[FOUNTAIN]Living for loveThere is a sense of familiarity about someone you love, like you have known the person for a long time. It is a strange feeling that you have met the loved one somewhere before, in your dreams or maybe in your former life.
When you share the same feeling even though you don’t exchange a word, or when your hearts are filled with love by just a thought of the loved one, the sense of intimacy grows stronger. There is a saying that lovers used to be one originally, but were divided into two parts, and therefore, feel attracted to and familiar with each other. If you find your other half, it is a predestined union.
The concept of two halves first appeared in ancient Greece. Dramatist Aristophanes explained love using the concept of “the other half” in Plato’s “Symposium.”
In the beginning, human beings had been hermaphroditic spheres with an arched back and ribs, four arms and four legs, and two faces facing opposite directions.
Both male and female had existed in one body. In Korean, the hermaphroditic being is called “eojijaji,” a method of using both legs to kick “jegi,” a traditional shuttlecock-kicking game.
The hermaphroditic human had amazing strength and supernatural power. However, they became arrogant and offended the Gods. Zeus would not tolerate such pride in mankind. In order to weaken their power and keep them humble, Zeus cut them in half, cleaving them into women and men. Their faces were turned to face each other so that they would remember their past.
So people, now only halves, yearn for and seek their other half ceaselessly. They have an ardent desire to become one again. Aristophanes defined love as being the primitive instinct of desire and effort to find one’s other half and become one with them, in order to return to the original form. He also argued that people would be most happy when they follow their instinct and submit to Eros, the god of love who is most dear to mankind.
Today is Christmas Eve. Jesus also spoke of love, albeit on a different level.
The “Symposium” is a piece of work based on the Greek leaders’ conversation concerning Eros as they enjoyed food and wine.
Having a small symposium with your other half and pondering the preciousness of love would be a meaningful way to spend Christmas.
Who knows, you might find a poet inside you like revolutionary Che Guevara, who said, “The reason I live/ It is/ also the reason/ you are living.”
by Ko Dae-hoon
The writer is a deputy city news editor for the JoongAng Ilbo.