Last updated on Sep 28, 2016
By Harry Pearse
That book. That quote. Wonderful. Beautiful. Life changing…ever had the words of a book jump off the page at you? Where an idea literally makes you shake with excitement, onto a very scary and unrecognized path mixed with the respect of brilliance, and it makes you read more and more.
At the moment, I am reading Aristotle’s metaphysics. It’s terrifying, completely petrifying, but it’s absolutely incredible. Being a philosophy major, maybe I am biased towards the fact that Aristotle is a God, a genius, and completely great. Yet, I would argue the fact that everyone should have an interest in what it actually is to Be, with a capital B, and what reality is, and whether we actually live in it. (Read ‘the allegory of the cave’; you’ll know what I mean).
Don’t all of us have books, which tickle something inside of us? That one book which fondled with those heart strings, or messed with YOUR head and made YOU really think about who you are and how you carry yourself? Well, I think I have the right to assume that many of those books might be about love. Am I right? Well, I have just the book for you.
In fact, it’s a very short essay written by Plato, and taken from the wise guru named Socrates, who I hope you have all heard of. It’s about love. Plain and simple. Now we have to remember that Socrates believed that ‘the many’—the people who didn’t bother to acquire knowledge or ‘wisdom’—weren’t worthy of such a ‘divine’ thing as love. It’s way too sacred, way too gorgeous for the people of the materialistic world to even comprehend, let alone receive or give to another.
The first time I read this incomprehensibly stunning piece, I cried. I balled my eyes out. There are probably still tearstains on the pages, which presented me with incomparable beauty. And why? Maybe the daunting reality at what I thought was love, never was; maybe it was the fact I am a complete sucker for that type of language and how it was written. I don’t know. But it presented me with a scary realism, and with so much grace.
In hindsight, my reaction to what I read and the interpretation on which I defined my beliefs afterwards could have been improved…I began to believe that none of us could reach pure divinity of love (much like Socrates’ thought). That we are all obsessed and disillusioned by this consumeristic and materialistic world, where we can’t see further then the dollar bills or the best way to look within the current fashionistic images. I thought that all we wanted to do in terms of love is follow an Instagram page or watch videos of that ‘perfect’ couple who look like they are in complete bliss.
But, although I still believe that many of us are stuck within this ‘fake’ reality, my dogma has changed. Now I believe that we can all achieve this God-like notion of love in the purest of fashions. Yes, we may have to adopt different opinions of how we should ‘look’ in a relationship, and how we should act. We may also need to change our perception on beauty, and decide whether this is the drive of our trueness to love, or whether again, it’s a materialistic notion we have developed. But I really do believe, as a society, humans love inherently. Love, in its natural state, is within all of us.
Now, going back to the relevance and the beauty of books—something seemingly forgotten by many in our generation—we need to realize that books and essays, or articles such as “The Phaedrus,” and “The Symposium,” written thousands of years ago, are yet here at our disposal, screaming at us to be read. They want us to learn their knowledge and ‘wisdom’ of love and life. Don’t be scared. One passage I read has affected my life in such a dramatic way that it completely changed the way I look at things. It might do that for you, too. Not just the subject of love, but politics, philosophy, economics…anything you want to read, any questions you have, find the book. It’s there. It’s just waiting to be found. Go get it!