When Romance And Philosophy Meet

by Editor on July 17, 2013



“Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love” *. Smiling to yourself as you fly walk down the street, finding it hard to think of anything but that special person;

I dare say that every person who is aware of the concept of romance awaits the day when s/he will also experience that wonderful feeling. Films, literature and the media culture play no small role in creating romantic ideals and dreams, and most people do hope that they too will enjoy the giddiness of romantic love. Lately, I wondered what philosophy has to say about romantic love- here’s a taster…


How can we speak of philosophers without starting with the famous philosopher and scientist, Plato who lived between 427 and 347 BCE in Classical Greece.

I couldn’t help myself from making biblical connections when reading a theory presented in Plato’s Symposium that speaks of six friends in Athens who are sitting, drinking and praising the Greek god of love, Eros. One of the six, Aristophanes describes how sexual partners seek each other due to descending from three beings that were made up of two sets of human limbs and two faces back-to-back (Adam and Eve anybody?).

This story seems to reflect the idea of reciprocity between men and women and is thus relevant to modern romanticism.

Rene Girard

The French historian, literary critic and philosopher of social science associates himself with anthropological philosophy who argues that romantic attraction is the product of jealousy and rivalry- primarily arising when observing the attraction between two other people. A couple of famous examples that seem to illustrate this theory are Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher who lived in the nineteenth century and was best known for his claim that the world is driven by a perpetually dissatisfied will that is always seeking satisfaction (presented in his book The World as Will and Representation).

Schopenhauer claimed that were we to be rid of the challenge of courtship, we would be suicidal with boredom. He was of the opinion that we seek partners who share interests and tastes with us while also looking for someone who will complement us.

Iain King

Iain King is a British writer who is known for his hybrid-philosophy and has influenced, through his works, the British Liberal Democrats, as well as the Buddhist community. Some undergraduate philosophy programs teach his works.

King interestingly established six rules for romance which he sees as applicable across all cultures- three of those rules are;

Don’t flirt with someone unless you mean it

Do not pursue someone you’re not interested in or who isn’t interested in you

Express your feelings (affection or uncertainty) clearly- unless there is a special reason not to do so.

Well- I think they’re pretty sensible and I wish that we will all aspire to live as honestly and openly as King recommends…

This is obviously only a drop in the huge sea of philosophy but it did provide me some food for thought and I hope it provided some for you too. Meanwhile, I will carry on being the hopeless romantic that I am, breezing through fields of grass with my shoes in hand, noticing the rich details in this wonderful world, wearing my heart on my sleeve and around my neck (unsurprisingly I love any heart-themed jewelry) and counting my blessings for the steady husband who keeps me from floating too far into the sky…

About the Author

Rivkah Abrahams writes for Canaan-online.com blog. This website offers many romantic gifts such as hearts, jemstones and many others. If you wish to buy a unique romantic gift, Canaan-online.com is the place for you to visit: http://www.canaan-online.com/Hearts_s/659.htm

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