Here is what Plato wrote:
This then is the fourth type of madness, which befalls when a man, reminded by the sight of beauty on earth of the true beauty, grows his wings and endeavours to fly upwards, but in vain, exposing himself to the reproach of insanity because like a bird he fixes his gaze on the heights… – Phaedrus 249
And here is an extract from my soon-to-be published Dating – the missing manual, from the section towards the end called, ‘Is true love possible?’:
Love at first sight.
Yes, it can happen.
In rare cases it really works out. Lovers sometimes feel that they must have met in a previous life. Whether they really did or not neither they nor anyone else can tell, but sometimes it works out.
But it isn’t the only way and these feelings are not always reliable. I’m not saying they’re never true, but us humans are also very good at fooling ourselves.
It is quite possible to fall in love because of our own unmet need for warmth and affection. No doubt the desire for sex plays a big part in this too. For some, the sex part looms largest, for others sex follows on from love. Either way, a starving man will accept any food.
We must beware our own unmet needs.
Serious mistakes can be made, such as unwanted sticky relationships. Obvious perhaps, but such mistakes are common. Be skeptical of your own falling in love, be cautious, don’t commit too soon.
I have heard it said that falling in love lasts for twelve weeks, or in rare cases if you are exceptionally lucky, thirteen. (I don’t think this is absolutely accurate, but you get the point.)
Sure, it is fine indeed to see everything bathed in unusual light, to know that the world is a dream, to feel the strangeness and the ache of being in love. Trying to avoid this state is either going to fail or turn you into a grey zombie. You can’t and shouldn’t fight it.
But don’t promise anything you may not be able to deliver. You don’t need to make promises to keep a woman. You just need to be yourself, and if she’s right for you, it will work out.
Relationships that are good for the long haul will evolve over time. Falling in love is the match that lights the candle. The candle may or may not be lit by the time the match goes out.
For others, it is a slow burn process – they meet, they kind of like each other but aren’t sure, they hang around each other some more, and gradually like a smoky bonfire of damp wood, steam comes and then the fire.