The spherical people are part of a fascinating theory about love and longing presented in the Platos Symposium.
The symposium is a text by the ancient philosopher Plato, who depicts a group of nobles of that time who exchange their opinions in a competitive manner.
Among these men was his teacher, Socrates, and even if the text and these conversations are fictional, the participants in the fictional symposium were real people.
All of these people also had unique personalities, including Socrates, who was not influenced by any kind of seduction or the influence of alcohol.
The other attendees at the symposium were also:
Phaedrus, an aristocrat
Pausanias, a lawyer
Eryximachus, a doctor
Agathon, a famous poet
Alcibiades, an aristocratic general
Aristophanes, an ancient comedy poet who brings up his interesting theory of the spherical people while discussing love.
Plato’s symposium is full of laudatory speeches in praise of love.
The whole symposium was also organized by the poet Agathon in Athens to celebrate an award he received for his tragedy.
Therefore, he asks the participants to give a speech during this event in which love (Eros) is praised.
In addition, Socrates does not like the idea of praising love, which is why he takes a completely different approach to the subject and expresses his views on love more realistically.
The other participants, however, ‘re fascinated by the definition of love, with Aristophanes, in particular, providing his unique definition of love, namely the desire for wholeness.
Based on his theory, humans were once a whole and had spherical bodies, and they existed as two beings in one body until the gods decided to split them in half for fear that they would turn against them.
They were called globe-men, and their bodies represented a whole being which, after being divided up by the gods, was fate to seek its other half.
We were all spherical people once, and we live our lives hoping to find our other half, but as soon as we meet them we get a sense of belonging and desire, we feel whole again and no longer want through any circumstance be separated from them.
We love this way because we were spherical people and our approach to love is simply the pursuit of wholeness.
What is a symposium?
In ancient Greece, a symposium was part of a banquet that took place after a meal and were those present drank and talked together.
A symposium was usually held when a young man was accepted into the circle of the aristocracy and to celebrate special occasions.
One of the most noteworthy symposiums is the symposium in Plato’s Text Symposium, which presents Aristophanes’ theory about the spherical people.
During the symposium, the men would drink to express their opinions more freely or to say things that they would normally never say if they were sober.
The general rule of these events was also that a man should only drink three craters: one for health, the second for love and pleasure, and the third for good sleep, more wine craters would be considered rude and would lead to negative behavior.
A karter was also a traditional ceramic vase used in ancient Greece to dilute wine with water.
These rules were vital to a symposium, and their intent was not to let attendees’ behavior get out of hand, as it usually did, and attendees seldom obeyed these rules.
Participants also took part in a rhetoric competition, so the word symposium is still used today for an event with many speeches.
Plato’s myth about spherical people and his theory about love
Those present in Plato’s text are real people, but their conversations and all the events of the symposium are pure fiction.
For this reason, Aristophanes, also known as the father of comedy, does not express his own theory about love, but Plato and he only use it as a representative of this theory in his fictional text, while other participants express other theories and aspects of love.
Since the theories of all the other participants were very difficult and complex, Aristophanes says that love is simple and explains this in the form of a myth about the spherical people, which describes how the soul mates were once being.
As the father of comedy, Aristophanes is also the ideal performer of this myth, because even if the sphere people are a very entertaining and imaginary concept, he does not ask us to believe in them and the myth but to look at love from his perspective.
In his opinion, at the beginning of humanity, there were three genders: male, female, and androgynous, who existed in the form of spherical people.
These spherical people had two heads, four hands, and four legs, and they were much larger than normal people.
They moved back and forth as they pleased and decided everything together, the spherical people also ran by spinning, and they were described as extremely powerful.
The spherical men were also either fully male and had two pairs of male limbs, fully female or mixed.
Ball-male males were the sons of the sun, the females of the earth, and the androgynous of the moon since the moon is a mixture of the two.
The spherical men were so powerful that they even developed a desire to subdue the gods.
Zeus, the king of gods, worried that this might happen, decided that he would cut the globe people in half and that way there would be more of them and they would lose their power too.
After that, Apollon, the Greek god of sun and light, raised her head to her empty spot to always remind her of what she once was.
Then he pulled the skin together and tied it as a navel to close the gap.
And so ordinary people emerged from the spherical people.
Since these new people continued to yearn for her after they found their other half, they would hug her and do nothing, thereby dying of inactivity and starvation.
For this reason, Zeus took pity on the former spherical people again and moved their genitals to the front area, because before they were on the back.
On the other hand, people of the same category could enjoy pleasure and feel whole again.
Due to the myth of the spherical people, Aristophane’s definition of love is also our desire for wholeness.
The spherical people and the longing for our other half
According to Plato, seeking the other half is our punishment for disobedience to the gods, and all of our lives we are motivated to find it.
This motive and the constant urge to find love is actually our endeavor to return to our original nature and to become whole again in the form of spherical people.
Because we once existed in the form of spherical people, this motivation to find love is also an expression of love not only for our other half but also for our own selves since we were once a whole being.
The moment we find our other half, we are filled with joy, longing, and gratitude because we have taken a lot of effort to become whole again.
Nothing compares to feeling whole when we’ve found our other half, and sometimes we’re not even sure ourselves what we want from them.
The moment we find her, we might wonder if we want love, loyalty, or just so that we never leave her side.
This confusion is also natural as it is difficult in the beginning to reunite with the half we have been looking for all our lives.
Love for our other half goes beyond mere pleasure, because being whole means enjoying each other’s company at all times.
This love that people feel when they find their own half is also universal and does not depend on our ability to reproduce ourselves.
When one half sees the other, they embrace and become whole where the universal path that connects is simply loved.
Globe people and the universal need for love
All of humanity has a universal characteristic, and that is the pursuit and desire for love.
Based on Plato’s’ philosophy about the spherical people, we desire other people because we long to be whole, and therefore the need for love is understood that way.
People, and especially after being separated from their other half, have become vulnerable, and love for another person fills their emptiness and feelings of hopelessness.
Especially people who try to fill their emptiness with material things in this world are doomed and will never find the happiness they are looking for.
Even if human life is not permanent, the soul is, and so the human being is viewed as something infinite that cannot be filled with something finite like wealth, fame, and honor.
As part of an infinite creation that lies beyond us, we will only be able to find happiness in an equally infinite form, and that is another being that we love.
We were once spherical people, and until the moment we get back together, we won’t be aware that love is the aspect that holds everything together in this world.
Love is the cure for our wounds and the cure for human nature which is directed against something that has no real value and meaning.
Therefore, it is the true wish of humans that Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, melts us and our other half again in the form of spherical people.
Does true love really exist?
Love takes many forms and thus exists in different ways depending on the person receiving it.
True love is a love that is so pure that it has no blemishes, and for this reason, only platonic love can be considered true love.
Platonic love is the love that the poets had for their object of desire, where they wanted nothing in return, but simply enjoyed being the one who loves them.
True love is a love that does not ask for anything in return and therefore can only exist in art.
However, this does not mean that love does not exist in reality and a person can feel and receive love, but only in a more realistic sense.
Once we find our soulmate who we have missed since we were separated from the gods as spherical people, we will do our best to make that person happy.
The love we share will also be the result of constant work and effort, and to become whole again will take constant work.
Just as we worked together when we were ballplayers, our new form of love takes effort and dedication.
Our bond grows stronger the more we show the person we love how willing we are to sacrifice to be united with them as a whole in a bond of love that has existed since the creation of man.
Can love actually heal our wounds?
Love can definitely fill in the void of loneliness that was left behind after we ceased to exist as spherical people.
Other wounds are our own and we must heal them ourselves, with or without the assistance of our soulmate.
Because we had existed without our soulmate for so long, we were left alone with certain things and were afraid.
We carried all the weight alone back then, and there were no other helping hands.
Until we met our soulmate again, we learned to survive without them, but through them we became whole.
Love is a wonderful thing and should be cherished, but there will also be times when we will be entirely dependent on ourselves.
So that one can experience love, one should also make friends with loneliness.
Love usually finds us after going through tough times and having been able to overcome them, and our soulmate will find us unexpectedly when we least expect it.
All of this will be a wonderful coincidence, and we will feel as a whole, just as we did when we were sphere people.