To Be Whole

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Love is a word I do not wish to use, since I cannot use it correctly. Is it an object or is it an action? Is it a godly possession that we wish to grasp or is it a god itself? What does it mean to love ‘love’? What power does love have to control a person’s will to live or to die? I can continue this empty rhetoric for days but I will never settle on an answer that satisfies everyone; myself included. Love is argued so relentlessly as if there is a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answer and as if love has a concrete definition. I admit that my reluctance of finding the ‘true’ definition may be from the fact that I am very scared. Say I defined love to my own liking, pursued it, and achieved it based on this definition alone; as what many people do when they want to define the indefinable (in order to achieve more technicalities in their lives). If I were to be disappointed in some way, or failed to achieve my definition of love my natural reaction will be to avoid this emotion and give it a bad name that it may or may not deserve. I can point to a cat and confidently state, “This here is a cat!” and know for sure that this animal is indeed, a cat. Unfortunately, unlike a cat, no one can confidently point out and state what love, or any emotion, is. This never ending uncertainty makes me feel uneasy.

I’ve stated from the beginning that love is not a word I wish to use. Therefore, I will not use it and instead use a word that I can confidently define: wholeness. Wholeness is the feeling or quality of being whole, or complete. From this word, love becomes certain to me. I take this concept of wholeness from the speech of Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium. Plato’s Symposium is a philosophical text where Plato and other philosophers give speeches on their own definition of love. Aristophanes, though a comical poet, gives a serious speech describing the origin of love from Greek mythology. He states in the beginning of time there were not two genders, male and female, but three. The third is a combination of the two genders, androgynous, that possesses two identical faces on opposite sides of the head, four ears, four legs, four arms, two sets of sex organs, and an overall round shape. However, with this combination, androgynous beings were so ambitious and powerful that they threatened the reign of the gods. As a solution, Zeus decides to use his thunderbolt to cut them in two and ultimately let them lose the power they once possessed. Because their natural form had been cut in two, the previously androgynous beings longed for their other half; therefore, when one halve believed he had found his other halve, they threw their arms around each other, and weaved into each others’ embraces until they believed they would grow together. Aristophanes expresses this wholeness as love, and states so here: —
And so, when a person meets the half that is his very own […] then something wonderful happens: the two are struck from their senses by love, by a sense of belonging to one another, and by desire, and they don’t want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment.
This, according to Aristophanes, is the source of love; that we are all born with love and we have the desire of finding our other half to return to our natural form. Though the myth itself may seem farfetched, the concept of finding another ‘half’ to belong to and to have a ‘natural form’ makes sense. We all want to find another person that complements us in a way that we would feel incomplete without them. There may be times where we think we have found our ‘half’, but we can be mistaken and in doing so, we are forever on a quest of finding this person, this ‘other half’, and proving that this person is the one that makes us ‘whole’. This concept of wholeness is described by Aristophanes without segregation of sexual orientations; so whether or not a person is heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, being whole has nothing to do with the physical traits (such as gender).
Even more so, I personally believe that being whole does not have to associate with a person, and if it is a person, not necessarily a lover. One can complete themselves by other means; whether it is a personal goal or success through education and careers (which I believe are both very fulfilling and can provide happiness or at least a satisfaction for the person). The person does not necessarily have to look for another ‘half’ as well; since there are many people involved in our lives that allow us to feel a sense of being complete; such as our friends and family. That being said, there is no reason why we cannot have missing ‘quarters’ or ‘thirds’.
Love, in my own opinion, is simply a synonym for being whole. We live our entire lives potentially searching for that ‘love’, and yet we are forever unsure whether or not we have achieved it. Mistakes can be made; someone who was thought was your half turned out to be someone else’s. But those are the obstacles anyone must face when trying to pursuit such a powerful emotion like love or happiness. But what I like best about this concept is the fact that everyone has a half. This myth that Aristophanes portrays shows that all human beings have a half that they were cut from and that there is no uncertainty of whether or not your half even exists. I no longer feel uneasy.





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