Sunday, August 14, 2011

Watching the Moon

Staring out tonight at this amazing full moon.  I'm wondering what reflections I'll see in it.  Who else is also staring at it?  It's a beautiful thing to see.

I recently learned that the Earth once had two moons, orbiting together on the same plane.  They collided, and essentially became one moon, as if they were meant to be that way.  Circling around on the same orbit until eventually they came together.  It's why the side of the moon that we don't see, the so-called "dark side of the moon" is made up of completely different elements than the side we do see.

In "The Symposium" Plato gives us the dialogues of a dinner party, where many of the guests at the party discuss their respective views on love and desire.  The guests see love as many things; a response to beauty, a cosmic force, a motive for social action and ethical education.

Aristophanes, a poet, tells a tale of human unity.  How we were once two people, together, with our cosmic mate, if you will.  Some were two men (of the sun), some were two women (of the earth) and some were a man and a woman together.  Those who were man and woman were known as being of the moon, since the moon is like both the earth and the sun.  What Aristophanes tells in his story is that the Gods split us in two and since then we've been in constant search to find our mate.

"Long ago, our nature was not the same as it is now but quite different.  For one thing, there were three human genders, not just the present two, male and female.  There was also a third one, a combination of these two...For another thing, the shape of each human being was a rounded whole, with back and sides forming a circle.  Each one had four hands and the same number of legs, and two identical faces on a circular neck.  They had one head for both faces, which were turned in opposite directions, four ears, two sets of genitals, and everything else as you would imagine from what I have told you so far...The reason why there were these three genders, and why they were as described, is that the parent of the male gender was originally the sun, that of the female gender the earth, that of the combined gender the moon, because the moon is a combination of sun and earth."  -excerpt from the speech of Aristophanes from Plato's "The Symposium"

There's a great movie called "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" which is essentially based on this tale by Aristophanes.  The movie is a musical and the song "The Origin of Love" sums up the theme.

Sometimes is seems that love is a cosmic force.  I've seen it work miracles.  I've seen it transform people. And all this time, the moon has been there, watching us.  Watching those miracles happen.

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