Plato was an asshole.

“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”
― Plato, The Symposium

I don’t do movies with a bunch of kissing or a love story to it. Hell, I can barely make it through some of these commercials for Viagra without covering my eyes in a sort of prude splendor. I’ve always been that way, when we were little kids growing up watching Disney princesses kiss their prince charming I was out making mud pies. There wasn’t anything about that nonsense that I wanted any part of. Holding hands on the playground in third grade was okay, I guess, but then again I think at that young age I realized “what the heck am I holding his hand for, I really like THAT guy”. Whatever like was in third grade, I think I kept that mentality.

I think a very large reason for that misconception as to what “love” really was, and how it pertained to people was that I never actually “learned” what the heck it was. To me it was just stuff you saw on tv. I don’t remember much loving going on in my house growing up, of course everyone loved each other, but there wasn’t any of that 50’s sitcom shit going on. Looking back at my childhood, it was actually pretty awesome. I made my own rules, and I suppose I still do, but never did I realize that making my own rules actually effects others, for the good and the bad. Without any sort of understanding of what “love” really was, I decided to dig into the philosophy of, well, life, and instead of burying my head in some sort of existential carrying on, I went way back.

Prepare the way back machine.

Plato, The Symposium, I read it way back in 2002 on a road trip somewhere in Ohio and Tennessee. It was sort of confusing, seeing as how I was about as naive as they come. What, there are bad guys out there? You mean people can actually REALLY break your heart? You mean that there are feeling that dwell inside of our hearts that don’t include shower shit and shaving? What the fuck, why was I just then learning of the whole “two make a complete one” business. Why didn’t they teach this shit in health class instead of showing us diagrams of private parts? Why didn’t they teach us to follow our hearts but always lead with your brain.

“Evil is the vulgar lover who loves the body rather than the soul, inasmuch as he is not even stable, because he loves a thing which is in itself unstable, and therefore when the bloom of youth which he was desiring is over, he takes wing and flies away, in spite of all his words and promises; whereas the love of the noble disposition is life-long, for it becomes one with the everlasting.”
― Plato, Symposium

I remember reading that, while sitting in one of those unstable folding camp chairs and just about throwing that book in the campfire. What the hell, is this true, are there really people out there that will smile and you accept it with an invisible gun to your head waiting to go off. That explosive event when you realize it’s done, you’ve aged, you’ve moved apart, what once bound you to another is about as stable as a three legged dining room table. Yeah, eat Thanksgiving dinner around one of those a few times. You’ll get what I mean. The bloom of youth, time passes, we grow as individuals, but we also shrink in confidence. It’s going to hurt you, it’s going tear you apart, it’s going to make you cry.

Why the fuck is the point? I crossed my arms across my chest and didn’t quite know if I wanted to read on. It was a book that I thought would expand my ever curious mind but all of a sudden I felt hollow. I felt like the air had been let out of my tires and all the hope for the future of living happily ever after was just a ruse. I was bitter, of course, but I was also young. Crap, really young now that I think about it. I was lost, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about this weird feeling, so I just swallowed it like the acidic pill it was. I went on with life, always crossing my arms thinking back to that book. Still wishing I would have thrown it in the fire.

The problem with said book was that I only picked out the things I wanted to see and ignored all the beautiful prose that was sprinkled in those pages. I’d see the word evil and immediately disengage from any hopes and thoughts of a bright future. I got married, it was okay, I suppose, but I can’t say that was what I thought it was going to be like, only because I was focusing on the lines of hatred and sadness and not looking at the lines of happiness and fulfillment you can get from another person. I got divorced, and still, I crossed my arms and said, “that Plato, he was one smart dude.”

It’s like having a piano only only playing the black keys, you’re always going to be sharp and you’re never going to be in tune with anybody else trying to duet with you. You’re stuck on the black keys, you refuse to accept the possibilities that there is a world of white keys out there that aren’t going to hurt, or sound bad, or hell, even pay attention to you. White keys isn’t really the best metaphor, but hey, we’ll run with it. I’m not exactly happy with the fact that I played the black keys for so long, it was a learning experience, I do not, however, accept the fact that now that the jaded glasses are off, what is this world that I’m seeing?

“For, observe that open loves are held to be more honorable than secret ones, and that the love of the noblest and highest, even if their persons are less beautiful than others, is especially honorable.”
― Plato, The Symposium

Reading back over that book, it’s actually hard for me to even see the black keys anymore. It’s amazing what can happen when you open your eyes and start looking at what’s been in front of you all along (or at least for a good amount of time.

I’m going to go back to listening to depressing country and western music until the sun comes back out….

Sometimes fire isn't really that hot, sometimes the night isn't really that dark, and sometimes the songs that you don't hear are the most beautiful songs you'll ever want to hear.

Sometimes fire isn’t really that hot, sometimes the night isn’t really that dark, and sometimes the songs that you don’t hear are the most beautiful songs you’ll ever want to hear.

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One thought on “Plato was an asshole.

  1. I found what you’ve written to be extremely relatable to me, personally. Also, the piano metaphor was a clever one, I like it. Even though, I find it to be a great struggle to start to even notice the white keys, if what you’ve been doing for such a long time is dance on the black ones. No one will ever understand anyone. Atleast not completely. True, different people coming in and out of our lives can offer different forms of sympathy, and some, do manage to get real close to what we perceive as satisfying understanding. Yet again, it is just another come-and-go feeling that stays, makes you happy and leaves you feeling hollow again.
    Thank you. It feels a lot better knowing that there are people that just think about it and have similar results from observing how they feel.

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