May 5, 2013, by Stephen Mumford

A Philosopher on Love

2,400 years ago Plato wrote of love in The Symposium. His character Aristophanes explained how we have a feeling of wholeness when we are with the ones we love. People were originally joined together in pairs, connected at the back but with four legs, four arms and two faces. Some pairs were both male, some both female, and some were one male and one female. But these creatures became separated, cut in half by the god Zeus.

In life, we have to seek out our original partner to be re-united. Only then are we complete. From this story, we take the expression ‘other half’ for our beloved. And once we have found them, we want never to let them go again.

Plato’s story is a myth. But all lovers understand it. We understand the deeper truth that it represents. Without love, we feel empty: a deep yearning for wholeness. All the riches of the world cannot shield us from it. And we do not love because it will make us healthy or wealthy. We want health and wealth so that we can love.

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