So this is why we have so much trouble finding our “other halves.” Oh, those Greeks! Did they always have to provoke the Gods to inflict some sort of punishment on us? Still, it’s a sad yet mystical tale about how the search for soul mates all began, with a bit of beauty and hope for a happily ever after. Just the kind of thing the hopeless romantic in me likes.
Once upon a time, there were gods in the heavens and humans down on earth. But we humans did not look the way we look today. Instead, we each had two heads and four legs and four arms—a perfect melding, in other words, of two people joined together, seamlessly united into one being. Since we each had the perfect partner sewn into the very fabric of our being, we were all happy. Thus, all of us double-headed, eight-limbed, perfectly contended creatures moved across the earth much the same way that planets travel through the heavens—dreamily, orderly, smoothly. We lacked for nothing; we had no unmet needs; we wanted nobody. There was no strife and no chaos. We were whole.
But in our wholeness, we became overly proud. In our pride, we neglected to worship the gods. The might Zeus punished us for our neglect by cutting all the double-headed, eight-limbed, perfectly contended humans in half, thereby creating a world of cruelly severed one-headed, two-armed, two-legged miserable creatures. In this moment of mass amputation, Zeus inflicted on mankind that most painful of human conditions: the dull and constant sense that we are not quite whole.
For the rest of time, humans would be born sensing that there was some missing part—a lost half, which we love almost more than we love ourselves—and that this missing part was out there someplace spinning through the universe in the form of another person. We would also be born believing that if only we searched relentlessly enough, we might someday find the vanished half, that other soul. Through union with the other, we would recomplete our original form, never to experience loneliness again.
This is the singular fantasy of human intimacy: that one plus one will somehow, someday, equal one.
As told by the Greek playwright Aristophanes
Written by Elizabeth Gilbert, “Committed: A Love Story”, pg. 97-98.
: : : You may be king, you may possess the world and it’s gold, but gold won’t bring you happiness when you’re growing old. As sure as the stars shine above; you’re nobody ’til somebody loves you. So find yourself somebody to love : : :
— Somebody to Love, Michael Buble —