Friday, 20 March 2015 20:00

7. Love as Theme and Melody: Between Sublime and Beautiful

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One of the most challenging topics in philosophical counseling is love. Love is more an emotion than a philosophical term. To speak about love is difficult – partly because of the ineffability of emotions and partly because of their individual character as feelings.

The intriguing point about love, from a philosophical point of view, is that, in many disciplines, love is an umbrella term for many things we consider important for our sense of life-affirmation, e. g. in Christian theology, where love has the same coordinating role as the idea of Good (ἀγαθόν) for Plato.

From 18th century onwards, aesthetics has become a necessary supplement of morality. A significant part of modern aesthetics – mostly a palimpsest on Kant's Third Critique – is based on the tension between two principles: the Sublime and the Beautiful. If we try to consider love in these terms, we could claim: the Beautiful stands for harmony, sensuality and the vitality of convention in a positive sense; the Sublime for inwardness and freedom, sexuality and difference.

The Beautiful and the Sublime are two indispensable features of discourses on love. In addition, we could say that love's position is in the middle of both poles and that our perception of love is based on the dialectical movement in between. This dialectic is extremely hard to describe, but, for the good sake of philosophical practitioners, there is Nietzsche's aphorism 334 from Book Four of The Gay Science:

"One must Learn to Love. – This is our experience in music: we must first learn in general to hear, to hear fully, and to distinguish a theme or a melody, we have to isolate and limit it as a life by itself; then we need to exercise effort and good will in order to endure it in spite of its strangeness, we need patience towards its aspect and expression, and indulgence towards what is odd in it: – in the end there comes a moment when we are accustomed to it, when we expect it, when it dawns upon us that we should miss it if it were lacking: and then it goes on to exercise its spell and charm more and more, and does not cease until we have become its humble and enraptured lovers who want it, and want it again, and ask for nothing better from the world."



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Manos Perrakis

I am a philosophical practitioner from Athens, Greece, based in Berlin, where I received my Ph.D. from Humboldt University. My areas of interest are History of Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, Aesthetics (Philosophy of Music), Philosophical Anthropology and Practical Philosophy.

As a philosophical practitioner, I offer education and consulting services for individuals and organizations. I have conducted philosophical cafés for the wide public and workshops for counseling professionals. My current focus lies on the development of education and consulting formats inspired by philosophy and literature.

My book publications include a monograph on Nietzsche’s philosophy of music in German, a novel in Greek, and an anthology of Early German Romanticism.

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