During a conversation in Plato’s Banquet, a philosopher decided to explain to his students the origins of people’s persistent urge to seek love. Where does love come from? Are we halve seeking wholeness? What did the wise man say? Here we explain it all.
The Androgynous, the endless search for love and the other half
Androgynous legend offers a detailed analysis of love.
This legend originates from Aristophanes’ monologue in Plato’s “The Banquet”. It aims to examine love from the most spiritual and natural angle, as well as the reasons why people are constantly searching for their soul mate.
The beginning of love: a narrative that explains everything
“In the first place, three were the sexes of men, not two as now, male and female, but there was also a third who was common to those two, whose name is still preserved, but he has perished.”
Both traits were present in the androgynous. The moon, usually between the two, was the androgynous figure, while the sun represented the man and the earth the woman.
“Secondly, each person had a perfectly spherical figure. It possessed four legs and four limbs. On the spherical neck, two faces are looking in different directions. They possessed two sexual organs and four ears.”
The entities were unaware of the variations in their physical forms because they were a single unit and so content and unwavering.
They were so adept at controlling their bodies that they believed themselves unstoppable. They moved swiftly when walking and performed bizarre gymnastic running movements that were characteristic of circus performers and acrobats.
Confident in their ability to achieve any goal thanks to the adaptability of their bodies and minds, they wanted to take on the gods. They wanted to take on the gods because they were confident of their overall power. They sought more authority, not because they were terrified.
Zeus decided to act, as his annoyance and concern were caused by this arrogant behavior.
To weaken an unwavering love
Somehow it seems to me that I have a clever strategy to weaken them instead of sacrificing them to preserve my existence.
They will be weaker once I break them in half, but they will also be more abundant and valuable to us. If after walking on two legs they are still arrogant and restless, I will cut them again and they will advance to one leg.
Zeus then used his thunderbolt to split all living beings in half. The task of healing the wounds and sustaining their life fell to Apollo, the god of healing and perfection. However, not everything went as planned.
“When the nature of this being split in two, each piece missed its counterpart and ended up reuniting with it. They embraced and surrounded each other, wishing to be of one nature and perished from hunger and complete inactivity because they did not want to be separated from each other.”
Zeus and Apollo came up with another method because they could not let the species go extinct: using the genitals.
Sexuality was created when Zeus made the genitals usable. He allowed beings to unite their bodies in an act that involved love, passion and relaxation rather than just a carnal impulse. The goal of sexuality would be to forge irrevocable relationships between two bodies.
As before, their genitals were on the outside and they gave birth to their young on the ground and not among themselves, like cicadas, they moved their genitals to the front.
Because of their visibility, they began to have conceptions of the male and female sexes.
Males with a male or female with a female would at least touch each other fully, rest, love each other, pay attention to their labors and attend to the other things of life; however, if there were only males and females embracing, they would reproduce and the species would continue to exist.
According to one part of the theory, love is inspired by a series of sensations that are difficult to explain and not by the attractiveness of a being. A strange motivation
Love is a spiritual relationship that does not distinguish between the sexes
Each gender – male, female and androgynous – has its counterpart. According to belief, every living being is linked to a particular type of nature. This unbreakable bond is a mysterious need for connection.
Try to create one person out of two and heal human nature. It is mutual love, intrinsic in humanity and the bond of old nature. The word “cure” is used because it means to return things to their original state, which was before Zeus and Apollo parted.
- Men who are the sons of an androgyne are attracted to women.
- Women who are androgynous by birth are attracted to men.
- Females born after separation from a female are attracted to other females.
- Males like the company of other males who are born from the splitting of a male creature.
As the saying goes, “There are those who profess to be shameless, but they are mistaken, for they do so not out of shamelessness, but out of boldness, for they seek to embrace that which is kindred to them.”
Same-sex love is pure love by nature.
Regardless of sex, Aristophanes argues that, after the division of bodies, each entity was irrevocably attached to one half and would frantically attempt to reunite with what it considered part of its nature. Hence, there are various sexual orientations.
Describing love, a heavenly desire
Aristophanes says in his short story that love is the search for what the spirit of every being considers unnatural: that which is inextricably linked to its essence.
How does someone in love feel? An enchanted bond
“They experience the great effects of friendship, affinity and love to the point of not wanting to be separated from each other even for a short period. They are people who live in each other’s presence and don’t even understand what they want from each other.
No one could believe that their goal is to combine their sexual desires and that this is the reason why each person looks forward to the other’s company with such enthusiasm. On the contrary, the spirit of each clearly longs for something else that it cannot explain verbally, but conjectures and communicates cryptically.”