Saturday, April 9, 2011

"I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means" ~ Inigo Montoya

At some point in everyone's lives, we find ourselves attempting to explain our relationships.  It happens.  We are either trying to announce our availability, or defend our 'taken' status. Invariably, we have a friendship that we describe as 'strictly platonic'.

Now, in doing a little research, I have discovered that this is one of the most misused words in the english language. We use it to paint a picture of two people with similar interests, who are able to interact devoid of any romantic or physical attraction.

If we only knew the truth. *laughs ironically*

The origin of the word Platonic reads as follows:

Plato did not invent the term or the concept that bears his name, but he did see sexual desire as the germ for higher loves. Marsilio Ficino, a Renaissance follower of Plato, used the terms amor socraticus and amor platonicus interchangeably for a love between two humans that was preparatory for the love of God. From Ficino's usage, Platonic (already present in English as an adjective to describe what related to Plato and first recorded in 1533) came to be used for a spiritual love between persons of opposite sexes. In our own century Platonic has been used of relationships between members of the same sex. Though the concept is an elevated one, the term has perhaps more often been applied in ways that led Samuel Richardson to have one of his characters in Pamela say, "I am convinced, and always was, that Platonic love is Platonic nonsense."

The key is in the very first sentence.  ...sexual desire as the germ for higher loves...  Plato believed that a relationship evolved into something more pure, more spiritual.  Therefore, for one to achieve a true platonic relationship, one must start with the lower form of physical attraction and work one's way up!

I am starting to have a better understanding of the 80 year old couple sitting in the park, holding hands.

As far as the guy who sits in the cube next to yours who says good morning every day, and cracks the occasional joke that only you can hear?  Well, your relationship with him hasn't grown feet and crawled out of the ocean yet...  believe it or not, Harry was right:

Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally: So you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry: No, you pretty much want to nail 'em too.
Sally: What if they don't want to have sex with you?
Harry: Doesn't matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post - When Harry Met Sally is a classic!