There are some beautiful sentiments and ideas too, of course. The image that true love (or spiritual love, as one of the students says) happens when we eventually find the half of ourselves that we were split from before birth, is wonderful, if kinda creepy also. What is remarkable from the perspective of our culture is the way homosexuality is treated by the almost exclusively male speakers in the book. It is treated as the norm, possibly because women were regarded as so inferior at the time. And they have slaves - it's not all great. An attitude I found especially intriguing was that a man who yearns for another man does so as before birth they were joined to one. He finds masculinity attractive and is therefore considered more masculine due to his appreciation of it. It is interesting to note how in our culture the reverse is true; a gay man is thought to be emasculated by his attraction to men as he is seen as taking on the traits of a women. This, again, is going under the assumption that women are not equal to men. Women get a fucking raw deal all the time, don't they?
'Dude, you've totally got leaves in your hair. Maybe I can get them for you... oh woops! my hand just slipped right down!'
An incredible philosophy book I read a while ago was Sophie's World by Jostein Gaardner. If you have any interest in Western philosophy at all but don't know where to start then start with this book. By it's own admission it is, 'the history of philosophy disguised as a novel.' Gaardner writes so clearly about such mind-blowing matters it is easy to see why it is an international bestseller.
I think every eighteen-year-old should read this. It might cause a few melt downs, but I think it is more likely to increase the number of people who think before they act. Which might keep down the obesity and teen pregnancy levels. Either that or a whole generation of kids who think 'God is dead' and keep constantly quoting lines from the Big Lebowski. AKA, this moment:
The Big Lebowski - We F*&%# You Up!