In the spring and in the autumn there are three meditation evenings in Zeist, the theme is chosen for a series of three together. This spring the theme was: Love. The love as seen by Plato, the love as seen by Paul and Dionysius Areopagita and the love in our time.
During the preparation, the theme immediately revealed itself as inexpressible. Love is the meaning of the earth's development... Who could put that into words. Who could find exercises in love? How should you give an understanding of love? The apostle and evangelist John says: "Children, love one other! But what does that mean?
I have consulted great wise men, first Plato. I began each time with the well-known lines of Paul, from the first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13.
‚If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Then I gave a summary of the Symposium of Plato. A number of Athenians speak about Eros. Each one hears a well-structured vision of Eros in the physical body, in life, in the soul... finally Socrates speaks and does not give his own vision, but that of the wise visionary Diotima. Finally, an uninvited guest comes in after the explanations, who through his stories about and accusations against Socrates gives a picture of how Socrates himself in relation to Eros.
More about this next week...
Eros by Mieke Mosmuller