Aristophanes on Love!

Something interesting that I read today. This is part of a short speech by the Greek poet,  Aristophanes on the subject of love. The origin of love.

To understand love, we must first understand the origin of human-being. He tells a story of how humans originally had two faces, four legs, four hands, two sets of sexual organs. There were also three sexes of humans – male-male, female-female and andogynous (Have both male and female characteristics and sexual organs aka male-female). They possess tremendous strength and might; with very grand ambitions. Thus, the humans attempted to overthrow the Gods, and when the Gods saw this, they decided to punish the humans by cutting them in half and then scattering these halves across the world, weakening them.

So each human now had one face, two legs, two hands and one set of sexual organs; in other words, they have the human form that we now know of. If they were previously male, then their own other half would be male, and likewise with the females. But if they were previously hermaphrodites, their other half would be of the opposite sex. Whichever way, because their natural form had been cut in two, each human longed painfully for its own half.

And thus Aristophanes continues:

This then is the source of our desire to love each other. Love is born into every human being, it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature.

And so, when a person meets the half that is his very own, then something wonderful happens: the two are struck from their senses by love, by a sense of belonging to one another, and by desire, and they don’t want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment.

These are the people who finish out their lives together and still cannot say what it is they want from one another. No one would think it is the intimacy of sex – that mere sex is the reason each lover takes so great and deep a joy in being with the other. It’s obvious that the soul of every lover longs for something else; his soul cannot say what it is, but like an oracle it has a sense of what it wants, and like an oracle it hides behind a riddle. Suppose two lovers are lying together, and Hephaestus stands over them with his mending tools, asking, “What is it you human beings really want from each other?

Seeing the humans perplexed by the question, and he asks them again: “Is this your heart’s desire then – For the two of you to become parts of the same whole, as near as can be, and ever to separate, day or night? Because if that’s your desire, I’d like to weld you together and join you into something that is naturally whole, so that the two of you are made into one. Then the two of you would share one life, as long as you lived, because you would be one being, and by the same token, when you died, you would be one and not two in Hades, having died a single death. Look at your love, and see if this what you desire: wouldn’t this be all the good fortune you could want?”

Surely you can see that no one who received such an offer would turn it down; no one would find anything else that he wanted. instead, everyone would think he’d found at least what he had always wanted: to come together and melt together with the one he loves, so that one person emerged from two. Why should this be so? It’s because, as I said, we used to be complete wholes in our original nature, and now ‘Love’ is the name for our pursuit of wholeness, for our desire to once again be complete.”

Extracted from The Speech of Aristophanes, in Plato’s Symposium.

After reading this, only one question remains in my head: WHERE THE FUCK YOU CHUCKED MY OTHER HALVES TO AFTER CUTTING IT, GOD?!!

Can anyone answer the 2 bolded questions?

Aristophanes on Love!

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