of the Concept
Man and woman were once a single being. This entity was cut in two by an angry god, and ever since the halves have reached toward one another in love, out of a longing to restore their original state. So the story runs in Plato's "Banquet." Traces of it have been found, however, in older sources, including the Upanishads and the Old Testament, proving that Plato's fanciful conception was based on a far more ancient myth ( Freud, 1924; Winthuis, 1928; H. H. Young, 1937).
This myth represents one of man's earliest intellectual approaches to the puzzle of the existence of two sexes. It offers a simple solution to this problem by creating an opposite concept, that is, the idea that man was formerly bisexual. To the primitive mind, however, this means that he still is. Consequently the myth is curiously equivocal, and manages to convey the exact opposite of the fact that it so ingeniously explains. It is as if the myth read: "I will tell you why there are two sexes. The truth is that they are one. Properly speaking we are all bisexual."
It is clear that ancient man must have had strong motives for