In knowing love is value — immense value in fact — bestowed upon your beloved because you're committed to their welfare and want nothing more than to have them in your life the question left is:
'Why do you love them?’
The answer depends on who you ask; scientists think one thing, psychologists another, theologians something else. And yet, the person who really knows is you. Odd, I know, but the reason you love explains why we all love. So, my question to you is:
For all types of love — from romantic, through family, self, friendship, others in society, things and even ideals — what is it you want in love?
Plato and Diotima
To Plato, the answer is simple. ‘The good.’
"What the heck is the good?" you might say.
Diotima explains in the Symposium:
'...let me put the word "good" in the place of the beautiful, and repeat the question once more: If he who loves loves the good, what is it then that he loves?'
'The possession of the good,' I said.
'And what does he gain who possesses the good?'
'Happiness,' I replied; 'there is less difficulty in answering that question.'
'Yes,' she said, 'the happy are made happy by the acquisition of good things. Nor is there any need to ask why a man desires happiness; the answer is already final.’”
She says man desires happiness having already shown people avoid harm. She clarifies the nature and purpose of love:
'...the simple truth is, that men love the good.'
'Yes,' I said.
'To which must be added that they love the possession of the good?'
'Yes, that must be added.'
'And not only the possession, but the everlasting possession of the good?'
'That must be added too.'
'Then love,' she said, 'may be described generally as the love of the everlasting possession of the good?'
In conclusion, Plato tells us lovers seek a kind of happiness called 'the good.'
The good can't be defined regarding happiness, nor should it. What you think the good is different than what I think is good which is different for others. What can be said, however, is the good is the opposite of unhappiness. Close companionship, for example, is good for some while distant independence is good for others in terms of lifestyle. This means nobody seeks an unhappy life, and when unhappiness arrives lovers avoid it to pursue a sustained sense of happiness once more.
The Good Life & Good Beloved
In applying the good to a relationship the beloved brings a good life. It’s here I will be specific. The good can only be achieved with the beloved. The two are inseparable and all lovers are acutely aware of that fact.
On a beautiful cruise, for example, the ship is an integral part of the experience. In the absence of her, beauty as an experience is also absent. The lover can only possess the good with their beloved in their life.
In modernity, this idea of the good in love might sound unusual, but we use it all the time. In the clip from the movie Evita, Evita tells Juan Peron life with her will be good but only if it’s for the long-term, not just for the night.
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The idea of the good life with a beloved you consider equally good is idealised across the West to the perfect life with the perfect beloved. In reality lovers soon find real life kicks in. Then then know how they enjoy their good life with their perfect-imperfect beloved.
In Ella's song Hard Work, she explains how life with her beloved really is. She says that it's not easy but overall she knows her life is good and with that her beloved is good too.
It’s this overarching sense of good that we all recognise worth pursuing with the mind of possessing for as long as it lasts.