The Myth of Soulmates

Ben Conlin
3 min readApr 2, 2022

What we learn about love from Plato.

Photo by Dương Hữu on Unsplash

According to ancient Greek mythology, there was once a time when humans were whole. Love was strong and humans were at peace, because each human had their soulmate. They had four arms, four legs, and two faces, being fused together into one being of two people.

One day, the gods began to fear the power of the humans. They feared the courage, the hope, the strength that the humans had.

Zeus, king of the gods, created a plan to split the humans in half.

But after the humans had been split, they were filled with despair, loneliness, and longing. They would go days without eating, sometimes without moving.

Eventually they learned to live with it, broken shells, forever wandering to find their soulmate.

In Plato’s Symposium it says that,

“Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature. Each of us, then, is a ‘matching half’ of a human whole…and each of us is always seeking the half that matches him.”

What is the problem with this beautiful quote?

It is a misattribution. While the quote is found in Plato’s Symposium, Plato did not say it. It was the playwright Aristophanes.

In fact, Plato was very much against the concept of soulmates.

Plato believed that the idea of soulmates, that two halves could come together to make a whole was an immature idea of love.

So what is love?

I’m just a single, young man. I don’t know a lot of things, but I love a good romance movie. Here is their take on Love:

“[Love’s] Not Finding Your Perfect Half… If You Ask Me, People Spend Far Too Much Time Looking For Someone To Complete Them.”
— Ellie Chu, The Half Of It

“I love her.
I’ve never been in love before. Honestly, I’ve never even been in ‘like’ before. I never got it. I saw people in love — I saw weakness. I heard them say the things they said, and do the things they do, it all just seemed so pathetic.
But she’s my perfect combination of everything.”
— Jacob, Crazy Stupid Love

“Tell her then.
Tell her that you love her.
You’ve got nothing to lose — And you’ll always regret it if you don’t. I never told your mum enough — I should have told her everyday — because she was perfect everyday. You’ve seen the films, kiddo — It ain’t over till it’s over.”
— Daniel, Love Actually

What’s your take?

Leave your favorite quotes or stories, personal thoughts or ideas in the comments answering the question.

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