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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 27, Issue 4, 2017

Values and Ideals. Theory and Practice: Part V

Muk-Yan Wong
Pages 137-146

The Ideal Love: Platonic or Frommian?

In this paper, I compare two theories of ideal love, the Platonic and Frommian, and argue that they give opposite advices to lovers in practice. While Plato emphasizes “whom to love” and urges one to continuously look for a better beloved, Erich Fromm emphasizes “how to love” and urges one to grow and change with one’s imperfect lover. Using the movie Her as an example, I explain why an ideal love is extremely difficult to attain under the guidance of the Platonic and Frommian ideals. In an imperfect love, to leave or to stay seems to be a question with no simple answer.