How the Divided Line Helps to Understand Love

A look at the philosophical argument that the “Divided Line” helps to understand love.

This paper argues that the divided line can help to understand the concept of love. The paper discusses the beliefs of Diotima and how he explains that when a person moves from the lowest section of the divided line to the highest section, he becomes like the Form itself and then he can bring about forms of Love.
“The idea of the divided line appears to refer only to the difference between opinion and knowledge. Love seems to have nothing to do with the line since when we think of love, we think of emotion. However, the divided line can actually help people to understand love. After all, the divided line is not so much about divisions as it is about stages and a progression. Love also is a matter of progression. As Diotima states: “A lover who goes about this matter correctly must begin in his youth to devote himself to beautiful bodies” (Plato, Symposium 57). Love is a Form, and the person has to begin at the lowest level before the highest can be understood. Love is one of the most difficult of all the subjects in life, and the idea of the divided line can help us to understand it.”