BBC Radio 4

BBC animations on the History of Ideas by mirena

A History of Ideas is a BBC Radio 4 program of the same name.  BBC created animated shorts illustrating different ideas from the history of thought and narrated by Gillian Anderson.  Wondering about questions like "Why are things beautiful?" - philosophers and thinkers have already been wondering the same thing, for couple of millennia. Here are some of my favorite animations from their collection. I have transcribed the first one but when i get a chance i will do the others as well.

Diotima’s Ladder

"In Plato’s dialog the Symposium Socrates recalls Diotama’s teaching that a desire for one beautiful man’s body is just the first rung in a ladder that leads up to the appreciation of the form of Beauty. And so is merely a means to the higher end of appreciating the Abstract Idea.

This is Diotama’s teaching. To learn about beauty first recognize the physical beauty of your desired lover. Then, if you are rational, you’ll appreciate not just the individual loved one’s beauty, but also the physical beauty of others too. It would be absurd to only see beauty in one individual since bodies are so similar. From this the next step up the ladder is to see the beauty that lies beyond appearances. The beauty in wisdom and knowledge, the beauty of beautiful minds even if they happen to dwell in bodies which aren’t particularly beautiful. The last step is to come to recognize the form of beauty itself, the Abstract Pure general notion of Beauty. This form of beauty also carries with it moral qualities of Goodness. So if you take the first step of falling for the body of a beautiful youth, Diotima thinks you can progress from this to a more cerebral appreciation of Universal Beauty. Lust is on the bottom rung of the ladder and morality at the top. If you are prepared to make the ascent."

Feminine Beauty: A social construct?

Edmund Burke on the sublime

A link to the whole collection on the BBC website: