NullVector Posted November 4, 2016 Share Posted November 4, 2016 Has anybody else here read this? I read it recently (wanting to know a bit more about what 'romantic' vs. 'Platonic' love might imply) and found it super interesting! Quick summary: there is a party attended by Socrates and friends, who are tasked with giving a speech praising love. I found Aristophanes' speech particularly interesting, as it seems to relate directly to popular western conceptions around 'romantic' love (modern ones as well: think Hollywood movies!). Apparently it's where we get terms like 'other half' and 'soulmate' from. Also (and this is where it gets more relevant to aros, IMO) it illustrates that notions about single people as being in some sense broken/lacking/unfulfilled/not fully realised as human beings (and I guess we are all familiar with these sorts of popular notions!) may have quite deep roots in western culture. You can read the whole speech here: http://www.anselm.edu/homepage/dbanach/sym.htm. Or, failing that, the 'TL;DR' is: Aristophanes tells a kind of 'creation myth' about humankind, saying that we were originally beings comprised of two heads, four arms, four legs, etc. - but were then divided in half by the Gods, to punish us. And so, ever since then, we subconsciously desire to return to our original 'whole' state - through the act of (romantic) love. Here's a relevant quotation re. that: Quote Suppose Hephaestus [Blacksmith to the Gods], with his instruments, to come to the pair [of lovers] who are lying side by side and to say to them, 'What do you mortals want of one another?' They would be unable to explain. And suppose further, that when he saw their perplexity he said: 'Do you desire to be wholly one; always day and night in one another's company? for if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt and fuse you together, so that being two you shall become one, and while you live live a common life as if you were a single man, and after your death in the world below still be one departed soul, instead of two--I ask whether this is what you lovingly desire and whether you are satisfied to attain this?'-- There is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love. Interesting, no? I read the above and thought: I don't desire that at all! (being bound to another person forever; total extinction of individual autonomy? Yuk!) But I'm not sure that that's a typical reaction, as many 'allo-romantic' people do seem to desire something like it? (y'know, that whole normalised cultural phenomena of wanting to do everything together and be together all the damn time with a romantic partner!) Thoughts? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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