Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Divine Madness

I am planning to use this passage from Plato's Phaedrus to introduce my book, but I think it is also worthy of its own posting:

"There is also a madness which is the special gift of heaven and the source of the chiefest blessings among men. This divine madness is of four kinds - the gift of prophecy, religious ecstasy in which the soul is purified from sin, poetical inspiration, and lastly the madness of love.

I might tell of many other noble deeds which have sprung from inspired madness. And therefore, let no one frighten or flutter us by saying that temperate love is preferable to mad love, but let him further show, if he would carry off the palm, that love is not sent by the gods for any good to lover or beloved. And we, on our part, will prove in answer to him that the madness of love is the greatest of Heaven s blessings, and the proof shall be one which the wise will receive, and the witling disbelieve."

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