Bodies Make the World Go 'Round

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At this post-intelligence moment in human history, if we asked Americans who is the greatest philosopher of love the answer might be Matthew Hussey, bestselling author of Get The Guy: Learn Secrets of the Male Mind to Find the Man You Want and the Love You Deserve, or perhaps Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider authors of that singularly successful Bible of man-hunting, The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. But for those old-schoolers out there, Plato is the man. For Plato, “The Rules” of love were all about the body, the beautifully proportioned and moving body. According to Plato, humans are attracted to each other because we literally fall in love with our lover’s body ratios. Here is the theory: Having learned the mystical qualities of numbers from that great romantic from the island of Samos, Pythagoras, Plato would develop the theory that love is more or less grounded on bodily proportions, and, most importantly, on the effective movement of well-proportioned bodies. This was literally of cosmic significance given that Plato, thanks again to Pythagoras, believed that the beautiful movements of the human body were synchronically connected to the movements of the soul which in turn were in concord with the movements of the heavenly bodies, which of course were effectively and harmoniously moved by that primordial mover, the One (God). If you notice the musical connotations here, that is not accident. Plato made the grand connection between the movements of human bodies and souls with those of the macrocosm through a great analogy of musical harmonies and concord. Plato got this idea also from Pythagoras who had identified the secrets of music as proportional ratios supposedly while loitering about in a shop in Samos sometime around 590 BC. Plato would go on to articulate these ideas in many of his most romantically inclined bestselling dialogues, the Symposium, and the Phaedrus in particular. Basically, when we fall in love we are literally attracted to and desirous of the lover’s beautiful bodily proportions which move beautifully and thus move us. That is, the lover’s body moves our soul, and this “vibration” is ideally in harmony with the proportions of the heavenly bodies. This corporeal musicality would be called the Great Chain of Being or the Music of the Spheres. Plato would say that in the end what we really desire when we are in love, what we are actually attracted to, is the One given that we simply want to be together with that primordial Lover, God, our ultimate soulmate. Thus, Platonic love is really the wish to un-forget (what Plato called anamnesis) that we were once in concord, corporeally, with God. It’s all about being moved to be with God. Love is the calling to be moved back into the body of God. That’s why we say, love makes the world go ‘round, because according to Plato, it literally does.