In my final semester of undergrad, I spent a great deal of time studying the Lysis, one of the more overlooked platonic dialogues. Aimed around friendship, the Lysis focuses around Socrates’ discussion with two Athenian youths regarding the virtue of friendship. At first sight, Lysis is determined to be the more beautiful of the two, as Socrates recognizes him immediately, donning a floral crown, and saw immediately that he was both beautiful and good.
At the time, I was going through a turning point in my life. My issues with depression and anxiety, which I had been avoiding acknowledging for years, became unmanageable. Reading the dialogue, two questions rose above the others and remained in my mind long after the class ended; what is it to be beautiful and good? And what does it mean to be a friend, to others, but also to one’s self?
I realized that Socrates was right about one thing; the examined life is the life worth living. I couldn’t just think about these questions as theoretical possibilities in ancient texts while ignoring what they pointed to in my own life. I needed some beauty and goodness, and I needed to learn how to be a friend to myself. So that’s what I set out to do.
The Lysist is an experiment in self love, inspired by the platonic dialogue it draws it’s name from. Here, I document my own journey, both successes and failures, in building a better life with beauty and love. Self care, small bits of encouragement, along with struggles and anxieties will be included here, both in the hope that putting this journey into words might lead me to some sort of healing, and in the hope that someone else might find inspiration or hope among the words.