Friday, January 22, 2010

So, That Explains It!

I'm going to sort of cop-out on my post today and post a blurb from a book I'm reading - but I AM posting because I found it to be very profound and thought-provoking. Definitely gets the brain waves moving, forming various opinions and impressions. It is an interesting treatise on romantic partnerships and a neat metaphor for why we silly singles keep going out there trying to look for love. It strangely makes this whole business sound really silly and useless, while simultaneously validating it, proving that you are not alone in this search and that there's reason behind it. Think about it! Very interested to hear impressions, if any...enjoy!
"Once upon a time, Aristophanes relates (in a scene from Plato's The Symposium), there were gods in the heavens and humans down on earth. But we humans did not look the way we look today. Instead, we each had two heads and four legs and four arms - a perfect melding...of two people joined together, seamlessly united into one being. We came in three different possible gender or sexual variations: male/female meldings, male/male meldings, and female/female meldings, depending on what suited each creature the best. Since we each had the perfect partner sewn into the very fabric of our being, we were all happy. Thus, all of us...moved across the earth much the same way that they planets travel through the heavens - dreamily, orderly, smoothly. We lacked for nothing; we had no unmet needs; we wanted nobody. There was no strife and no chaos. We were whole.

But in our wholeness, we became overly proud. In our pride, we neglected to worship the gods. The mighty Zeus punished us for our neglect by cutting all the double-headed, eight-limbed, perfectly contented humans in half, thereby creating a world of cruelly severed one-headed, two-armed, two-legged miserable creatures. In this moment of mass amputation, Zeus inflicted on mankind that most painful of human conditions; the dull and constant sense that we are not quite whole. For the rest of time, humans would be born sensing that there was some missing part - a lost half...and that this missing part was out there someplace, spinning through the universe in the form of another person. We would also be born believing that if only we searched relentlessly enough, we might someday find that vanished half, that other soul. Through union with the other, we would recomplete our original form, never to experience loneliness again.

This is the singular fantasy of human intimacy; that one plus one will somehow, someday, equal one. But Aristophanes warned that this dream of completion-through-love is impossible...the original cleaved halves of the severed eight-limbed humans were far too scattered for any of us to ever find our missing halves again. Sexual union can make a person feel completed and sated for a while (Aristophanes surmised that Zeus had given humans the gift of orgasm out of pity, specifically so that we could feel temporarily melded again...), but eventually, one way or another, we will all be left alone with ourselves in the end. So the loneliness continues, which causes us to mate with the wrong people over and over again, seeking perfected union. We may even believe at times that we have found our other half but it's more likely that all we've found is somebody else who is searching for his other half - somebody who is equally desperate to believe that he has found that completion in us."
*Taken from "Committed", by Elizabeth Gilbert, page 97-99*


Post a Comment

Thank you so much for reading!