The Solonian legacy in Socrates.
But before he is dead, wait, and do not yet call him happy, but fortunate.
What does the history of philosophy look like from the perspective of psychoanalysis? In the present essay, I propose to consider a specific moment in the history of philosophy, namely, the intervention of eros in the historical transition from Herodotean inquiry to Platonic philosophy. If psychoanalysis makes a difference as to how we understand the history of philosophy, what can it tell us about the significance of eros for the tradition of philosophy initiated by Socrates?
In asking this question, my aim is twofold. First, I want to demonstrate that a psychoanalytic approach to the history of philosophy not only is plausible, but that by virtue of its insight into the wishes and fantasies that motivate human behavior, it can help us to understand how eros intervenes to motivate the Platonic account of the Socratic unity of happiness and philosophy. Where the historical significance of this account is at stake, we shall have to investigate both the prehistory of the Socratic tradition and its major connection to a Platonic account of the eros for philosophy. Hence my second aim: to demonstrate the central importance of Plato's Symposium in this psycho-historical drama. My argument is not simply that the Symposium is amenable to psychoanalytic interpretation, as readers like Jacques Lacan (1991 ) and Jonathan Lear (1999) have already demonstrated. (2) Rather, my argument is that psychoanalysis offers a powerful vocabulary for understanding the genesis of philosophical eros, and that the Symposium is likewise a key resource for illuminating the prehistory of Socratic philosophy precisely because its account of the eros for philosophy is traceable to the Herodotean inquiry concerning Solon's role in an ancient quarrel about the meaning of happiness. My argument, in short, is that the eros for philosophy has its source in an all too human dynamic of seduction, and that the psychoanalytic theory of seduction is uniquely capable of elaborating the account of philosophical seduction in the Symposium--precisely because the psychoanalytic and Platonic accounts share the same fundamental structure.
To be clear: I am not arguing that either Solon or Herodotus is the sole antecedent to the Socratic tradition, nor that one cannot find older or more diverse sources for the constellation of themes that link Herodotus to Plato through what I shall call the Solonian legacy in Socrates. Rather, my argument is concerned to show that a certain collection of themes converge in the figure of Solon, and that by virtue of their transformation in the Symposium, it is possible to consider both Plato's indebtedness to the Solonian teaching, as well as the specific terms of his divergence. For introductory purposes, I cite four fundamental themes that define the appearance of Solon's legacy. (3)
1. A tension between olbos and eudaimonia in the text of Herodotus, and a related connection between happiness and seeing the whole, which anticipates the valorization of eudaimonia as the highest expression of philosophy in Plato.
2. A transformation in the relation between happiness and death from Solon to Socrates. Whereas Solon commands us to call no one happy until dead, the practice of dying or being dead is itself the expression of happiness for Plato's Socrates.
3. A consideration of jealousy as an impediment to happiness. Whereas the jealousy of the gods points, for Solon, to the fluctuations of fortune that ruin human happiness, in the Socratic teaching human happiness requires a special kind of endurance with respect to those same dire elements. Coupled with the teaching of Diotima, this endurance will define human happiness in terms of friendship with the gods.
4. A reference to Solon's famous injunction to continue learning even while growing older. While this statement does not appear directly in the Symposium, the exact inverse of this teaching is spoken by Alcibiades in reference to the symptom of his resistance, both to Socrates and to the eros for philosophy.
Provided these four themes, the present study is divided into six stepwise sections that lead from the meeting between Solon and Croesus in Herodotus's Histories to a study of the speeches of Socrates and Alcibiades in the Symposium. By the analysis of several linguistic and dramatic features of the Symposium, and with reference to select passages from the Platonic corpus, I argue that the speeches of Socrates and Alcibiades concerning the erotic character of philosophy can be read as an express response to Solon's concern for the status of chance or fortune as an impediment to human happiness. Concisely stated, the erotic ascent to philosophy involves a unique endurance with respect to the seductive character of the question of happiness, which intervenes as an aleatory element that is itself at the very source of the eros for philosophy.
It is often said that the dialogue form is meant to raise the potential philosopher into philosophy. As I will demonstrate, this is a primary aim of the Symposium: to perpetrate a seduction of the potential philosopher, while at the same time warning against the dangerous effects of the eros for philosophy. In a single essay, I can hope only to address the most salient features of the Symposium that bear on my thesis, but if I am correct in seeing, first, a Solonian legacy in Socrates and, second, a link between this legacy and the seductive power of the Symposium, we will have made significant strides toward understanding the genesis of philosophical eros and its significance for the Socratic unity of happiness and philosophy.
I. Scenes of Seduction
For all of the Symposium's popularity, insufficient attention has been paid to its account of seduction in the erotic ascent to philosophy. (4) This is surprising because Eros is born of seduction in Diotima's myth of Poros and Penia, and because the dialogue's drama is at its height when it is dealing with Alcibiades' attempted seduction of Socrates and the fallout of Socrates' counter-seduction of Alcibiades. To these three instances, I also include the dialogue's intended seduction of the potential philosopher, and a supporting argument that the rhetorical structure of the dialogue is designed to reproduce in the reader the action of seduction that dares to raise the potential philosopher into philosophy. Together this makes four scenes of seduction, each of which bears on the others.
Let us now consider how psychoanalysis can illuminate the theme of seduction in the Symposium. Beginning with the 1895 "Project for a Scientific Psychology," the theory of seduction emerged as part of Sigmund Freud's effort to trace the genesis of a hysterical phobia to a forgotten scene of childhood sexual trauma. As discussed in the case of Emma, known for her phobia of entering into shops alone, what Freud discovered was ultimately a temporal model of psychic causality, which explained how the hysterical symptom could be linked to the forgotten trauma by the action of Nachtraglichkeit (apres coup, afterwardsness, deferred action). As Freud (1950 , 356) put it, "A memory is repressed which has only become a trauma by deferred action." In other words, there is a latency period after which a second scene retroactively evokes the initial trauma, with the result that the symptom appears as a "mnemic symbol" of the original scene (Freud 1896, 193). By 1897, however, Freud had abandoned this theory after realizing that some of his patients were reporting, not actual events of sexual trauma, but fantasies of seduction expressing Oedipal wishes. The turn of 1897, therefore, marked Freud's abandonment of the presumption of actual seduction, which he would replace with a theory of human sexual development and its organization by the universality of the Oedipus complex. This shift also marginalized the primacy of the adult Other in Freud's account of the psychosexual development of the individual; and it is for this reason that I now turn to the French psychoanalyst Jean Laplanche, whose signature contribution has been to put the discourse of the Other at the foundation of an effort to explain not only a variety of pathological formations, but also the genesis of the human psyche.
Put into context, the classical paradigm consists in what Laplanche has called "la situation originaire" (Macey: the primal situation) or "la situation anthropologique fondamentale" (Fletcher: the fundamental anthropological situation)--that is, the situation in which an infant in the etymological sense of the term (in-fans or 'speechless') is confronted with an adult world consisting of messages it cannot understand (1987, 90 [trans. 1989, 89-90]; 2007a, 95 [trans. 2011, 99]). What results, then, is the action of "primal seduction," which describes how the attentions of the adult are seductive precisely because they convey verbal, nonverbal, or behavioral messages that are enigmatic and loaded with unconscious residues obtained from the adult's own experience of nurture and development. (5) For Laplanche, it is the failure to translate these messages into something meaningful which constitutes both primal repression and the restless, "driven" domain of the unconscious.
Crucial here is also what Laplanche calls the temporality of translation, which consists in at least two moments, each of which corresponds to the temporal scheme of Nachtraglichkeit. In the first moment, the message is received or implanted without being understood; in the second, the effort at translation is reactivated by some fateful circumstance, meaning that the original gains sense only by the effort to understand it retroactively through another. This, of course, would be the ideal. But because the message is enigmatic and indeed unconscious, the translation can be nothing but partial, if not doomed to fail. In effect, the second moment reactivates the message, which, in its total strangeness, attacks the psyche from within. As Laplanche (2007, 200 [trans. 2011, 208]) writes, "It acts like an internal foreign body that must, at all costs, be integrated, mastered."
In the Symposium, what requires to be mastered is the Solonian legacy in Socrates. From the Latin verb legare, meaning 'bequeath' but also 'to send as a messenger,' a legacy is a message carried forth into history. In the present case, I propose to show how Solon's legacy operates through the figure of Socrates much like an enigmatic message, which has the power to seduce the potential philosopher into philosophy, but only while risking a dangerous element of psychical disruption. The psychoanalytic theory of seduction will therefore prove useful not only for tracing the historical transition from Herodotean inquiry to Platonic philosophy, but also for elaborating a link between the genesis of philosophical eros, on the one hand, and the Symposium's four scenes of seduction, on the other.
Looking forward: I argue that the Solonian legacy in Socrates evokes the trauma of eros split through the temporal scheme of Nachtraglichkeit, and moreover that this split is revealed through careful examination of the dramatic structure of the dialogue, which is organized by a rhetorical tension between surface and depth which accords with the structure of Socrates' hubris and a parallel tension between Apollo and Dionysus. Each of the dialogue's four scenes of seduction has an important part to play in constructing this narrative, although the case of Alcibiades proves paradigmatic as his failure to master Solon's enigmatic legacy results in his spiritual destruction. Since Solon's legacy is rooted in a question concerning the meaning and possibility of human happiness, this argument also shows how the question of happiness operates in the Symposium as the founding question of Socratic philosophy. In the final analysis, as we will see, philosophical seduction involves a kind of "leading astray" (exapate) that necessarily complicates the typical gloss on Plato's dialogues, that is, the thesis that they point in a straightforward way to a defense of Socrates and the erotic unity of happiness and philosophy. (6)
II. Solon, before Socrates
To begin, let us recall the saying attributed to Pindar and quoted by Herodotus that "custom is king of all men" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 3.38). (7) In the absence of either philosophy or what Herodotus called "exposition by inquiry" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 1.1), there is no challenging the customs of the day, and customs are as many as there are kings. Conformity to custom is therefore a popular teaching for a popular audience and, accordingly, is just as much a source of war as it is of peace: "For if it were proposed to all nations to choose which seemed best of all customs, each, after examination, would place its own first; so well is each persuaded that its own are by far the best" (3.38).
These passages are striking for the fact that in Herodotus the question of happiness intervenes from within the obedience typically demanded by custom. I refer here to the story of Solon, the great Athenian wise man and lawgiver, and his visit to Croesus, the Lydian king, as recounted in Book 1 of the Histories. After having given laws to the Athenians, Solon set out for ten years in order to see the world--his absence designed to block repeal of the laws that he alone possessed the authority to revoke. Solon is thus one who wanders in order to see (theorein), in anticipation of what will become a technical term for Aristotle, and his character as a theoretical man signals his freedom from the laws that he himself invoked (1.29).
Solon's visit to Croesus may be viewed, on the surface, as an encounter between two lawgivers (nomothetai). But in the sense implied by Pindar's verse, the confrontation of nomoi carries the promise of peace just as much as the threat of war. Within this context, Solon's comparable status as a lawgiver permits him to speak directly to Croesus, and Croesus facilitates their conversation by confirming Solon's reputation as a wise man. He praises Solon for both his wisdom (sophia) and his desiring to be wise (philosopheon, 1.30); however, this does not mean that Solon speaks with complete frankness to Croesus. Insofar as prudence is the better part of wisdom, these are the circumstances that introduce the question of happiness.
Briefly told, the wise Solon has arrived at Croesus's court as an Athenian stranger (xenos). After three or four days of enjoying the riches and entertainments of the palace, Croesus then posed to Solon whether in all his travels he had ever seen a happier man (1.30). The word for "happiness" here is olbos, which in the present context conveys the strong sense of material prosperity. Croesus assumes that he is the happiest, and he is put into wonder (thaumazein) upon hearing that Solon has nominated three Greeks above him: Tellus in first place, followed by the brothers Cleobis and Biton in second (1.30). That Solon does not deviate anywhere from the language given to him by Croesus shows his prudence in speaking to the King. But in his answer, he subtly shifts the meaning of olbos in order to redefine the meaning of happiness, not in terms of "present goods" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], but instead in terms of looking "to the end in all things" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1-33). The name of Tellus is therefore significant. It recalls the Greek noun telos, in the sense of the 'end,' and it implies not only that Tellus ended his life well, but that happiness has a temporal dimension: it does not consist or consist simply in wielding power or accumulating wealth; rather, it involves looking to the future with concern for chance (sumphore) or fortune (tukhe) (1.32).
More concretely, Tellus lived in the flourishing (eu hekouses) city of Athens. He was the father of noble sons and grandsons, was moderately wealthy, and had "a most magnificent end of life" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. He died in battle defending Athens from its enemies, and for his service he was given a public burial of great honor (1.30). In effect, Tellus is celebrated as an ideal citizen who lived in complete accordance with the Athenian nomoi. In point of fact, he was in no way a theoretical man. He did not wander in order to look at the world, like both Solon and Herodotus. Instead, he secured his happiness by devoting his life to the public good of a flourishing city; and for his reward he enjoyed a form of public happiness that was entirely foreign to the Lydian king. By invoking the happiness of the citizen, Solon therefore employs the question of happiness as a challenge to the satisfactions of wealth and power; and in fact his wisdom subverts custom by the introjection of wonder.
With Croesus's pride now clearly hurt, his wonder turned sharply into anger (1.30), thus marking the danger of inquiry as a kind of narcissistic injury. Yet Solon would risk even further offense by telling Croesus that it is not he the King, but Cleobis and Biton, whom he ranks second in happiness after Tellus. The two brothers were both prizewinning athletes of moderate wealth from the Greek city of Argos, but due to their youth, their lives were relatively incomplete. After pulling their mother to a religious festival in an oxcart, she prayed that the goddess give her sons "the best thing that can happen to a man." In appreciation of their devotion, the goddess then "showed by these men how it is better to die than to live" (1.31), and so after the festival the two brothers retired to the temple and died in their sleep.
This scene illustrates a guiding theme in Herodotus articulated by Solon: "The whole of man is but chance" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 1.32). Death, for this reason, is better than life because it puts an end to the fluctuations of fortune which Solon attributes at one point to the jealousy of the gods (1.32). Thus, the stories of Tellus and of Cleobis and Biton each demonstrate Solon's wisdom to judge no one happy until dead (1.32). However, the difficulty posed by Solon's teaching is its demand that we see to the end: that we take account of our lives as a whole. Succinctly stated, happiness is concerned with seeing the whole of a life. Yet Herodotus does not say whether this activity will make us happy, and in fact he remains silent concerning Solon's happiness and the life invested in 'seeing' and 'inquiry.' His own teaching consists rather in the Solonian one: "Human happiness [eudaimonien] never remains in the same place" (1.5, 1.32, 1.86, 1.87). In other words, happiness is transitory, unstable, and subject to change according to circumstances beyond human control. I note that the word for 'happiness' used by Herodotus in his own voice is eudaimonia, not olbos. Although eudaimonia here does not yet express the sense of rational excellence that it will have among the philosophers, its etymology carries a spiritual connotation that contrasts directly with the "present goods" of olbos. By an inflection of language, then, Herodotus invokes the Solonian teaching that happiness is not concerned with temporary possessions as much as it is with a form of prosperity that can be seen only by looking to the end in all things. The trick, of course, is to do this before one dies, as Aristotle will later argue. But in advance of this modification, Herodotus ventures to separate olbos from eudaimonia in such a way that calls our attention to a rank ordering of the kinds of happiness, where the immediate gratifications of wealth and power are supplanted by the importance of looking to the end for the sake of whole (the whole life of the individual viewed from the whole of humanity "as but chance"). (8)
III. The Intervention of Eros
From these observations, the turn from olbos to eudaimonia appears as a defining moment in the historical transition from Herodotean inquiry to Platonic philosophy. I now wish to show how this transition is actualized by the intervention of eros in the Socratic discourse on eudaimonia. In Phaedrus 265a, Socrates says that the fundamental experience of the lover is a kind of madness that involves the complete rejection and "divine release" from the laws of custom. (9) Philosophy, understood as the love of wisdom, must therefore hold in contempt even the decent customs in which one has formerly taken pride, the result being necessarily a conflict between eros and nomos, love and custom. What distinguishes philosophy from inquiry however, is not contempt for custom, for they are both in a way free from custom's authority. Rather, what distinguishes philosophy from inquiry is the intervention of eros. Whereas inquiry, in its concern for happiness, requires that we look to the end of a life in order to view it as a whole, philosophy will understand the whole as a fundamental problem, and indeed, a fundamentally erotic problem.
Let me address this point with a comment on the relation in Plato between happiness and philosophy. I cite first the etymological analogy between the daimon of eudaimonia and the intellect. This connection is made in the Timaeus, where eudaimonia is said to have its source in the most divine part of the soul (namely, nous), which dwells within us like a daimon (90c). A related connection is also made in the Cratylus, however serious we take Socrates' etymological play, when he explains the origin of "knowing" (daemon) in the word for "spirit" (daimon, 398b). By definition a spirit or daimon is an intermediary between human beings and the gods; and in the Symposium, Diotima teaches Socrates that Eros is a "great daimon" (daimon megas)--one that mediates between human poverty and divine plenty, and thus "fills up the interval so that the whole [to pan] itself has been bound together by it" (202e, 203b-d, 204b). Diotima also defines Eros as a philosopher, meaning an intermediate between ignorance and wisdom. This, she says, is "clear even to a child" (204b 1-2). (10) When Phaedo later describes Socrates on his deathbed as eudaimon, we may infer from these connections that happiness is something like doing well (eu-) with respect to binding the whole or mediating between the human and the divine (Phd. 58e3). (11) If we then combine this with Socrates' teaching in the Phaedo that to philosophize is to practice dying or being dead, we can begin to see how philosophy is also the practice of happiness or being happy (Phd. 64a4-6, 67d7-10). Insofar as the practice of dying or being dead involves gathering the soul for release from the body (Phd. 67c5-d2), this describes the erotic activity of eudaimonia as an ascent to wisdom in association with the divine (Phd. 69c).
Provided these observations, we are now in a position to consider how the Socratic unity of happiness and philosophy modifies the Solonian wisdom to call no one happy until dead. (12) Whereas Solon spoke of looking to the end for the sake of judging the whole of one's life, in Plato the task of viewing the whole becomes the object of erotic ascent--the aim of which is ultimate happiness. The intervention of eros therefore solves the Solonian problem of looking to the end in all things. By introducing eros as a binding agent between the human and the divine, and then by making happiness the aim of erotic ascent, the injunction to call no one happy until dead is transformed into the striving for erotic wholeness; that is to say, the finality of death in Herodotus is replaced by the practice of dying or being dead in Plato. From this it follows that the motion of erotic ascent defines the specific unity of happiness and philosophy. Insofar as the erotic activity of eudaimonia describes the practice of philosophy, the love of wisdom expresses itself through doing well in binding the whole. Indeed, the Socratic conception of philosophy may be defined by its erotic attachment to the pursuit of happiness.
These remarks should be sufficient to compare the accounts of happiness in Herodotus and Plato. Whereas both link happiness to a notion of seeing the whole, they diverge where eros intervenes as a condition of happiness. The question now is whether these observations are adequate to the complexity of Plato's teaching about eros and its relation to the philosophical character of eudaimonia. After all, the dialogues do not praise 'erosophy' but 'philosophy.' Moreover, one finds multiple accounts of eros in Plato's dialogues. In the Phaedrus, as in the early speeches of the Symposium, eros is conceived not as a daimon but as "a god or something divine" (242e3); and in the Republic, Socrates describes eros as a tyrant (573b7-8). The relation between eros and philosophy is further complicated by the association of tyranny with madness in the Republic (573a-c), and the association of madness with eros in the Phaedrus (256d6-7). (13) A complete account of the erotic character of philosophy would therefore have to take into account the identity within difference of all these classifications, and it would also have to consider the philological distinction between eros and philia, love and friendship, as these terms are applied to the Socratic or Platonic conception of philosophy. Fortunately, we do not need to enter such a lengthy digression in order to consider the relation between eros and philia as it concerns the meaning of happiness, at least within the context of the Symposium.
Let us return to an earlier observation about the Solonian wisdom to call no one happy until dead. It is a corollary of this argument that "the whole of man is but chance [sumphore]" (Herodotus 1.32). As we saw in the example of Cleobis and Biton, an honorable death is better than life because it denotes an escape from the fates that make us miserable. The possibility of happiness is therefore moderated, as Solon says, by the jealousy (phthonos) of the gods. By comparison, the erotic ascent to philosophy in the Symposium is described by Diotima as "a turning to the vast sea of the beautiful, which gives birth upon viewing to many beautiful and magnificent speeches and thoughts in ungrudging philosophy [philosophiai aphthonoi]" (210d3-6). The key term here is philosophia aphthonos, literally, "philosophy free from jealousy." (14) Might we say that philosophy is somehow an antidote to the jealousy of the gods? Or perhaps we should say that "philosophy free from jealousy" shifts a central impediment to happiness from the jealousy of gods to the jealousy of men. I believe Plato's careful wording indicates something like this. But even more radically, I believe it is possible to trace the Solonian legacy precisely through the peak of erotic ascent, at which point, Diotima says, one becomes a "friend to the gods" (theophilei, 212a3-10). (15)
My thesis is not simply that the Solonian wisdom to call no one happy until dead is transformed into the death-like practice that describes the Socratic unity of happiness and philosophy. I also want to claim that implicit in becoming a "friend to the gods" is a complete revaluation of the status of chance or fortune as an impediment to human happiness, meaning that "friendship to the gods" indicates not only the transcendence of eros into philia, but also the transcendence of jealousy--that is, metaphorically (if that is the right word), a certain way of comporting oneself toward chance or fortune. I therefore now proceed to the philosophical overcoming of jealousy and its appearance as the central problem in the drama of Socrates and Alcibiades.
IV. Apollo, Dionysus, and the Figure of Socrates
The utterly disruptive character of human jealousy is on full display at the dramatic apex of the Symposium. Briefly told, Alcibiades, shouting drunk, has crashed the party of sober speeches on love, only to find himself embroiled with Socrates in a jealous struggle for the affections of Agathon (213c7-e6). As the figure of tragic poetry, Agathon is impotent to buffer this fearsome lover's quarrel. Socrates claims that he fell in love with Alcibiades, Alcibiades is jealous of Socrates, and they both seem to have trouble keeping their hands off each other. Socrates says that he cannot converse with or even glance at another beauty without Alcibiades becoming jealous and resentful. Alcibiades says that Socrates cannot stand to hear him praise anyone else, either a god or another human being. Alcibiades is therefore made jealous by bodies, whereas Socrates is made jealous by speeches, but with one exception. Between gods and mortals one finds the daimonic intermediate--evidently, Socrates could stand to hear praise of a daimon. But since Alcibiades is unaware of this nuance given his absence from the preceding speeches, he will replace a speech about eros with a speech about Socrates. He will tell us "the truth" about Socrates, and Socrates will hold him to it (214e3-215a2). (16) Our attention has thus been turned from Alcibiades' jealousy of men to Socrates' jealousy of speeches, and now to the truth about Socrates--what Alcibiades calls Socrates' "hubris" (215b9).
According to Alcibiades, the truth of Socrates is like that of the Silenus statues that adorn statuary shops. They are ugly on the exterior, but when split in two and opened up, they reveal agalmata, or images of gods (215a9-b4). In myth, Silenus is often depicted as a drunken, old man with the ears of a horse. He was a prominent companion of Dionysus, the god of wine and ritual madness; if caught, he was supposed to reveal his wisdom of which nothing is known except for the saying that the very best thing is not to have been born, while second best is to meet an early death. (17) The second part of the wisdom was widely known, going back to at least the sixth century BCE, to Theognis (line 425), and can be found after Plato in a fragment from Aristotle's lost dialogue, Eudemus. This is relevant because this part of Silenus's wisdom is clearly reflected in the second best happiness of Cleobis and Biton, while the first part anticipates the extreme consequence of Solon's overall teaching: if no one should be called happy until dead, then why go through all the trouble? I surmise that the lesson of Tellus--to pursue a citizen's happiness in a flourishing city--is meant to moderate or conceal the violence of its Dionysian ancestry. From Herodotus to Plato, it seems as if by peering into Socrates' divine interior we have glimpsed the Solonian, nee Silenian, spirit of Socrates' teaching in the Phaedo--that a beautiful death is better than life, but with the twist that happiness is now the practice of dying or being dead. Like Alcibiades' perception of Socrates' agalmata, this may be an image or an imperfect representation of Socrates' teaching, but its importance for Alcibiades will consist in the Dionysian, hence destructive, character of Socrates' inner hubris, a point further communicated by Alcibiades' comparison of Socrates to the satyr Marsyas, who like Silenus was a noted flautist. So chides Alcibiades:
Well, aren't you a flute player? You are far more marvelous, to be sure, than Marsyas. He used to charm [ekelei] human beings by the power of his mouth through instruments ... that cause possession [katekhesthai] and so reveal those who are in need of gods and initiation rites. And you differ from him only in that you do the same thing with bare speeches without instruments. (215bl0-cl0)
Whereas Marsyas was a seducer with music, Socrates is a seducer with speeches. Alcibiades does not say which gods or rituals are needed by those who have been exposed to the speeches of Socrates. However, we find in Herodotus that it was Apollo who flayed Marsyas alive after the satyr challenged him to a contest in music (7.28). Observed in its Platonic context, this is more than just a contest in musicianship. Marsyas's challenge would pit the satyr's flute against the god's lyre, meaning, in other words, that this would be a contest between Dionysian eros (mania, hakkheia) and Apollonian nomos. In the Republic, Apollo's lyre is chosen for its alliance with tradition and its promotion of moderation and courage. By contrast, Marsyas's flute is banned for its many-toned sound, which is viewed as an incitement to innovation and lawlessness (398c-401a, esp., 399c5-400a4 and 424b2-c8; cf. Minos 3I8bl-c2). It is thus by reference to the several senses of nomos, as "melody," "law," and "custom," (18) that we can see Apollo performing his appellation as Nomius, meaning "shepherd." (19) A good shepherd gives good laws to the herd, which is to say, the Apollonian nomoi are tuned for the many. From this it is clear that the analogy between Socrates and Marsyas makes philosophy a Dionysian practice; and as a consequence those who cannot endure the Dionysian challenge of philosophy should seek refuge in the order of Apollo. (20) Of course, one should also remember that Socrates, like Marsyas, was put to death for his hubris; in Socrates' case, for his challenge to the Athenian nomoi. The pursuit of philosophy therefore comes at a personal risk, as we shall see, with respect to the integrity of one's soul in addition to one's life. One could remark that Socrates should have learned better from Solon's prudence. But to the extent that the gods shepherd the fate of mortals, it is perhaps Apollo alone who possesses the power to save one from the destructive effects of philosophy.
In the next section, I will examine what the speech of Alcibiades can tell us about the destructive (Dionysian) character of philosophy. In particular, I will demonstrate show how the speech of Alcibiades subverts Diotima's more optimistic (Apollonian) account of the erotic ascent to philosophy, and in doing so, I will argue that these are not radically opposite accounts, but rather two moments in the temporal scheme of seduction that aims, ultimately, at raising the potential philosopher into philosophy. In other words, I will suggest that the example of Alcibiades demonstrates how the tale of erotic ascent is itself hubristic, with the implication, on the one hand, that the dialogue of the Symposium is itself structured like a Silenus in the way that Alcibiades describes Socrates, and, on the other, that the tale of erotic ascent initiates the seduction of the potential philosopher into philosophy, while at the same time pointing to the necessary conversion of eros into philia for the possible unity of happiness and philosophy. If I am correct in putting all of this together, it will be clear that the rhetorical form of the dialogue is meant to reproduce in the reader the action of Socrates' seduction of Alcibiades, while also pointing to the dangers of this seduction and its possible remedy.
Before proceeding, however, it will be useful to observe another prominent instance where the saving power of Apollo comes to bear, that is, in the speech of Aristophanes. There, in his tale of the original circle-people who were sliced in two by Zeus, it was Apollo whom Zeus charged with healing them from their punishment for assaulting the gods. Thus, Apollo smoothed their flesh and turned their faces around so that, upon seeing the cut in their bellies, they might become orderly (kosmios, 190e; cf. 197a-b). Important here is the sense in which the cure involves a combination of phusis and nomos, whereby the law of eros is inscribed on the body. One does not need to consult the sexual theories of children in order to consider the pique of castration anxiety associated with the human navel, here the primordial locus of the Apollonian nomoi. Nevertheless, it is telling that the penalty for future disobedience was not death by the hand of Zeus, but rather a second slicing, which in its own way confirms the fear of castration as it is classically concerned--not with matters of life and death, but with threats to a unified representation of one's body or one's life. In Aristophanes' myth, eros therefore names the desire for bodily wholeness, to which nomos supplies the representation of a totalizing order, the purpose of which is to prevent our disintegration into impiety or violence (191e-192a).
If we turn back now to Alcibiades' comparison of Socrates to the satyr Marsyas, it would seem that the hand of Zeus has been replaced by the force of seduction. Eros is no longer in the service of nomos, organized, as it were, around the threat of castration and bodily longing. It is, rather, engendered by the seductive power of what I believe Laplanche would call the violent intrusion of Socrates' enigmatic messages, or what Alcibiades calls Socrates' utter strangeness: literally, his "out-of-place-ness," from the Greek noun Utopia.
According to Alcibiades, there is something atopian about Socrates, both in the sort of human being that he is and in his speeches (221d3-4, cf. Alc. 1 106a). Unlike Brasidas, the Spartan commander who may be compared to Achilles for his military valor, and unlike Pericles, the Athenian statesman who may be compared to both Nestor and Antenor for their wisdom in politics, Socrates is a Silenus without human parallel in either history or myth (221c8-d8). The terms of comparison reflect Alcibiades' valuation of politics over wisdom. For example, he does not compare Socrates to a sophist like Protagoras, but this does not alter the point. It would not be wrong to say, with proper qualification, that Socrates' atopian character puts him out of place and out of time--again, in defiance of nomos, which is necessarily specific to times and places. As Alcibiades says, Socrates' very strangeness inspires "total wonder" (pantos thaumatos, 221c3-8; cf. 215a2-5). There is, consequently, in the spirit of Dionysus an important homophony between atopia and wonder, for what is strange must be enigmatic in the way it defies comprehension; and what defies comprehension is easily a source of wonder. Such is the music of Socrates. He embodies and transmits this atopian source of wonder through both his particular way of being and his speeches. Both, according to Alcibiades, are hubristic, for both Socrates and his speeches are like opened up Silenuses. On their surface, they sound ridiculous with their talk of pack asses and blacksmiths. But when cracked open, one finds that (1) they contain more sense (noos) than any other speeches, and (2) they are the most divine, with their interior possessing the greatest number of those fetish icons of virtue--what Alcibiades calls agalmat' aretes (22 Id9-222a4).
At this point, a series of dualisms have emerged from Alcibiades' account of Socrates' hubris. At the level of the body, there is first his ugly exterior and his divine interior, which is filled with agalmata. We may call this the level of ousia or being. Then, at the level of speech, there is the ridiculous exterior and the divine interior wherein, again, one finds agalmata. We may call this the level of logos or reason, which Alcibiades splits into sense (noos), on the one hand, and images of virtue, on the other. There are images of virtue, but no images of sense. Presumably, if sense cannot be made into an image, then it cannot be imitated. That is, where noos means "sense" as in "meaning" (rather than mind or perception) it follows that meaning is something that one must make for oneself. (21) Moreover, the divisions within Socrates' hubris indicate that his enigmatic messages must exceed the limits of logos and ousia. Socrates is atopian because he is beyond logos, beyond ousia. The reader will recall that the second of these formulations is found in the Republic, where it is said that the good is "beyond being" (epekeina tes ousias, 509b9). I cannot pursue this observation here, but I surmise that the good in the Republic is also enigmatic or atopian. As for the present context, we are told by Alcibiades that Socrates' speeches apply to the largest area, and to the whole area that is proper to examine if one is destined to be beautiful and good (toi mellonti kaldi kagathoi esesthai, 222a5-7; cf. 217a3-7). It bears noting that one's goodness and beauty are, for Alcibiades, a matter of destiny, which is to say, one's end is a matter of fortune or fate--and of course, one's fate must be enigmatic to the extent that it escapes any reasonable account. By contrast, Diotima's account of erotic ascent culminates in "philosophy free from jealousy" and "friendship with the gods," which I have interpreted to indicate a certain freedom from chance or fortune. As we proceed, the philosophical overcoming of the aleatory element will return as an important detail in Solon's enigmatic legacy, specifically as it relates to the Symposium's teaching about the unity of happiness and philosophy. But in order to elaborate both the Apollonian and Dionysian dimensions of this teaching, we shall first require an account of how the dialogue is itself rhetorically structured like a Silenus. (22)
V. The Action of Seduction and the Structure of the Symposium
If an analogy is going to hold between Socrates and the structure of the Symposium, on the one hand, and Alcibiades and the reader of the Symposium, on the other, we will have to identify not only the way in which the Symposium is itself hubristic, or structured like a Silenus, but also the textual analog to Socrates' atopian character and its function as the enigmatic source of Alcibiades' eros for Socrates. Let us therefore take a step back to the beginning of the dialogue. As noted in [section] I above, the temporal scheme of seduction operates according to the logic of Nachtraglichkeit (,apres coup, afterwardsness, or deferred action). If the Symposium is meant to seduce the potential philosopher into philosophy, we should not be surprised to find that an adequate account of the seductive action of the dialogue will require an exercise in retroactive reading.
Indeed, the play between surface and depth is a theme that runs throughout the Symposium. Yet its significance can be appreciated only in light of the dialogue taken as a whole. From its very beginning, the dialogue is narrated by Apollodorus, who heard the story from Aristodemus, meaning that the reader is three times removed from the original speeches. (23) Not often noted, however, is that the name of Apollodorus translates to "gift of Apollo," while the name of Aristodemus translates to "best of the people." If these names are significant, it is because the speeches of Apollodorus and Aristodemus present the reader with the
Apollonian surface of the dialogue--the link between Apollo and Nomius marking its nomothetic or popular inflection. At the outer edge is Apollodorus, a devoted fanatic about Socrates; and then there is the reader who occupies the same position as Apollodorus's unnamed companion, the one to whom he recounts the speeches (172a-173b, 178al-5, 180cl-3, 223c8-9). Much like Alcibiades, however, Apollodorus has become miserable (kakodaimona) in his madness for Socrates (173d 1-2, 173d8). (24) Thus, despite the dialogue's Apollonian presentation, we are warned from the outset about the destructive potential of the eros for philosophy. Indeed, much like the rough exterior of Socrates the Silenus, the Apollonian surface of the dialogue must be considered ugly or deficient in comparison to the interior speeches. Moreover, by reference to the name of Apollo in Aristophanes' myth of the circle-people, these observations may be juxtaposed with the teaching of Diotima, whose name translates to "honored by Zeus." If Apollodorus transmits the gift of Apollo, or the promissory correction of human eros, it is Diotima who offers the most divine expression of this gift in its being honored by Zeus. This means, by extension, that Diotima's tale of erotic ascent represents the super-Apollonian teaching about the eros for philosophy, and that the tension between Apollodorus and Diotima is itself representative of a tension within eros, expressed by its capacity to bring either happiness or misery. This observation also recalls the position of Pausanias, for whom eros is divided between noble and base, thereby putting it in need of regulation by laws (180c-181a, 184c-185b). But whereas Pausanias is concerned with nomos, Diotima is concerned with the soul (209al-7). And this again plays on the tension between inner and outer, only now with the important difference that the question of happiness functions as the leaping-off point for Diotima's remarks about the ladder of love (204e-205a).
With respect, now, to the dialogue's hubristic interior, we must look for the challenge of Dionysus at the precise moment when the law-giving, castrating hand of Zeus gives way to the seductive power of Socrates. Or, in what will amount to the same, we shall have to identify the textual analog to the agalmata that Alcibiades claims to see in the depths of Socrates. In other words, we shall have to consider what role an image or parable of the gods may play in the dialogue's seduction of the potential philosopher, and to that end I believe the groundwork has already been laid. For where Diotima describes the peak of erotic ascent as philosophia aphthonos, I have suggested that "philosophy free from jealousy" may be, in the language of Solon, a way of life that is free from the jealousy of gods, and thus free from misfortune and misery. Again, as Diotima tells Socrates, at the peak of erotic ascent phantom images of virtue give way to true virtue, and one is opened up to become theophilei, or a "friend to the gods" (212a8). (25)
Taking my bearings from Solon's legacy, then, I suggest that the Apollonian surface of the Symposium converges with its Dionysian teaching in a way that hides the destructive power of philosophy in a parable of the gods. Put in terms of the psychoanalytic theory of seduction, the structure is one in which the initial Apollonian coup is compromised by the apres coup of its Dionysian counterpart. The combination then generates the trauma of eros split through Nachtraglichkeit, with the Apollonian surface functioning to seduce the potential philosopher into philosophy by promising a certain gift, namely, happiness in a vision of the beautiful that will give birth to true virtue and make one as divine as humanly possible (212a3-10). "Said the Mantinean stranger: 'It is at this place in life, if anywhere, my dear Socrates, where it is worth living for a human being [bioton anthropoi], viewing the beautiful itself'" (211d1-4). These lines should be read alongside Alcibiades' main complaint about Socrates: that Socrates has thrown Alcibiades into such a slavish condition that his life seems no longer worth living (me bioton, 216a 1-2). (26) Says Alcibiades:
Whenever we hear another person speak, even if it is a very good public speaker, almost no one has any concern. But whenever someone hears you or someone else pronouncing your speeches--regardless of whether it is a man, a woman, or a child that hears them; and even if the speaker is very poor--we are all overwhelmed [ekpeplegmenoi] and possessed [katekhometha]. As for myself ..., if I were not going to be thought utterly intoxicated, I would have affirmed on oath to these effects of his speeches, which I feel even now. For whenever I hear him ... my heart leaps and tears pour from my eyes ...; and I see many others experiencing the same things. In hearing Pericles and other good public speakers, I thought they spoke well, but I never experienced anything like this. My soul was not put into turmoil, and I was not disturbed by the thought of my slavish condition. Yet this Marsyas has put me in this state so often that I came to the opinion that my life was not worth living, being the way that I am. (215d3-216a2)
For Alcibiades, the effect upon hearing Socrates' speeches is clearly devastating. Even when pronounced by a second-rate speaker--presumably, one like Apollodorus if not Aristodemus--they have the power to overwhelm and possess the potential philosopher. This serves as a warning to the reader about the power of Socrates; and as any sensitive reader may attest, the Symposium certainly has the potential, the dunamis, to overwhelm and possess. In Alcibiades' case, Socrates has often had this effect on him. Or put in the language of psychoanalysis, Alcibiades appears subject to what Freud would call a "compulsion to repeat" (Wiederholungszwang). (27) Alcibiades' every encounter with Socrates reawakens the experience of some initial trauma that continues to enslave his soul (215e6-8, 216b7-8, 217a2-3, 219e4-6). Indeed, it would seem that by his repetition of the trauma, Alcibiades is "endeavoring to master the stimulus retrospectively." (28) But because Socrates' enigmatic messages resist translation, his effort is destined to fail. What Alcibiades consequently repeats is not the scene of the trauma, but the failure to make sense out of what is for him entirely enigmatic or atopian. In effect, he is compelled to repeat a failure of noos--an experience of meaninglessness--and it is consequently this compulsion to repeat the failure of translation that makes his life seem no longer worth living. "Even now," he says,
I know within myself that were I willing to lend my ears, I could not resist but I would live the experience over again. For he compels me to admit that sorely deficient as I am, I neglect myself while I handle the affairs of the Athenians. So I stop my ears by force and run away, as though from the Sirens, so that I don't grow old sitting idly by him. (216a3-7)
The reader will observe that Alcibiades' attitude is the exact inverse of the one famously espoused by Solon: to never cease learning, even as he grew old. (29) This point is vital for tracing the Solonian legacy in Socrates, for Alcibiades points to the truth of this teaching by his enactment of its negation--and for that matter, he seems to know that Socrates is right: the unexamined life is not worth living. Only he cannot bring himself to face the task. He is caught in a pattern of avoidance and self-neglect that seems to act out a defense against the violent incursion of Socrates' enigmatic messages. By reference to the Sirens' song of Homer's Odyssey, Alcibiades experiences Socrates as endangering to his life, yet unlike Odysseus, he lacks what Socrates at one point calls "the courage of eras" (212b9-cl). He lacks the courage to lash himself to the mast of his ship in order to hear Socrates' call to virtue. (30) Instead, he is locked in a cycle of helpless repetition, repeatedly unable to reconcile the overwhelming force of Socrates' enigmatic messages, and this is making his life unbearable. In fact, he is so far removed from sound-mindedness (sophrosune) that he cannot even follow his own advice to seek refuge in gods or rituals (215c7-8). (31) Rather, he flees into drunkenness and the warm embrace of the crowd; and this only increases the shame he exhibits toward Socrates. As he says, "Only before him do I feel shame. For I know within myself that I cannot contradict him and say that I should not do what he urges. And whenever I go away, I know within myself that I am doing so because I have succumbed to the honor I get from the many" (216b3-7). In effect, Alcibiades is enacting a resistance to philosophy.
If Alcibiades were more like Philebus, it would be possible to say (quite superficially) that his resistance to philosophy is evidence that the pursuit of wisdom runs counter to the life of pleasure. However, Alcibiades was not a simple hedonist--he was as much renowned for his gifts of beauty and intelligence as he was reviled for his unrestrained political ambition and the turmoil it brought upon the Athenians. As events unfolded during the Peloponnesian War, he could be their destroyer one day, their savior the next. At once an object of admiration and contempt, Alcibiades was no doubt a maddening figure for the Athenians. Indeed, he functions quite well as a political analog to Socrates. They were both men of public controversy. But more importantly, they were both men of eros in that they were both men of the in-between. Alcibiades was caught between shame and honor, Socrates between mortals and gods. But their similarity through the opposition between politics and philosophy is what makes Alcibiades the perfect complement to Socrates. In fact, Alcibiades embodies one of the great questions of Plato's dialogues, namely, "Why is it that philosophy consistently fails in its effort to secure virtue in politics?" As the example of Alcibiades seems to demonstrate, the reason cannot be reduced simply to nature (or in contemporary parlance, a form of biological determinism). Rather, Alcibiades' tortured character has been produced, at least in part, by the action of Socrates' seduction, which has inflamed the destructive potential of eros and, indeed, the destructive potential of the eros for philosophy. (32)
As if to demonstrate this point, Alcibiades compares himself to "a man who was bitten by a snake" (217e7-8, cf. Men. 80a). Socrates the Marsyas is now a viper who bites at "the most painful place one can be bitten--the heart or soul or whatever one must call it" (218a4-6). Crucially, it is "the speeches of philosophy" that are said to "grip more savagely than a viper, whenever they get hold of someone young with a not ungifted soul" (218a7-9). Beyond the erotics of Socrates' Silenian body, it is the power of his speeches, with their captivating images of virtue, which grip the soul and attack it from within. Here we should remember that Alcibiades initially wanted Socrates to transfer this virtue to him by making Socrates his lover. Yet despite his self-avowed beauty and his several efforts to get close to Socrates, none of these efforts ended in the physical or intellectual encounter that Alcibiades so desired (217b-d). Instead, every instance repeats the asymmetrical relation of seduction, with each one more frustrating than the next. As Alcibiades complains, Socrates despises physical beauty, wealth, honor, and all those things that are adored by the crowd (216d9-e3). There is something deeply sober and nonerotic about Socrates, and this is precisely what Alcibiades finds so bewildering; so much so that he finds himself in the paradoxical situation of being at once enslaved and snake-bitten, while experiencing Socrates' every refusal as an abandonment or unacceptable rejection (216d6-9).
The effect is not unlike the narcissistic injury inflicted by Solon in his challenge to Croesus. As Alcibiades shifts position in his relation to Socrates, from erotic beloved to erotic lover, Socrates shifts position from erotic lover to nonerotic beloved (222b). It follows that the structure is one of a chiasmus, which results in rupturing Alcibiades' narcissistic psyche by the traumatic incursion of Socrates' enigmatic messages. (33) That is to say, by 'canceling' the position of erotic beloved in the crossing of relations between Alcibiades and Socrates, Socrates' position as nonerotic beloved signals the 'return' of Solon's legacy. I will develop this point below, where as we shall see, it is the enigmatic character of Solon's legacy that operates through the figure of Socrates to injure Alcibiades. Indeed, if the phrase were not subject to controversy, I would characterize this as "Socrates beyond the pleasure principle," if only to indicate the sense in which Socrates appears to assume the very disorganizing and disruptive power of the Freudian unconscious itself. Or as Jacques Lacan has observed in his discussion of this passage, one could also say that Alcibiades wants Socrates to give him something that Socrates does not have. (34) And in fact, Socrates chastises Alcibiades for wanting to exchange his inferior beauty for what appears as Socrates' far superior beauty. As Socrates says, "You have in mind to exchange gold for bronze. But look harder [ameinon skopei], you blessed one: Without your being aware of it, I may be nothing [me se lanthano ouden on]" (218e4-219a3; my emphasis). (35)
This passage marks the deepest point in the dialogue, and also the deepest point within Socrates. In what follows, I propose to read what it means to "be nothing" as an allusion to philosophy understood as the practice of dying or being dead. (36) On this reading, Socrates' emptiness will have come from the eudaimon activity of releasing his soul from his body. (37) Insofar as ouden on refers likewise to the happy wisdom of Silenus, the return of Solon's legacy will have been served all the better.
For his part, Alcibiades does not comment on Socrates' statement. As a good psychoanalyst might say, he appears to be resisting Socrates' interpretation. However this may be, Alcibiades offers no express clue about how to interpret the salient passage. Rather, it seems that Plato wished these words to compel the reader just as Socrates' enigmatic messages compelled Alcibiades. Nevertheless, one thing at least is certain. The "nothing" in Socrates must defy any expectation that he is in possession of something (e.g., beauty or virtue) which could be acquired on the model of monetary exchange or direct physical contact. If the dialogue is meant to reproduce in the reader the action of Socrates' seduction of Alcibiades, it is this statement by Socrates that must impose the trauma of eros by compelling the reader to discover its meaning, or its potential meaning, by reflecting back on the whole of the dialogue. In the way that seduction works by depositing something in the individual that will be reactivated only later, the reader is seduced by the apparent disjunction between the Apollonian promise of happiness, on the one hand, and Socrates' Dionysian mysteries, on the other. (38)
Since we are now concerned with the birth of eros, this would also be the place to compare the seduction of Poros by Penia to the seduction of Alcibiades by Socrates. We are invited to make this comparison by the fact that both Poros and Alcibiades, the objects of seduction, are depicted as drunk (203b6). What I wish to suggest is that Socrates' seduction of Alcibiades reenacts the scene of Penia's seduction of Poros in Diotima's myth of the birth of Eros, but at a different (higher) level.
Let us examine the details. Eros is the son of Poros (Resource) and Penia (Poverty). By a play on words, Penia is therefore Aporia or "without resource," and of course the Greek aporia means "impasse." Ironically, it is Aporia who demonstrates resourcefulness in overcoming her impasse. She waits for Poros to pass out from drunkenness so that she may become pregnant with Eros in the garden of Zeus. As Lacan (1991; 1957, 147-8) has pointed out, Eros comes from Aporia giving what she does not have. In her own way, too, she "may be nothing"--which foreshadows the link between Eros and Socrates, both of whom are "always dwelling in neediness" (203d4). As for the analogy between Penia and Socrates, this link is reinforced by Alcibiades' comparison of Socrates to Marsyas, where the hubris of satyrs consists in sexual seduction. However, what appears to Alcibiades as the promise of sexual gratification turns into a pretense for the seduction of philosophy. It is Alcibiades' failure to grasp the nature of his seduction that then provokes Socrates to admonish him sharply. "You have in mind to exchange gold for bronze. But look harder, you blessed one..." (218e4-219a3). It is surely ironic to call Alcibiades "blessed" (makarios), but his failure to convert his own aporia into philosophy is not. Socrates urges Alcibiades to "look harder," that is, beyond eros. I therefore suggest that whereas Penia gave birth to Eros, Socrates is a "barren" (agonos) midwife who has failed to help Alcibiades give birth to Philia (Tht. 150c4-5). On this reading, it would seem that Socrates is not as skilled in erotics as perhaps he claims. (39) As Friedrich Nietzsche (1988, 5.11; trans. 1966, 1) would say, philosophers are clumsy lovers. Or else we should heed the implication that, in the final analysis, the transcendence of eros into philia can be achieved only by oneself alone. (40)
This point will come to a head in the next section. But what is so far clear is that Socrates does not dispute Alcibiades' allegations concerning his Silenian hubris, his atopian character, or his nonerotic disposition. What Socrates rejects is the claim that he harbors agalmata in his speeches or beneath his rough satyr skin. (41) Looking deeper, he may be nothing. This means that Socrates' agalmata may be considered fetish icons of virtue in that they permit the worship of something "golden" that is, in fact, enigmatic, atopian, or incomprehensible. In a thoroughly related sense, they prop up Alcibiades' jealous attachment to Socrates by allowing Alcibiades to persist in the belief that Socrates is in possession of something valuable and attainable by eros. As fetishistic illusions, they also permit Alcibiades to disavow the reality that Socrates may be nothing. If, as Lacan (1981,57; 1993, 46) says, what is foreclosed in the Symbolic returns in the Real, what returns in the Real--understood as the impossible object of desire that structures one's entire experience of reality--is precisely the nothing in Socrates and Alcibiades' compulsive failure to affirm it. Practically speaking, this means that Alcibiades experiences Socrates as a castrating Zeus who threatens with the trauma of eros, with the result that Socrates' agalmata function as part of Alcibiades' defense against the traumatic effects of philosophy. They allow him to persist in a form of ignorance "without his being aware of it." (42)
To summarize the results of this section, I am arguing that Socrates has implanted something entirely enigmatic within the psyche of Alcibiades, and that this atopian internal entity constitutes the unconscious core of Alcibiades' erotic striving. Indeed, Socrates' agalmata serve to prop up Alcibiades' jealous attachment to Socrates. They express the fantasy that Socrates is in possession of something "golden" or desirable. But in fact Socrates' "nothing" deposits something untranslatable that repeatedly attacks Alcibiades from within as he struggles to defend himself against the trauma of eros split through Nachtraglichkeit--that is, the disjunctive aporia between Apollo and Dionysus. In wanting to "exchange gold for bronze," Alcibiades therefore expresses the wish to make sense out of the nothing in Socrates that resists all translation--'translation' being another word for 'exchange.' After all, it is this atopian, nonerotic nothing that Alcibiades finds so deeply enigmatic about Socrates. Yet an even deeper irony lies in the fact that Alcibiades does not even want it, this thing that Socrates does not have. (43) For if Alcibiades were ever to really comprehend and incorporate Socrates' nonerotic teaching, he would be compelled to relinquish his erotic attachment to Socrates, to undergo the practice of dying or being dead. That is, he would have to fundamentally transform his life. He would have to relinquish his attachment to the one thing that seems most needful--the erotic possession of Socrates--and instead he would have to ascend to a way of life free from eros, hence free from jealousy (wherein jealousy expresses a fear of the loss of love: both Alcibiades' fear of losing the love of Socrates, and more deeply, Alcibiades' fear of losing the capacity to love himself or make himself lovable). Like Socrates, he would have to become atopian; and here we find the paradox of eros. By this I do not mean simply the erotic striving to end all erotic striving (cf. Nussbaum 1986, 183). Rather, there is a much more troubling tension within eros itself, where the striving for erotic wholeness demands a fundamental form of self-destruction that calls upon eros to defend itself against itself--at once an agent of binding and destruction. This is precisely what we see in the example of Alcibiades; disturbed to the core by Socrates' enigmatic messages, he finds himself running toward and away from Socrates, both at the same time.
VI. Happiness, Endurance, and the Transcendence of Eros
Provided these observations, we are now in a position to see how philosophy requires not the completion of erotic striving, but the transcendence of eros by what psychoanalysis would call a "working-through" (Durcharbeitung) of its resistances. Let us recall the beginning of Socrates' speech in the Symposium at the point where he is examining Agathon. There Socrates makes Agathon agree that eros is eros tinos or "the love of something"; and he tells Agathon to "keep this fast in your memory" (199e6-200a5). Fast-forward now to the conclusion of Diotima's lesson. Here the erotic ascent to philosophy leads to a vision of the beautiful, unmixed with flesh, the color of humanity, and a lot of other "mortal foolishness" (211e2-6). Upon seeing the beautiful itself, Diotima says, one gives birth "not to phantom images of virtue..., but to true virtue because he lays hold of the truth; and once he has given birth to and cherished true virtue, it lies within him to become a friend to the gods [theophilei]" (212a4-7). "He, above all men," she says, "is immortal" (212a7-8). This means, in other words, that as the potential philosopher moves up the ladder of love, eros is converted into philia as he leaves the bodily world behind. But in order for this to occur, the ascent to philosophy requires the abandonment of one's jealous attachments, and hence a coming-to-grips with those unconscious elements that prevent one from becoming conversant with one's resistances. (44) As Socrates says, "Without your being aware of it, I may be nothing." The statement is pregnant with self-knowledge. But the fact that Socrates "may be nothing" consists most deeply in his conversion of eros into philia, that is, the philia specific to philosophy. (45) Quite literally, the inner life of Socrates is the life of "philosophy free from jealousy."
Now consider Diotima's promise to the young Socrates: by seeing the beautiful itself one will give birth not to "phantom images of virtue," but to "true virtue," which will open one up to become a "friend to the gods" (theophilei, 212a3-10). As the paradox of eros gives way to nonerotic philia, the love of beautiful bodies is transformed into friendship with the gods. Indeed, this is the ultimate meaning of "philosophy free from jealousy." By a modification of the Solonian wisdom that "the whole of man is but chance," philosophia aphthonos means not simply freedom from the jealousy of gods, or freedom from the jealousy of lovers--a motif that repeats throughout the Symposium, especially in reference to Alcibiades' erotic enslavement to Socrates (46)--but also that by becoming a friend to the gods, one becomes a friend to the inevitability of chance or fortune (cf. Symp. 193al-b6). (47) To borrow an expression from Nietzsche, we could speak here of amorfati (love of fate), which Nietzsche described in Ecce Homo as his "innermost nature" (1998, 6.363; trans. 2007, III 'WC' [section] 4), his "formula for human greatness" (1998, 6.297; trans. 2007, II 10), and in the Nachlass as "the highest state a philosopher can attain: to stand in a Dionysian relation to existence" (1998, 13.492; trans. 1967, [section] 1041). To make a point that I can only gesture at here, it would seem that (despite his protestations to the contrary) in his innermost nature what Nietzsche shares with Socrates is ultimately a Dionysian teaching about the love of fate that points beyond an Apollonian account of erotic ascent. Thus, when Nietzsche writes in Twilight of the Idols, "I seek to understand out of what idiosyncrasy that Socratic equation reason = virtue = happiness derives: that bizarrest of equations and one which has in particular all the instincts of the older Hellenes against it," we must consider the influence of Solon among these older Hellenes (1998, 6.69; trans. 1968, 41). (48)
As for the Socratic unity of happiness and philosophy, the peak of erotic ascent is characterized by Diotima as observing and being with the beautiful itself. It is this experience, she says, that makes life worth living for a human being (211dl-e1). By contrast, Alcibiades told us that his failure to ascend philosophically has made him feel as though his life was not worth living. It would seem that what makes a human life worth living is therefore the capacity of eros to transcend itself into philia, where the philosophical expression of philia consists in a special kind of nonerotic seeing and being with the beloved. Yet this is precisely what remains opaque to Alcibiades: the Solonian legacy of looking to the end for the sake of the whole, first in terms of striving for erotic wholeness, and second in terms of gazing upon the vast sea of the beautiful. As Socrates puts it to Alcibiades, "The sight of thought begins to look sharply when the sight of the eyes starts to fall off from its peak; but you are still far from that" (219a3-7). Quite precisely, Alcibiades remains fixed on seeing bodies. He is still far from the practice of dying or being dead which describes Socratic eudaimonia or Solon's enigmatic legacy. What is missing, however, is an express account of how eros transcends itself into philosophy. In its place, we are given the example of Alcibiades' failed conversion, and a supplementary account of the virtues that Alcibiades sees in Socrates.
This observation raises two separate but related questions. The first concerns how we ought to understand the birth of philosophical philia-, the second, the virtue or virtues that may be unique to philosophy. To the latter, Alcibiades first praises Socrates' nature, moderation, and manliness; then he praises Socrates' prudence and endurance (karteria, 219d3-8). Since Socrates' nature is hubristic, we could say that moderation and prudence align with his exterior virtues, while manliness and endurance align with his interior virtues. Whereas the former are concerned with pleasures, the latter are concerned with pains. (49) Moreover, it is endurance with respect to suffering that is of singular virtue when it comes to facing strife and misfortune. If we accept the definition offered by Laches--that courage is "a kind of endurance of the soul" (Lach.
192b 10-12)--it is possible to see Socrates' interior endurance as essential to his courage for philosophy, now understood as the courage to transcend eros into philia. (50) Put simply: without karteria, philosophia aphthonos--the unity of happiness and philosophy--is impossible. Yet the fact that Alcibiades fails to grasp the depth of Socrates' philosophic character is evident not only by his failure to recognize how Socrates "may be nothing," but also by the several examples he gives of Socrates' endurance and his concluding warning to Agathon: to beware of Socrates' deceptions (exapaton) and to avoid imitating the fool who learns by suffering (219e-222b, esp. 222b5-9). (51)
What is strikingly absent from Alcibiades' encomium to Socrates is any remark related to chance or fortune. Instead, we hear all about Socrates' endurance with respect to hunger (during a military campaign), his endurance in drinking (at festivities), his endurance in cold weather (marching without sandals), and then of course his amazing endurance in contemplation. In spirit, these are all Stoic virtues. They are each concerned with things that are in Socrates' power to command. As Epictetus would say, those things that are up to us, distinguished from those things that are not. (52) Yet Alcibiades says exactly nothing about Socrates' endurance with respect to those things that are not within his power. Call it the repression of seduction: the truth of Socrates hidden behind Diotima's account of erotic ascent. For while Socrates is undeniably a seducer with speeches, what is at stake in the motion of seduction is first the provocation of Socrates in the genesis of philosophic questioning, distinguished from the chance effect of Socrates' enigmatic messages, which are at once the unwitting source of philosophical eros and the catalyst of Alcibiades' personal destruction. Indeed, it is by virtue of his efforts to defend himself against the destructive effects of philosophy that Alcibiades repeatedly fails to grasp the meaning of "philosophy free from jealousy," or the sense in which the conversion of eros into philia requires an interior endurance that makes possible a special kind of human happiness defined by friendship with chance or fortune.
Stated as concisely as possible, at the peak of erotic ascent one becomes a "friend to the gods." This implies not only a transformation of the "jealousy of the gods" into the love of fate, but also an interior endurance in face of those enigmatic messages that give birth uncontrollably to the eros for philosophy. It is, accordingly, the intervention of eros that transforms the Solonian wisdom to "look to the end in all things" into the eudaimon activity of binding the whole. All this to say, it is the Solonian wisdom to "call no one happy until dead" that is transformed into the nonerotic, deathlike practice wherein one finds the Socratic unity of happiness and philosophy. Yet this is precisely what remains enigmatic to Alcibiades: the philosophical practice of happiness or being happy, which is the practice of dying or being dead that has its source in Solon's legacy. As the example of Alcibiades demonstrates, the eros for philosophy is incited by the question of happiness; and in the extreme, it produces destructiveness, misery, and resistance to philosophy. We are thus returned to the wisdom of Solon, for it truly seems that the one who has not yet ended his life well is at best fortunate.
Viewed from the perspective of psychoanalysis, the transmission of ideas across time is inevitably subject to a variety of processes: condensation, displacement, inversion, resistance, repression, disavowal, etc. In the present study, I have paid specific attention to the seductive power of the enigmatic message, which is for Laplanche the unconscious and unmasterable source of erotic, "driven" life. If it is possible to consider that the history of philosophy is woven like a dream--rife with fantasies, wishes, deformations, retranslations, and motions of assault and defense--then the psychoanalysis of philosophy must work to loosen the warp from the woof in order to better understand how the epic textile has been dyed and threaded. This study marks the first installment of that endeavor. In the last analysis, it is an open question whether Socrates--or Plato--is the conscious or unconscious transmitter of Solon's legacy. But this does not prevent us from observing the associations that bind Plato to Herodotus through the separation of Solon from Socrates. (53)
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(1) Herodotus, 1.32; translations of the Greek are modified from Godley's 1920 Loeb edition.
(2) Both concentrate on the dialogue's significance to the psychoanalytic theory of transference.
(3) There is, to date, slim precedent for considering the influence of Herodotus on Plato and, likewise, for considering the influence of Solon on Plato's Socrates. The most common area of comparison concerns the myth of Gyges. See, e.g., Davis 2000, 650-1, who argues through an examination of the myth that portions of the Republic bear linguistic and structural similarities to the Histories. A modified version of that essay appears in Chapter 8 of Davis 2011. Benardete (2009, 129-30) also cites several overlapping themes in Plato and Herodotus, and makes the especially interesting observation that the image of the divided line in Plato's Republic effectively modifies the Herodotean account of the order of intelligibility, that is, by the addition of noesis in conjunction with the doctrine of Ideas. My own reading of Herodotus has benefitted from Stanley Rosen 1963 (reprinted sans footnotes in Blanco and Roberts 1992).
(4) E.g., Kelley (1973, 78) has argued that "Socrates admonishes against rhetoric as a form of seduction," but he does not account for the deeply rhetorical character of Plato's writing. By contrast, Sheffield (2006, 194) interprets the theme of seduction within the context of Socrates' hubris, but for the purpose of arguing that "The seriocomic manner in which Alcibiades explores the virtues of the philosopher is characteristic of the way in which satyric dramas explored serious themes in a different, humorous, spirit." Closer to the interpretation explored here, Lear (1999, 160) has developed the drama of seduction in order to argue that, for Alcibiades, "Suffering a jealous rivalry with Socrates is preferable to learning anything from him."
(5) See, e.g., Laplanche 1987, 125-9 (trans. 1989, 126-30).
(6) On exapate, see note 51 below.
(7) The source in Pindar is lost; cf. Plato, Gorg. 484b.
(8) Cf. Herodotus 1.86-7. In the scene where the Persian king Cyrus places Croesus on the pyre, both Croesus and Cyrus identify eudaimonia with the Solonian wisdom concerning human happiness. Given that Solon does not himself speak of eudaimonia, however, it remains a question whether the Herodotean discourse on eudaimonia is meant to recount the introjection of a foreign wisdom that has its source in the aforementioned Athenian Stranger (cf. 1.30). In what follows, I will argue that the Solonian-Herodotean eudaimonia possesses the disruptive power of questioning which later underwrites the eros for philosophy.
(9) Translations of Plato are modified from the Loeb editions. For translations of the Symposium, I have benefited from Benardete 1993, as well as his edited translation in Strauss 2001.
(10) Rosen (1999, 238, 276) emphasizes that Eros would be one among the philosophers (hon au kai ho Eros), meaning that there must also be nonerotic philosophers. This is an important insight for considering the philosophical significance of philia contra eros.
The young Socrates' failure to understand the intermediate or the daemonic indicates that his early inquiries into nature (phusis) or the beings (ta onta) had corrupted him, and that his turn to the logoi (the speeches of others) was instrumental in his "second sailing" toward philosophy. See Phd. 96a6-100al0, esp. 96a7-8, 99dl, 99d6, 99e5-7.
(11) Cf. Plato, Symp. 192e 10: "The desire and pursuit of the whole is called eros"; 205dl-2: "Eros is the whole desire of good things and of being happy [eudaimonein]."
(12) This would not be the only instance where a proverb is corrupted by changing it. See Plato, Symp. 174a7-c4.
(13) 1 note that in Herodotus sexual eros is often blamed for the fall of tyrants, as in the examples of Candaules (1.8) and Xerxes and Masistes (9.113). However, coordinating this observation with the present discussion would require a separate study involving a comparison of philosophical and tyrannical eros.
(14) The meanings of aphthonos as "ungrudging," "unstinting," or "without jealously" will combine below in my discussion of karteria in the Socratic unity of happiness and philosophy ([section] VI).
(15) On translation, see note 25 below.
(16) Cf. Plato, Symp. 175e 10-1: ".... and Dionysus shall be our judge."
(17) See Plutarch, Mor. 115b-e. The second part of this wisdom is missing from Seth Benardete's commentary in Strauss 2001, 45-6 note 19.
(18) E.g., Plato, Leg. 700a7-b4, 722c7-723b7, 734e2-735a6, 799el l-802d7; cf. Minos 317d-318b.
(19) E.g., Pindar, Pyth. 9.61-5.
(20) Corrigan and Glazov-Corrigan (2004, 181) think the reverse. Using the Republic for support, they argue that "Socrates is not Marsyas" because in forming the beautiful city he bans the flute but preserves the lyre. However, this shows only that the beautiful city is made in the image of Apollo. Moreover, one is cautioned against their reading by Socrates' explicit agreement to hold Alcibiades to the truth; and he does not reject the comparison. See Plato, Symp. 214e3-215a2.
(21) This will later have relevance to the case of Alcibiades. Not only will his troubles begin with his failure to make sense out of Socrates' enigmatic messages, but his problems will be compounded by his jealous attachment to Socrates.
(22) Contemporary interest in the literary form of the dialogue begins with Strauss 2001 (1959) and Rosen 1999 (1968); however, there has been only recent interest in the rhetorical structure of the dialogue taken as a whole. Most significantly, Corrigan and Glazov-Corrigan (2004, 28) have argued that there is no nonphilosophical part of the dialogue; and they find (a) that Socrates' speech (indeed, the entire Symposium) is "framed as a mythos" (123), and (b) that the mimetic frame of the Symposium suggests that it should be read against the criticism of mimetic art in the Republic (4, 10-2, 70-8). They also note (183-4) that Alcibiades' remarks on Socrates' logoi "provide an apt image for the structure of the Symposium itself," but they pull back from this suggestion by claiming that "This is probably too much to read into Alcibiades' innocent comments." Sheffield (2006, 208) also argues that "The philosophy of the Symposium is extended throughout the dialogue" and that "issues raised by the previous speakers" reappear in the speech of Socrates. It seems fair to say that the uniquely Silenian structure of the Symposium has so far not been noticed or adequately appreciated.
(23) Halperin (1992, 96-106) has offered an admirable exegesis of the Symposium's narrative structure and its significance to the quarrel between speaking and writing for philosophical procreation. In his emphasis on the "undecidable" character of this quarrel, his interpretation also intersects with the present study of Socrates' (or Plato's) enigmatic messages (126). However, Halperin does not consider how the Symposium's play between surface and depth figures into the theme of seduction, and this correlates to a certain blindness concerning the uniquely traumatic effects of Socrates' hubris (discussed below).
(24) Manuscripts differ about whether Apollodorus is correctly described as manikos (mad) or malakos (soft). But insofar as the adjective immediately describes Apollodorus's habit of raging against himself and everyone else except Socrates (173d), surely this signals the kind of madness, if not sickness, that results from having a defective eros for philosophy. For the alternate view, see Corrigan and Glazov-Corrigan 2004, 15-8.
(25) Theophilei is dative singular. If her name is any indication, the translation of Diotima as "honored by Zeus" may connect her teaching to that of Aristophanes, discussed above and in note 47 below. It may also be that Diotima has replaced the Olympian gods, and hence the traditional nomoi, with the beautiful itself, thus creating a new god and corrupting the youthful Socrates. From the standpoint of Solon's legacy, however, what is important is the historical status of human amity with the divine.
(26) Cf. Plato, Apol. 38a. The translation of ou biotos as "not worth living" indicates that for Socrates the unexamined life is less than human, or in other words a perversion of the erotic striving for human excellence.
(27) See, e.g., Freud 1920, 18.13.
(28) As in Freud 1920, 18.32.
(29) See Plato, Lovers 133cl-9, 133e5-6. In quoting Solon's teaching, the young polymath of the dialogue defines philosophy as "much learning" (polumathia), but this definition is rejected. Cf. Plato, Lack. 188b3-6, 189a and Rep. 536c9-d3.
(30) Strauss (2001, 266) observes that in Xenophon's Memorabilia 2.6.11-2 the Sirens' voice is a call to virtue.
(31) Cf. Plato, Rep. 539a3-4: "Then, I suppose, from law-abiding he will seem to become lawless."
(32) Ambury (2013, 262) has argued with good reason that Alcibiades' "epithumetic comportment" prevents him from ascending erotically to philosophy. However, the fact that Alcibiades is epithumetic or capable only of a brute desire for possession does not, itself, explain his failure to ascend philosophically. As Ambury rightly points out, in the roughly sixteen years that separate the drama of Plato's Alcibiades from that of the Symposium, Alcibiades remains epithumetic. But he also undergoes a change: he is no longer jealous or jealous simply of the young men who spend time with Socrates. Instead, he has become jealous of Socrates himself. In the Republic 576a4-7, Socrates distinguishes tyrannical eros from philia by explaining that a tyrant must live his entire life without friends, always one man's master or another man's slave. Because it is not Alcibiades' epithumetic comportment that changes, but rather the nature of his jealousy, we require a more nuanced account of how Alcibiades' jealous enslavement to Socrates prevents him from ascending to philosophy. That is to say, we require an account of the traumatic effects of Socrates' seduction of Alcibiades, or what I have called the trauma of eros split through Nachtrciglichkeit. For jealousy as a kind of slavery, see Plato, Symp. 210dl-3, 215e6-8, 216b7-cl. For an excellent commentary, see Gregory and Levin 1998, 404-10.
(33) I have borrowed the rhetorical figure of the chiasmus from Laplanche's (1976, 124) study of the genealogical structure underlying Freud's metapsychology.
(34) See, e.g., Lacan 1991 (1957), 147-8 and discussed below.
(35) Cf. Plato, Symp. 175d4-9, where Socrates jokes about whether wisdom can be received by direct exchange, "just as water flows through wool from the cup that is full to one that is empty." These lines, and indeed my thesis in the present essay, should be read as a continuation of Protagoras 314b 1-4, where Socrates warns: "But knowledge cannot be carried away in a separate vessel. When you hand over the price, you are compelled to take the doctrine into your soul, and so depart either injured or benefitted by learning it." For the insight that the Protagoras is a prelude to the Symposium, see Rosen 1999, 25.
(36) There is significant debate about the meaning of this passage. For example, Newell (2000, 94-5) has suggested that the "nothing" in Socrates alludes to the deep lack at the bottom of Socrates' erotic striving, and thus to the sense in which Socrates knows that he knows nothing, save for his skill in erotics (see Apol. 21d, Symp. 177d8-e2). Cooper (2008, 102-10) acknowledges Newell, but tries to argue through Plotinus that "being nothing" signifies Socrates' self-forgetting in erotic contemplation. Conversely, Konstan (2010, note 10) finds Cooper's reading ultimately "banal" for its termination in "a kind of popular spirituality" that undermines the "rewards of philosophy," which come from "the hard work of discursive analysis." These debates notwithstanding, what Newell and Cooper share is the treatment of Socrates as wholly erotic, which is the assumption that I challenge here.
(37) For readers concerned with the chronological order of the dialogues, and therefore with the veracity of such an allusion, it is worth noting that the Phaedo and the Symposium are typically associated within the same group of "early middle" dialogues, although the debate about giving chronological order to the dialogues is highly contentious. An important source in the argument for chronological dating is Guthrie 1975. For a compendium of the literature associated with this debate, see Zuckert 2009, 1-7.
(38) Whether Socrates is a conscious or unconscious carrier of Solon's legacy is an unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable, question. Worth noting, however, is Laplanche's emphasis that enigmatic messages transmitted from adult to infant are enigmatic to the adult as well. While Socrates may be a deliberate seducer of Alcibiades (as in Ale. 1 105d-e), this fact would not contradict Laplanche's understanding of seduction or its significance to the Symposium. Moreover, from the standpoint of psychoanalysis it is interesting that, according to Diogenes Laertius 3.1, Plato's mother was descended from Solon's brother, Dropides, meaning that Solon's legacy could be linked to a family drama extending back six generations.
(39) See Plato, Lysis 204b9-c2 and Tht. 150b7-151b7.
(40) See Plato, Tht. 150d8-9; cf. my discussion of noos above in [section] IV.
(41) See note 16 above.
(42) For a discussion of fetishism as the model of both neurotic and psychotic disavowal, see Bass's (2000, 223-31) engagement with Morris 1993, 33-54.
(43) See Lacan 1991 (1957), 239.
(44) See Freud 1914, 12.155.
(45) Not to be confused with the longstanding debate inspired by Vlastos (1973, 3-42) on whether philosophical eros is incompatible with loving others "for their own sake." Whereas Vlastos and his interlocutors are concerned with the rightful place of others in the happy life of contemplation, my comments are restricted to the assertion that the Symposium's depiction of a nonerotic Socrates points to the necessary conversion of eros into philia for the ascent to philosophy.
(46) See note 32 above.
(47) One finds a similar teaching in Aristophanes' tale of the original humans. In Aristophanes' version, however, the correlation between gods and fortune is reinforced by the fear that disobedience will result in a second slicing--this time down the nose, "like dice cut in two" (193a8-9). By choosing Eros as one's guide and leader, one is therefore supposed to escape the bad and win good fortune through becoming a friend to the gods (193a9-b6). It is yet another question whether in Aristophanes' tale the gods were motivated by jealousy or, more simply, a desire not to lose the honors and sacrifices the original humans bestowed upon them (190c7-8). While Aristophanes does not make explicit reference to the jealousy of the gods, it is sufficient for my interpretation that concern for jealousy shifts paradigmatically from gods to mortals in a way that correlates first with the intervention of eros into the ancient discourse on happiness from Solon to Socrates; and second, with the conversion of eros into philia that culminates finally in "philosophy free from jealousy." See also Plato, Symp. 206d2-3, for the role of beauty as a kind of fate in the genesis of philosophy.
(48) Cf. Nietzsche 1998, 3.26-8 (Morgenrote [section] 14), 2.502 (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches II [section] 301), 7.386, 8.99-100.
(49) Strauss (2001, 274) remarks on the identity of moderation with prudence and manliness with endurance, to which I have added the insight concerning Socrates' hubristic nature.
(50) Cf. Plato, Charm. 160d5-10.
(51) The Greek noun exapate is rightly translated as "deceit" or "deception," but it can also mean "seduction." In the verb form of exapatao--from ek (out/from) plus apatao (deceive)--seduction is a kind of "leading astray," which is accurate to the way Socrates' enigmatic messages have led astray the likes of Charmides, Glaucon, and Euthydemus, among others including the miserable Apollodorus--this according to Alcibiades (222b).
(52) Epictetus, Ench. [section] 1.
(53) This essay was written while I was a Lecturer on Social Studies at Harvard University. I am grateful to Rodrigo Chacon, Alex Gourevitch, Scott Staring, and the two anonymous reviewers for Helios for incisive comments that improved the final version of this study.
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|Date:||Sep 22, 2015|
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