Greta G's Reviews > Socrates In Love

Socrates In Love by Kyōichi Katayama
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really liked it
bookshelves: owned-in-english, fiction, japan

Love is a form of violence that forces you to think.

There is not much to think about in living for oneself alone. Seeing only oneself is equivalent to seeing nothing. Only through love for someone outside of ourselves do we start thinking about the world and the meaning of true love, life and death.

"There's nothing in the world that can be thought through completely. Even if you think you've exhausted a subject, after a while you start feeling you haven't. And then you can think about it some more. Eventually, your thoughts gain a reality."

"There are things that come true in life, and things that don't. The things that actually happen, people forget about right away. But the things that never come true stay in our hearts forever. I'm talking about the things called dreams and longings. I think it's our feelings for these that sustain the beauty of life. All the things that didn't happen have come true, as beauty."

"My heart refused comprehension. If I took it in, I would fall apart. Like a frozen flower petal given a snap of the fingers, my heart would shatter to pieces."
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Reading Progress

August 16, 2015 – Shelved
February 17, 2018 – Started Reading
February 17, 2018 –
page 53
30.46%
February 22, 2018 –
page 139
79.89%
February 24, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Marc (new)

Marc Great review and quote, Greta. Indeed, out of our confrontation with reality (and especially other people) our “little” lives get some meaning. And dreams and longings are a great place to start with.


Greta G Thank you Marc.


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 25, 2018 04:52AM) (new)

Lovely quotes you have picked out there Greta and yes, love truly does open up a new world outside our own personal life bubble.

I do like this idea of some things staying with us forever in our hearts though, these 'dreams and longings'. it makes sense and I think they are never destined to become reality whereas quite often we discard something once we have actually experienced it. But we do hang on to certain experiences and I am wondering if that it is because they were not fully experienced, not yet ready to be discarded. So for example memories of a love relationship we tend to keep. I wonder why? Is it that they brought beauty into our lives which we long to hang on to and thus return to become 'dreams and longings'?


message 4: by Greta G (last edited Feb 25, 2018 08:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greta G Thanks Ian, I'm glad you liked the quotes.
Unlike you, I haven't given much thought about why people tend to cling to unfulfilled longings and dreams, and to unrequited love.
It feels to me that this phenomenon is too complex to even start trying to understand it. Just trying to think logically about it, it feels like my brain is shutting down:)
The only thing I can come up with, is that I feel our dreams and longings are idealistic expectations ; unrealistic aiming for perfection. Although these dreams and longings give beauty to your life, it can also quickly lead to shattered dreams. Why do people hold on to a job they dreamed of, or stay in a relationship they thought would make them happy, even if it's not working out and even bad for them?
How many of our ideals have really come true, and if they came true, made us really happy?
That's what I think the quote tries to convey. As long as one's conception of what would be perfect only exists in the imagination, it can have a beauty of its own, while in reality it can lead to disillusionment because it didn't made you as happy or whole or fulfilled as you dreamed it would.
That's probably why young people tend to be more idealistic than older people, who already experienced that idealistic dreams often are deceptive and that you must try to be content with what you have.

As for memories of a love relationship we tend to keep, especially when we weren't ready to discard it, it's even more difficult for me to understand why it's so hard to forget them and move on. The loss of a person we loved, can be painful for various reasons. But I wonder if maybe we also tend to idealize that person or that relationship once we've lost it? And that our imagination of how it could have been, brings more beauty to this lost relationship than it would bring in reality?
To tell you the truth, I have not much insight into the capriciousness and complexity of love :)


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 25, 2018 10:45AM) (new)

Well Greta I like your concept of older people living a less idealistic life. Because of the experiences of disillusionment over the years and also maybe one's dreams and hopes not coming true so perhaps losing faith in what we hope for. My son has a similar theory about why time seems to go quicker for older people. He thinks it is because I, for example, have a longer timeline to measure an experience against and also more experiences so that experience seems to go quicker as opposed to say a child who has an experience measured against maybe just 5 years of life experience. So it is proportional so yes maybe my our hopes and dreams are too.

...And that our imagination of how it could have been, brings more beauty to this lost relationship than it would bring in reality?... Hmmm... I think this is true depending on if you are prepared to look past the obvious and yes you might see the beauty of what could have been but that would be locked away as a dream again. Does this mean we can only live an imperfect life and perfection is a concept never to be realised in real life? It kind of fits in with my theory of motivation in that we are constantly striving for perfection but never get there. If we did we would no longer be motivated.

I'm wondering what you meant when you headed your review "Love is a form of violence that forces you to think"?


message 6: by Greta G (last edited Feb 25, 2018 02:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greta G I'm wondering what you meant when you headed your review "Love is a form of violence that forces you to think"?

The title "Socrates in Love" and the quote is taken from the book What Is Philosophy? by French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. In the book I've reviewed, the author explains in his Afterword that this was his point of departure in developing the character of the protagonist.

My son has a similar theory about why time seems to go quicker for older people. He thinks it is because I, for example, have a longer timeline to measure an experience against and also more experiences so that experience seems to go quicker...

Well, this explanation makes perfect sense to me. Our experiences have become, in great part, routine and some of our daily activities, we seem to perform on 'automatic pilot'. So there's less intensity (and sometimes less satisfaction) in our experiences when we get older and I think that's also the reason why we feel time flies by so fast. I think anyone can feel the difference very good, when you expose yourself to new experiences, for example on the occasion of a vacation or trip, during which we can have that peculiar feeling that time lasts much longer and your experiences feel more intense.
And after a vacation, the first workday seems to last forever :)

I have a family member, who's convinced that time goes quicker because the earth is rotating faster. Hahaha. When you look it up, you find that the earth's rotation is in fact slowing slightly with time, and days are now longer than in the past ; about 1,7 milliseconds longer than a century ago) :)
Some people really believe everything they hear god knows where, without asking questions.

Hmmm... I think this is true depending on if you are prepared to look past the obvious and yes you might see the beauty of what could have been but that would be locked away as a dream again.

Yes, I guess you were saying pretty much the same as I did about idealizing a 'what could have been' situation.
I see you already mentioned this in your previous message ("Is it that they brought beauty into our lives which we long to hang on to and thus return to become 'dreams and longings'?")

Does this mean we can only live an imperfect life and perfection is a concept never to be realised in real life? It kind of fits in with my theory of motivation in that we are constantly striving for perfection but never get there. If we did we would no longer be motivated.

Hmmm... :) I really don't know, Ian. We certainly can experience happiness and fulfillment when we achieve certain goals in our life, but it seems this is not a lasting feeling. So much can happen and change in our lives, things we didn't take into account when we planned our lives. So yes, maybe we have to accept we lead an imperfect life and have imperfect relationships which forces us to adjust our dreams and longings along the way.


message 7: by Fred (new) - added it

Fred Shaw Insightful review and I liked the quotes. I also like your opening to the review about the importance of other people in our lives and how they help us view our surroundings. This one needs to be in my “bucket list” TBR.


Greta G I'm glad you liked it, Fred, because I realize it's hard to understand a review like this, without having read the book.
I could have talked about the content of the book, but then I feel I'm only repeating what's been done in the other reviews (and probably better than I ever could), so in this case I tried to convey another, not so obvious aspect of my reading experience.
I'm looking forward to know which reading experience you will have with this one, Fred, if you'll ever get to reading it.


message 9: by HBalikov (new)

HBalikov Thank you, Greta, for your approach to this review and the discussion that has followed.

It made me consider the love that children have and whether, as we "mature," that our love changes, of necessity, into something quite different.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

HBalikov wrote: "Thank you, Greta, for your approach to this review and the discussion that has followed.

It made me consider the love that children have and whether, as we "mature," that our love changes, of nece..."


Hi HBalikov

I am quite sure it does. So what you are saying is that love is fluid and constantly changes depending on the circumstances. A really interesting thought to throw into the pot HBalikov


Greta G HBalikov wrote: "Thank you, Greta, for your approach to this review and the discussion that has followed.

It made me consider the love that children have and whether, as we "mature," that our love changes, of nece..."


I agree with Ian, H., it's an interesting thought.
However nobody seems to know exactly what love, and especially romantic love, really means. Not even when you're older and more mature! :)

Here's a quote from a book I've read and want to share with you, for further contemplation:

“Love changes,” she replied. “When the flame dies, the glow remains, but it no longer centers upon one human creature and it warms the whole soul. Then the soul looks at all human creatures with love diffused.”
― Pearl S. Buck, Peony


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