Plato: Lysis

Lysis: Old man wishes he was young again. A man Hippothales, feels slighted by not acquiring the attention of a popular young man. Socrates says that he will show Hippothales how to talk to young popular men. “I may perhaps be able to show you how to converse with him, instead of singing and reciting in the fashion of which you are accused.” (7) Socrates insists:

“If he slips away from you, the more you have praised him, the more ridiculous you will look at having lost this fairest and best of blessings; and therefore the wise lover does not praise his beloved until he has won him, because he is afraid of accidents. There is also another danger: the fair, when any one praises or magnifies them, are filled with the spirit of pride and vainglory. Do you not agree with me?” (6)

Then, Socrates makes brief statements about “lover” and “beloved in confusing terms that are grammatically and semantically outdated.

But two things are concretely salvageable within the dialogue:

  1. That the common notion of “birds of a feather flock together” or in his terms “like goes with like” is false in the sense that there needs to be completion rather than complement. He enlists the following: “The try desires the moist, the cold the hot, the bitter the sweet, the sharp the blunt, the voice the full, and the full the void, and so of all other things.” (20-21) He argues that “opposite is the food of the opposite, whereas like receives nothing from like.”
  2. There is such thing as good, evil, and not good or evil. Health is good, disease is evil and the body is neutral.

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