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Notes on Love

George Santayana is famously quoted as saying: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

And as you often find with quotes (and history in general) there has been some editing, and the full content forgotten.

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

These notes were made for the sake of retentiveness, so that I can have within easy grasp the notes I deemed important enough to put here.

After all, they say repetition enhances learning.

Notes on Love

“In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”

Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

Notes from: “The Symposium” #3

“If there was any mechanism for producing a city or army consisting of lovers and boyfriends, there could be no better form of social organisation than this: they would hold back from anything disgraceful and compete for honour in each other’s eyes. If even a small numbers of such men fought side by side, they could defeat virtually the whole human race. The last person a lover could bear to be seen by, when leaving his place in the battle-line or abandoning his weapons, is his boyfriend; instead, he’d prefer to die many times. As for abandoning his boyfriend or failing to help him in danger – no one is such a coward that he could not be inspired into courage by love and made the equal of someone who’s naturally very brave. When Homer speaks about a god “breathing might” into some of his heroes, this is just the effect love has on lovers.”

And there you have the foundations for basically every army that ever was. Building bonds of brotherhood and camaraderie in the troops is an essential part of any training, as is accountability and thinking/acting as a unit. The destruction of self for mutual benefit.

Notes from: “The Symposium” #13

“Love’s function is giving birth in beauty both in body and in mind.”

Notes from: “The Symposium” #12

“To sum up then,” she said, “love is the desire to have the good forever.”

Notes from: “The Symposium” #11

“The idea has been put forward”, she said, “that lovers are people who are looking for their own halves. But my view is that love is directed neither at their half nor their whole unless, my friend, that turns out to be good. After all, people are even prepared to have their own feet or hands amputated if they think that those parts of themselves are diseased. I don’t think that each of us is attached to his own characteristics, unless you’re going to describe the good as ‘his own’ and as ‘what belongs to him’, and the bad as ‘what does not belong to him’. The point is that the only object of people’s love is the good – don’t you agree?"

Notes from: “The Symposium” #8

“But what I’m saying applies to all men and women too: our human race can only achieve happiness if love reaches its conclusion, and each of us finds his loved one and restores his original nature. If this is the ideal, under present circumstance what comes closest to it must be the best: that is to find a loved one who naturally fits your own character.”

Notes from: “The Symposium” #4

“Besides, it’s only lovers who are willing to die for someone else; and this is true of women as well as men. The Greeks have adequate proof of this fact in Pelias’ daughter Alcestis, who was the only one willing to die for her husband, though his father and mother were still living. Acting out of love, she showed so much more affectionate concern than they did that she made them look like strangers to their son, and relatives only in name. The gods, as well as human beings, saw this as a very fine act. Although many people have performed many fine acts, and although the gods have granted to only a handful of these the privilege of releasing their life again from Hades, they released her life, in admiration at her act. This shows how much even the gods value the commitment and courage that came from love.”

Notes on: “The Philosophy of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles” #1

“So love as a whole has great and might – or rather total – power, when you put all this together. But it is the Love whose nature is expressed in good actions, marked by self-control and justice, at the human and divine level that has the greatest power and is the source of all our happiness. It enables us to associate, and be friends, with each other and with the gods, our superiors.”

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