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According to Plato, the gods do not love, because they do not experience desires, inasmuch as their desires are all satisfied.

They can thus only be an object, not a subject of love (Symposium 200-1).

Plato argues there that eros is initially felt for a person, but with contemplation it can become an appreciation for the beauty within that person, or even an appreciation for beauty itself in an ideal sense.

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"Platonic love" in this original sense can be attained by the intellectual purification of eros from carnal into ideal form.

This process is examined in Plato's dialogue the Symposium.

nor notice the arrow that sped to his heart." If Love's a Sweet Passion, why does it torment? Since I suffer with pleasure, why should I complain, Or grieve at my Fate, when I know 'tis in vain?

Yet so pleasing the Pain is, so soft is the Dart, That at once it both wounds me, and Tickles my Heart.

At times the source of the arrows was said to be the image of the beautiful love object itself.

If these arrows were to arrive at the lover's eyes, they would then travel to and 'pierce' or 'wound' his or her heart and overwhelm him/her with desire and longing (lovesickness).

I beheld your features with my soul ere I saw them with my eyes; rumour, that told me of you, was the first to deal my wound." Whether by "first sight" or by other routes, passionate love often had disastrous results according to the classical authors.

In the event that the loved one was cruel or uninterested, this desire was shown to drive the lover into a state of depression, causing lamentation and illness.

It also differed from the meaning of the word in contemporary literature and poetry.

For Plato, eros is neither purely human nor purely divine: it is something intermediate which he calls a daimon.

The ancient philosopher Plato developed an idealistic concept of eros which would prove to be very influential in modern times.

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