Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love, “born into every human being”

Once upon a time, human beings were of three kinds: male, female, and androgynous. They had four hands, four legs, and two faces on a single head on a single neck. Zeus split each of these human beings in two, and so each half longed for its other. Aristophanes explains it all in Plato’s Symposium:

“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. . . .

“[W]e used to be complete wholes in our original nature, and now ‘love’ is the name for our pursuit of wholeness, for our desire to be complete.”
Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

[Translation by Alexander Nehemas and Paul Woodruff (Hackett, 1989).]

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