Pausanias provides an analysis of what he means by accepting a lover in the Heavenly manner:
It is honorable for a young man Y to accept a lover X iff
- X realizes he's justified in performing P for Y who returns the favor by performing Q
- Y understands he's justified in Q for X because X can make Y virtuous and wise
- X can make Y virtuous and wise
- Y is eager to be taught by X
The idea is that it is honorable for a young man to accept a lover just in case the lover realizes he can provide services for the young man who returns services in kind, and they both understand they are justified in this interaction with the eager young man gaining wisdom and virtue from the deal, and both can gain what they desire.
One worry to have about this is the transactional nature of honorable acceptance of a lover. For a young man to accept another as lover, the young man must essentially be engaged in cost-benefit analysis. Consider, according to this analysis the following holds: It is honorable for young man Y to accept lover X where,
- X realizes he is justified in performing P for Y who returns the favor by performing Q
- Y understands he's justified in Q for X because X can make Y virtuous and wise because X knows Z who is virtuous and wise, and while X tells Y he does not intend to lead Y to Z, Y holds out hope any way
- X can make Y virtuous and wise through Z
- Y is eager to be taught by X because Y hopes X will teach Y what X has learned from Z or will introduce Y to Z
Pausanias might respond that Y loves virtue and wisdom. My quarrel here is not that, however, but rather that this should not count as honorable acceptance of a lover. Rather, it’s honorable acceptance of wisdom and virtue. The lover is incidental. Related, it seems counter-intuitive to claim love is never for the sake of an individual – the lover – rather than as some instrument.