When I was a teen, I tried to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. My goal: Memorize its contents, be on TV game shows, win cash and prizes, run away from home, move to Manhattan and become a professional writer. I got as far as Asparagus
. To this day, I know a little about a lot of words beginning with “A.” Some favorites: ants, atoms, alchemy.
Plus, Aristotle was a childhood crush, because I’ve always loved philosophy. When I finished reading his one-page encyclopedic write-up, I bought books about him. I’d been saving these dog-eared, underlined Aristotle books, as well as the “A” book of Britannica, all to be used in a novel, where I’d been planning to bless my protagonist with the quirky detail of knowing all things “A.”
I recently rediscovered these Aristotle books when moving apartments. I flipped through and was surprised to discover Aristotle said a lot of the same things about love and happiness as modern psychologists. Only Aristotle obviously said it first, having been born at least 300 years B.C. Plus, Aristotle said it truly wisely.
Indeed, much of what Aristotle said hit home big-time—in particular about a sexy, smart, funny, rich, lying, cheating, don’t-get-me-started Prince Harming I’d just broken up with. I could almost hear what Aristotle might say to me if we were to chat over souvlaki.
“Mea bene, Karen,” Aristotle would say. “You know what your problem was with your ex? He was not your soul mate—but your ‘sold’ mate—because you sold your soul to be with him. Sure he was sexy, smart, rich, funny—but alas, he was a liar and a cheat.”
“You’re an intellectual guy.” I’d correct the regaled philosopher called the “Mind of the Academy” by Plato. “I’m surprised you believe in something as namby-pamby metaphysical as a soul mate!”
“Absolutely!” My fave Greek philosopher buddy Ari would respond emphatically. “Actually, I sort of coined the concept of ‘soul mate.’ If there’d been a little TM trademark thingy back in the 300s B.C., I’d be a very rich man today. I firmly believe caretaking the soul is incredibly important for happiness. I describe a soul mate as a ‘soul-nurturing mate.’ Someone who nurtures your soul, thereby promoting insight and growth. I pushed folks to find soul mates because, in my opinion, real happiness only comes when you stimulate your core self—and grow into your highest potential. Basically, the soul is the ultimate G-spot for happiness.”
Of course, I’m paraphrasing for my philosopher buddy. But if Aristotle were here, I know he’d agree with my verbal modernization. Plus, Ari would go on to describe how he views the world as offering three kinds of relationships, only one of which brings true happiness.
Are you in a relationship that will really make you happy?