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Mankind; he said, judging by their neglect of him, have never, as I think, at all underst ood the power of Love. For if they had understood him they would surely have bui lt noble temples and altars, and offered solemn sacrifices in his honour; but th is is not done, and most certainly ought to be done: since of all the gods he is the best friend of men, the helper and the healer of the ills which are the gre at impediment to the happiness of the race.
I will try to describe his power to you, and you shall teach the rest of the world what I am teaching you. In the fi rst place, let me treat of the nature of man and what has happened to it; for th e original human nature was not like the present, but different. The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally three in number; there was man, woman, a nd the union of the two, having a name corresponding to this double nature, whic h had once a real existence, but is now lost, and the word "Androgynous" is only preserved as a term of reproach.
In the second place, the primeval man was roun d, his back and sides forming a circle; and he had four hands and four feet, one head with two faces, looking opposite ways, set on a round neck and precisely a like; also four ears, two privy members, and the remainder to correspond.
He cou ld walk upright as men now do, backwards or forwards as he pleased, and he could also roll over and over at a great pace, turning on his four hands and four fee t, eight in all, like tumblers going over and over with their legs in the air; t his was when he wanted to run fast.
Now the sexes were three, and such as I have described them; because the sun, moon, and earth are three;-and the man was ori ginally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the m oon, which is made up of sun and earth, and they were all round and moved round and round: like their parents.
Terrible was their might and strength, and the th oughts of their hearts were great, and they made an attack upon the gods; of the m is told the tale of Otys and Ephialtes who, as Homer says, dared to scale heav en, and would have laid hands upon the gods. Doubt reigned in the celestial coun cils. Should they kill them and annihilate the race with thunderbolts, as they h ad done the giants, then there would be an end of the sacrifices and worship whi ch men offered to them; but, on the other hand, the gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained.
At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a way. He said: "Methi nks I have a plan which will humble their pride and improve their manners; men s hall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two and then they will be diminis hed in strength and increased in numbers; this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us. They shall walk upright on two legs, and if they co ntinue insolent and will not be quiet, I will split them again and they shall ho p about on a single leg.
Apollo was also bidden to heal their wounds and c ompose their forms. So he gave a turn to the face and pulled the skin from the s ides all over that which in our language is called the belly, like the purses wh ich draw in, and he made one mouth at the centre, which he fastened in a knot t he same which is called the navel ; he also moulded the breast and took out most of the wrinkles, much as a shoemaker might smooth leather upon a last; he left a few, however, in the region of the belly and navel, as a memorial of the prime val state.
After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half , came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual e mbraces, longing to grow into one, they were on the point of dying from hunger a nd self-neglect, because they did not like to do anything apart; and when one of the halves died and the other survived, the survivor sought another mate, man o r woman as we call them, being the sections of entire men or women, and clung to that.
They were being destroyed, when Zeus in pity of them invented a new plan: he turned the parts of generation round to the front, for this had not been alw ays their position and they sowed the seed no longer as hitherto like grasshoppe. Each of us when separated, having one side only, like a flat fish, is but the in denture of a man, and he is always looking for his other half. Men who are a sec tion of that double nature which was once called Androgynous are lovers of women ; adulterers are generally of this breed, and also adulterous women who lust aft er men: the women who are a section of the woman do not care for men, but have f emale attachments; the female companions are of this sort.
But they who are a se ction of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they hang about men and embrace them, and they are themselves the best of boys and youths, because they have the most manly nature.
Some indeed a ssert that they are shameless, but this is not true; for they do not act thus fr om any want of shame, but because they are valiant and manly, and have a manly c ountenance, and they embrace that which is like them.
And these when they grow u p become our statesmen, and these only, which is a great proof of the truth of w hat I am saving. When they reach manhood they are loves of youth, and are not na turally inclined to marry or beget children,-if at all, they do so only in obedi ence to the law; but they are satisfied if they may be allowed to live with one another unwedded; and such a nature is prone to love and ready to return love, a lways embracing that which is akin to him.
And when one of them meets with his o ther half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and i ntimacy, and would not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a mom ent: these are the people who pass their whole lives together; yet they could no t explain what they desire of one another.
For the intense yearning which each o f them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover's interco urse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and canno t tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment. Suppose Heph aestus, with his instruments, to come to the pair who are lying side, by side an d to say to them, "What do you people want of one another?
And suppose further, that when he saw their perplexity he said: "Do you desire to be wholly one; always day and night to be in one another's compan y? And the reason is that human nature was origin ally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.
There was a time, I say, when we were one, but now because of the wickedne ss of mankind God has dispersed us, as the Arcadians were dispersed into village s by the Lacedaemonians. And if we are not obedient to the gods, there is a dang er that we shall be split up again and go about in basso-relievo, like the profi le figures having only half a nose which are sculptured on monuments, and that w e shall be like tallies.
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Carousel Previous Carousel Next. Jump to Page. Search inside document. Aristophanes professed to open another vein of discourse; he had a mind to prais e Love in another way, unlike that either of Pausanias or Eryximachus. Related Interests Love. More From gr8divide. Cojocaru Ionut. Jolin Ng. Alejandra Figueroa. Popular in Ethics. Hiranmoy Kakoti.
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Gozba ili O ljubavi
An excellent exposition on love, with a solid demonstration of how logical arguments are formed. The best argument is not even from one of the main characters, but from whom a character named Socrates references. Buy on Amazon. Gozba ili O Ljubavi by Platon. We can tell you if you would like this book! Rate some books to find out!
Gozba ili O Ljubavi
Platon - Gozba Ili o Ljubavi
PLATON - Gozba ili O ljubavi