Why do people say they feel “whole” when they are in love or have found their partner?
The Symposium is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC that contains mostly speeches given by famous people in a friendly contest. Aristophanes, a playwright, comes and gives a speech about love and what humans were searching for in their lives. He warns the audience that his speech might be more absurd than funny.
He explains that in ancient times, people had doubled bodies. That they were powerful beings and had twice the number of body parts as a normal modern human being which means two faces, two sets of limbs, two torsos. But their faces and limbs were turned away from each other and they wheeled around doing cartwheels.
There were three sexes: the all-male, the all-female, and the androgynous, who was half male-half female. The males were descended from the sun, the females from the earth, and the androgynous from the moon.
Things were all well and good but because these beings were strong and powerful they tried to scale the heights of Olympus and planned to set upon the gods. That upset the gods and Zeus finally decided to cripple them by cutting them in half, creating two separate bodies.
So ever since that time, people are running around looking for their other half trying to recover their primal nature. Women separated from women are looking for women, men separated from men are looking for their fellow men and men separated from women are engaging in heterosexual sex.
Aristophanes claims that once the two meet and become whole again they never want to be separated again. He says the feeling when the two are united is almost like a riddle and cannot be explained.
Bukowski said ‘And nobody finds the one but they keep looking, crawling in and out of beds’. This weird but beautiful explanation maybe why, we’re just trying to find our own self.