February 11, 2014

Aristophanes On The Power Of Love

At the beginning, man was round, and he had two faces, and four hands and feet, four ears and eyes.
Now the sexes were three, just as the moon, sun and earth are three. Man was originally the child of
the sun, woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the moon which is itself made up of both the sun
and the earth.

Now these children were terribly strong, and they attempted to scale the Heavens to reach the gods
and topple them from their lofty thrones. Scared, the gods searched a way to put an end to this without
killing the children of the sun, moon and earth, for that would mean the end of all the sacrifices and
offerings the latter gave them.

Zeus, the mightiest of the gods and father to many, came up with a plan to “enfeeble their strength and
so extinguish their turbulence”: he would cut the children in half. No sooner said than it was done. But
after the division was forced upon them, the two parts of man threw their arms about their missing
halves, wishing to grow back together.

Zeus, in pity, rearranged their organs so that they could procreate through such embraces and thereby
find some solace. “So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our
original nature, seeking to make one of two, and to heal the state of man.”

And when one meets its true other half, the intense yearning each feels for the other transcends the
carnal because the soul has now found its missing piece. And this pursuit of becoming whole is love.

Note: those who seek members of the other sex are actually descendants of the children of the
androgynous moon.

Origin Of Love by Hedwig And The Angry Inch on Grooveshark

http://www.anselm.edu/homepage/dbanach/sym.htm (Aristophanes's Speech from Plato's Symposium)


  1. To me, the most powerful description of love is given in St. Paul's letter to Corinthians, 13:4-7:

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    I was reminded of this today when at a wedding of my daughter's friend it was read as a sermon.

  2. Oh, and I loved Hedwig and the Angry Inch movie. A small inch for a person and a huge leap for mankind :)

    1. That passage was beautiful! Though it makes me wonder how many loves out there are truly like that.

      As for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I have yet to see it (or see the musical), but it's on my to-do list!