One Love Too Many Desires

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Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World

And yet. You must hold it all in your hands, somehow. Somehow, you must take this stuff of raw being, every moment, every instant, and give yourself to it. Without an ounce of jealousy, greed, fear, hate in your burning heart. The fire in you must burn white hot with grace.

Not red hot with anger. How purely can you really do that? How can you really do that? You can experience oneness in many ways. I walked to the cafe today, and I saw a mother with two new twins. How tiny, how beautiful, how infinite.

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You can go walk on the beach. You can go sit before the sunset. You can watch your garden grow. It matters how you do.

As You Like It

There are two ways to approach every act in this life. You can walk on the beach as a designer vacation conquest of your peers. You can walk on the beach in your bare feet and be one with the ocean. You can go sit before the sunset in your penthouse apartment and reflect on all the fine things you have. You can go sit before the sunset in your penthouse apartment and forget why you ever needed it. You can be with a person and need to bury yourself in them, to destroy yourself in their arms, just because everyone else wants them.

You can be with a person and bury yourself in them, destroy yourself in their arms, because there is nothing else in this universe as beautiful and true. It will just take you longer, and your way will be rockier, more jagged, twisted, confusing, lonely. As she knew we were a meld of perishable stuffs, granted an all too short existence, she made it so that the death of one would be the birth of another, and that procreation would keep in check mortality, so that one life could send forth another in infinite succession.

Since a thing cannot be born of a single source, to each species she has granted the two genders, the male to which she has given the seed principle, and the female which she has shaped into a vessel for that seed. She draws them together by means of desire and unites one to the other in accordance with the healthy requirement of necessity, so that, each remaining within its natural bounds, the woman will not pretend improbably to have become a man, nor will the man wax indecently effeminate.

It is thus that the unions of men with women have perpetuated to this day the human race, through an undying chain of inheritance, instead of some man claiming the glory of being uniquely the product of another man. Quite the contrary, all honor two names as equally respectable, for all have a mother and at the same time a father. Thus in the beginning, when men lived imbued with feelings worthy of heroes they honored that virtue that makes us akin to the gods; they obeyed the laws fixed by nature and, conjoined with a woman of appropriate age, they became fathers of virtuous children.

But little by little the race fell from those heights into the abyss of lust and sought pleasure along new and errant paths. Finally, lechery, overstepping all bounds, transgressed the very laws of nature. Moreover, the man who first eyed his peer as though a woman, could he have helped but resort to tyrannical violence, or else to deceit?

Two beings of one sex met in one bed; when they looked at one another they blushed neither at what each did to the other, nor at what each had suffered to be done to him; sowing their seed as the saying goes upon sterile rocks they traded slight delight for great disgrace. Effrontery and tyrannical violence have gone as far as to mutilate nature with a sacrilegious steel, finding, by ripping from males their very manhood, a way to prolong their use.

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But these unfortunates in order to remain like young boys no longer remain men, and are nothing but an ambiguous enigma of dual gender, not having kept the one they were born to, and not having acquired the one they have attained. This flower of childhood, having thus lingered a while into their youth, wilts into a premature old age. Yes, we still count them boys, who are already old, for they know not real maturity. Thus vile lust, mistress of all evils, contriving ever more shameful pleasures and ready to stoop to any baseness, has slid all the way to that vice which cannot decently be mentioned.

If all obeyed the laws given us by Providence, relations with women would satisfy us, and the world would be washed clean of all crime. Animals cannot corrupt anything through depravity, and the law of nature remains unpolluted. Male lions do not get excited over other male lions, and when in their heat, Aphrodite awakens their desires for females. The bull, master of his herd, mounts the cows; the ram fills all the sheep with his male seed.

What else? The boars, do they not cover the sows in their sty? The wolves, do they not mix with she-wolves? In one word, neither the birds who ride the winds, nor the fishes fated to their wet element, nor the animals on land seek dealing with other males, and for them the decrees of Providence remain inviolate.

But you, men of over-estimated wisdom, you truly perverted animals, what novel raving drives you to rise up against the laws and commit a double crime? What blind insensibility blankets your souls, to doubly stray from the good road, chasing that which you should flee? If everyone did like you there would be no one left! How come your love, so full of wisdom, lunges avidly for the young, whose judgement is not yet fully formed, and who know not which road to take?

Is there some law tainting lack of beauty as perverse, and decreeing the beautiful as always good and praiseworthy? Yet, to quote Homer, that great prophet of truth:. His looks were wanting, But a god granted him beauty of speech, And all were charmed. He speaks sweetly Yet firmly too, amid the crowd. Throughout the city he walks like a god. How is it your love does not pursue prudence, or justice, or the other virtues which upon occasion crown maturity, and why is the beauty of the young the only thing to inflame your ardent passions?

Ought one have loved Phaedrus, the betrayer of Lysias, o Plato? Was it right to love the virtues of Alcibiades, he who mutilated the statues of the gods, and revealed the Eleusinian mysteries between cups of wine? Who would confess to being his lover when he fled Athens to make his stand in Decelea and aspire openly to tyranny?

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As long as he remained beardless, according to the divine Plato, he was loved by all, but as soon as he became a man and his intellect, previously unripe, acquired its full dimension, he was hated by all. Why is that? To start, I deem enjoyment to be more satisfying the longer it continues. Desire that departs too quickly ends, as they say, before it has begun. Real pleasure lies in that which lasts. Would that it had pleased the gods for stingy Fate to spin long the thread of our life, granting enjoyment of perpetual health with no foothold for grief. Then we would spend our days in feasts and celebrations.

But since some nefarious demon has begrudged us such great boons, the sweetest of real pleasures are the lasting ones. And woman, from maidenhood until middle age, before the wrinkles of old age have carved her face, is worthy indeed of commerce with men and, even when her beauty is gone,. With wiser tongue Experience speaks, Than can the young.

On the other hand, the one who courts boys of twenty seems to me a seeker of passive pleasures, a votary of an ambivalent Aphrodite.

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The body of those become men is hard, their chin, once soft, has become bristly, and their muscular thighs are soiled by hairs. As for what is most hidden, I leave that knowledge to you, men of experience. Her thick locks crown her head like the purple flower of the hyacinth — some spill over her back to embellish her shoulders, others frame the ears and the temples, curlier than parsley in a field.

Her entire body, devoid of the least hair, has, as has been said, more brilliance than amber or glass from Sidon. Why not seek, when it comes to desires, those which are mutual, and which equally satisfy the one who gives and the one who receives? We do not like, in truth, to lead a solitary life like the dumb beasts, but rather, joined by our mutual feelings, we find our happiness greater and our pains lighter when shared.

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Hence the invention of the communal table, which one brings out to be the center of a gathering of friends. If we grant our belly the pleasure it demands, we will not, for example, drink Thasian wine by ourselves, and we will not stuff ourselves in solitude with fancy dishes. Each finds more pleasant that which is shared with another, and we prefer enjoyments which are reciprocal. One unites with a woman in mutual desire; the two partners part equally satisfied one with the other, after having tasted the same delights, unless we are to believe Tiresias, who claimed the pleasure of the woman far surpasses that of the man.

I consider therefore that men should value not the selfish pleasure which they aim to take, but the one which they can afford in exchange. Nobody, lest he be mad, could say that to be the case with boys: the lover gets up and leaves after having tasted pleasures to him beyond compare, but his victim begins with pains and tears; even later, when, I am told, his suffering grows less acute, you will never be anything other than a bother to him, because of pleasure he has none. That is why, if a woman can satisfy the lover of boys, let him abstain from the latter, or else, if males can conjoin with males, then in the future allow women to love each other.

Let those filthy lesbians — a word that only rarely reaches our ears since modesty forbids it — triumph freely. Let our schools for girls be nothing but the domain of Philenis, dishonored by androgynous loves. And yet would it not be better to see a woman play the man than to see men take on the role of women?

He seemed to have made a conjuration to atone for all love of boys.

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He has grown heated beyond measure, as if on the Aeropagus, pleading for a murderer, or a criminal arsonist, or, by Zeus, for an affair of poison.

One Love  Too Many Desires One Love Too Many Desires
One Love  Too Many Desires One Love Too Many Desires
One Love  Too Many Desires One Love Too Many Desires
One Love  Too Many Desires One Love Too Many Desires
One Love  Too Many Desires One Love Too Many Desires
One Love  Too Many Desires One Love Too Many Desires
One Love  Too Many Desires One Love Too Many Desires
One Love  Too Many Desires One Love Too Many Desires

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