In Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes delivers his speech in the form of a myth.
Once upon a time, there were three kinds of human beings: male, descended from the sun; female, descended from the earth; and androgynous, with both male and female elements, descended from the moon. Each human being was completely round, with four arms and fours legs, two identical faces on opposite sides of a head with four ears, and all else to match. They walked both forwards and backwards and ran by turning cartwheels on their eight limbs, moving in circles like their parents the planets.
As they were powerful and unruly and threatening to scale the heavens, Zeus devised to cut them into two ‘like a sorb-apple which is halved for pickling,’ and even threatened to cut them into two again, so that they might hop on one leg. Apollo then turned their heads to make them face towards their wound, pulled their skin around to cover up the wound, and tied it together at the navel like a purse. He made sure to leave a few wrinkles on what became known as the abdomen so that they might be reminded of their punishment.
After that, human beings longed for their other half so much that they searched for it all over. When they found it, they wrapped themselves around it very tightly and did not let go. As a result, they started dying from hunger and self-neglect. Zeus took pity on the poor creatures, and moved their genitals to the front so that those who were previously androgynous could procreate, and those who were previously male could obtain satisfaction and move on to higher things.
This is the origin of our desire for other human beings. Those of us who desire members of the opposite sex were previously androgynous, whereas men who desire men and women who desire women were previously male or female. When we find our other half, we are ‘lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy’ that cannot be accounted for by a simple appetite for sex, but rather by a desire to be whole again, and restored to our original nature. Our greatest wish, if we could have it, would then be for Hephaestus to meld us into one another so that our souls could be at one, and share once more in a common fate.
Adapted from Plato’s Shadow
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Speech of Aristophanes: French animated adaptation of Plato’s Symposium (189d-191d) with English subtitles :
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Excellent post and blog, congratulations, Aquileana 🙂
[…] http://outre-monde.com/2010/09/25/platonic-myths-the-myth-of-aristophanes/ […]
[…] the word ‘androgynous’ is preserved, and that as a term of reproach.” go here: http://outre-monde.com/2010/09/25/platonic-myths-the-myth-of-aristophanes/ for a full […]
Reblogged this on leeperscreek.
Reblogged this on byssandabyssnothingandalltimeandeternity and commented:
Doreen, dit was de mythe over de androgyne bolletjesmensen waar ik het gisteren over had!
Reblogged this on N C H ả i P h ư ơ n g ' S.
[…] Once upon a time, there were three kinds of human beings: male, descended from the sun; female, descended from the earth; and androgynous, with both male and female elements, descended from the moon. Each human being was completely round, with four arms and fours legs, two identical faces on opposite sides of a head with four ears, and all else to match. They walked both forwards and backwards and ran by turning cartwheels on their eight limbs, moving in circles like their parents the planets. Platonic myths: The Myth of Aristophanes […]
[…] fusing male and female into one body and one breath. (Which is the way we were at the beginning, according to Plato’s myth, before the gods split us into two […]
[…] realms of existence are the two parts that make the human soul after, according to Plato’s Myth of Aristophanes, it split into anima and […]
[…] was young once. I was looking desperately for love. I believed in my innocence the myth that we were once one and were split into two, roaming the earth in search of my other half. I […]
[…] no longer two separate life forces or souls but one. They had joined like Plato’s myth of the Aristophanes from his Symposium where male and female were originally one being, and I think so as two people […]
[…] https://outre-monde.com/2010/09/25/platonic-myths-the-myth-of-aristophanes/ […]
[…] Plato’s androgynes, by Dr Tom Stockmann, from https://outre-monde.com/2010/09/25/platonic-myths-the-myth-of-aristophanes/ […]
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