me tell you why.

First of all, the original meaning of “platonic love” comes from Plato’s The Symposium, where the ideal kind of love was described as a kind redirecting the lover’s focus from the beloved (and sex with the beloved) to “the divine” or “philosophy,” basically to an interaction of the mind or some outside pursuit of knowledge. Plato (and Socrates) did not mean to exclude sexuality altogether from this ideal. They condemned the kind of erotic love that keeps two people obsessed with sex and each other’s body, to the point of neglecting those higher ideas, pursuits, etc, but they did not quite say that the ideal love is totally nonsexual.

The contemporary use of the term “platonic love” is obviously an inaccurate one. It is not true to Plato’s philosophy. In English, we understand “platonic…

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