The Greeks were great masters at describing human behavior through small stories that we usually call myths. All the generations that came after them, from Freud’s psychoanalysis (with the Oedipus complex, for example) to the films of Hollywood (like Morpheus in “Matrix”) ended up drinking from this source.
For a good part of my life, one of those stories left me very intrigued: the myth of Psyche.
Once upon a time … a beautiful princess was admired by all but nobody dared to ask for her hand in marriage. In despair, the king consulted the god Apollo, who told him that Psyche should be left alone, dressed in mourning, on top of a mountain. Before day broke a serpent would come to meet and marry her. The king obeyed, and all night the princess waited, in terror and dying of cold, for her husband to appear.
She finally fell asleep. When she awoke she was in a beautiful palace, transformed into a queen. Every night her husband came to her and they made love, but he had imposed a sole condition: Psyche could have all she desired but she had to show utter trust and could never see his face.
The young woman lived happily for a long time; she had comfort, affection, happiness, she was in love with the man who came to her every night. However, now and again she was afraid she was married to a horrid serpent. Early one morning, while her husband was sleeping, she shone a lamp on the bed, and saw lying there by her side Eros (or Cupid), a man of exceptional beauty. The light woke him up; he discovered that the woman he loved was incapable of respecting his only desire, and disappeared.
Whenever I read this text, I used to wonder: can we never discover the face of love?
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