MANIA is ‘divine folly’. For many philosophers of ancient times this spiritual foolishness implies positive as well as negative aspects. Nowadays the word <mania> has different meanings.
Platon (Plato) identifies four types of mania. And their respective treatments are in association with the divinity responsible for each particular type.
<Theia mania> is the term in use by Sokrates (Socrates) and Platon. It refers to a condition of unusual behaviour due to the action of a god. In the Platonic dialogue Phaedrus, Sokrates (Socrates) describes the state of divine inspiration. “In families that accumulate vast wealth there are awful plagues and afflictions of the soul. However, mania devises a remedy, inasmuch as the same is a gift from the gods, if only to be rightly frenzied and possessed, using proper atonement rituals“.
Also Platon, in the same dialogue, describes the divine madness as a gift of the gods. “In fact, the best things we have come from madness“. He elaborates on this concept in Ion. In eastern cultures, it is a catalyst and means for the profound understanding of spiritual notions.
The poet Virgil, in Book VI of Aeneid, says that the Cumaean Sybil makes predictions in a manic state. “From her face its color flows. Her twisted locks flow free. The heaving breast swells with her heart’s wild blood. Her stature seems vaster. Her accent more than mortal man. As all the oncoming gods around her breath“.
In conclusion, we have to mention, in relation to divine madness in Ancient Greece, the Maenads and Bacchae. These women do experience a strong form of spiritual folly in association with the god Dionysus.
<Mania> is ‘divine folly’. And in the classical world, “love at first sight” is in the frame of the general idea of passionate love, a kind of madness.