September 16, 2012

Reading "The History of Thought"

I am reading the "History of Thought." Plato wrote in his Symposium that has Aristophanes present a story that humans have been looking for their soul mate ever since Zeus cut them in half. In his mythic story, Aristophanes describes a world where there were people who were both men and women. Apparently, humans began discussing how they could climb up to heaven and replace the gods. The gods were upset by this and discussed what should be done.

The simplest solution would be to destroy mankind, but Zeus came up with a better idea. He suggested cutting all human beings in half. This would serve two purposes. First, it would immediately double the number of people making offerings to the gods. Second, it would weaken the humans, so they would not be able to carry out their plan. Zeus' idea was accepted, and the humans were all divided into two. Naturally, the humans were upset at this, and Zeus decided to enable each half to have intercourse with their opposite, symbolically creating a whole. Consequently, the males sought their female half, and the females sought their male half, allowing them to reproduce."