A Night of Philosophy in Mykonos – Symposion on Love
September 5, 2017, 9pm
To justify this topic of conversation submitted to the other banqueters, Eryximachus claimed that “no one ever down to the present day has ventured worthily to hymn Eros”, and that it was about time to “adorn the god”. With this in mind, I proposed to eight philosophers and artists and musicians to participate in a traditional Greek symposion, not only for the classic reference to Plato, because the event was to take place in Greece, but also because I thought, like Eryximachus in his time, that Love is quite a neglected subject today. Maybe it is a consequence of the illusion, we all share, that we know it too well after centuries of western philosophy, literature and visual arts having produced so many stories, so many images, of divine love, of courtly love, of romantic love, of hollywood love, after so many centuries conveying a certain idea that to love is to give, giving thus the theoretical privilege to Agape over Eros, and, in so doing, leaving us today with the real difficulty to recognize or know what Love is, and where it is in a contemporary world not really adequately characterized by an Agape impulse. Today Love seems everywhere and nowhere – and hence perhaps even more difficult to talk about, to philosophize about, to define, than 25 centuries ago when it was obvious that Love was a God, and his name was Eros. But could it be possible that the situation today is quite the opposite? Have we been celebrating Love all too much and for too long?
25 centuries ago, the philosopher portrayed by Plato, after signalling to the others his atopia (loosing himself easily in meditation), claims against all odds to “know nothing except the things of love”, facing the poets and the specialists of medical, social and religious speeches. Consequently, 25 centuries later, in Mykonos, Grece, it is a great privilege to be able to gather philosophers to reclaim the privilege and love of speeches, to raise this question again in such a context offered by an artistic manifestation (Mykonos Biennale) and hosted by Lydia Venieri, visual artist, to experience that possibly philosophers still “know nothing except the things of love”.
Mériam Korichi, August 2017