SOCRATES

But now I will leave you in peace, and try to give the account of Love which I once heard from a woman of Mantinea, called Diatoma….Love is a great god and must be reckoned beautiful, but she employed against me…Love is neither beautiful nor good.

"What do you mean, Diotoma?" I said. "Is Love ugly and bad?"

"Don't say such things," she answered; "do you think that anything that is not beautiful is necessarily ugly?"

"Of course I do."

"And anything that is not wisdom is ignorance? Don't you know that there is a state of mind half-way between wisdom and ignorance?"

"What do you mean?"

"Having true convictions without being able to give reasons for them," she replied. "Surely you see that such a state of mind cannot be called understanding, because nothing irrational deserves the name; but it would be equally wrong to call it ignorance; how can one call a state of mind ignorance which hits upon the truth? The fact is that having true convictions is what I called it just now, a condition half-way between knowledge and ignorance."

"I grant you that," said I.

"Then do not maintain that what is not beautiful is ugly, and what is not good is bad. Do not suppose that because, on your own admission, Love is not good or beautiful, he must on that account be ugly and bad, but rather that he is something between the two."

Symposium, Plato