February 14th – A Love Story By Plato
Once upon a time people were not born separate from each other, they were born entwined… kind of… coupled with each other. So there were boys attached to boys; girls attached to girls; and of course boys and girls together – in a wonderfully intimate ball. Back then we had eight limbs. There were four on top, four on the bottom, and you didn’t have to walk if you didn’t want to. You could just… roll.
And roll we did. We rolled backwards and we rolled forwards achieving fantastic speeds that gave us a kind of courage. And then the courage swelled to pride. The pride swelled to arrogance. And we deiced that we were greater than the gods and we tried to roll up to heaven and take over heaven. The gods alarmed, struck back. Zeus in his fury hurled down lighting bolts and struck everyone in two… into perfect halves.
So all the sudden, couples that had been warm and tight, and wedged in together were now detached…and alone…and lost… and desperate… and loosing the will to live. And the gods, seeing what they had done, worried that humans might not survive or even multiply again and of course they need humans to give sacrifices and so on and so forth. So the gods decided on a few repairs…
Instead of head facing backwards or out, they would rotate our heads back to forward. The pulled our skin tight and knotted it at the belly button. Genitalia were moved to the front so if we wanted to we could… And etc. etc. And most important… they left us with a memory. It was a longing… for that original other half of ourselves; the boy or the girl who used to make us whole. That longing is still so deep in all of us, men for men, women for women, men and women for each other that it has been the lot of humans ever sense and that we travel the world looking for our other half…
And when, says Aristophanes, when one of us meets another we recognize each other right away. We just know this. We’re lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy. We won’t get out of each other’s sight even for a moment. These are people, he says, who pass their whole lives together and yet if you ask them, they could not explain…what they desire in each other… they just do.