Distinctio (dis-tinc’-ti-o): Eliminating ambiguity surrounding a word by explicitly specifying each of its distinct meanings.

Love: A desire for the ‘other.’

Love’s desire ranges from carnal to Platonic. Accordingly, one may claim to love another person on the basis of a carnal desire for the other person. I know it’s stupid, but it’s what we do.

But carnal desire and its fulfillment set a shaky foundation for love: Why shaky? Because it demands love making: a bodily experience whose gratification is short-lived. Its repetition in a given relationship gives it a slight echo of love’s eternity, but its ‘carnal truth’ is short lived & we all know it.

Platonic love is set on a more enduring, stable and appropriate foundation and best deserves the name of Love–it is closer to a spiritual experience. As it has been handed down, Platonic Love requires a relationship grounded in edifying communication. It fosters learning the IDEA of love, and it’s love’s Idea rightly learned that prompts and aims one’s particular ‘loves’ to be taken up with a MUTUAL focus on the IDEA of love, not each other’s bodies. (See Plato’s Phaedrus)

So, it looks like to be happy, maybe one must ‘go Platonic’ and come to understand that it isn’t simply desire that pulls us through life in the right direction, it is RIGHT desire. In this case, it is a desire for edifying love, that may rarely include sex, but whose prominent characteristic is the mutual exploration of Love’s  IDEA, and striving to learn together, and affect the RIGHT IDEA together. That is, insofar as their co-presence constitutes a relationship, the relationship is grounded in a mutual desire, conversationally, to explore the question: What is love?

Now ask what love is for you: Is it the repetition of  lust’s fulfillment, or an eternal IDEA that enables you to KNOW whether you’ve met your soulmate and allows your soulmate to work out their understanding of the concept of love in a conversation, where participants bear the conversational burden, through Q&A toward discovering a mutually satisfying IDEA of love–an Idea of Love that one might trust because of its foundation in Truth and rejection of carnality.

  • Post your own disntinctio on the “Comments” page!
  • Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

A paper edition of The Daily Trope, entitled The Book of Tropes, is available for purchase on Amazon for $9.99 USD. It contains over 200 schemes and tropes with their definitions and at least 2 examples of each. All of the schemes and tropes are indexed, so it’s easy to find the one you’re looking for. Not only that, the examples of schemes and tropes may prompt you to try to create one scheme or trope per day, starting with abating.


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