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Mythic Couples and their Modern Meanings: Layla and Majnun

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University of Philosophical Research

3910 Los Feliz Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90027

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Lord Byron called this story “the Romeo and Juliet of the East,” with not a little anachronism since this story comes from Arabia of the 7th century, well before Shakespeare. We can understand the attribution, however, since we know this story of unfulfilled love very well. It’s about parochialism and fear preventing love from actualizing its transcendence over both. As you can already tell, this love story is also about the difficulties of achieving spiritual growth in a world beguiled by the ordinary. This Arabic story came to its full flower in Persian poetry. Please join us to hear and discuss this tragic tale of unfulfilled love and how to achieve fulfillment in spite of cultural constraints.

About the Series

There is something about two or (as a philosopher would say) twoness. Sure, one or oneness is the ultimate reality, but twoness speaks to that which is more than one—multiplicity, the many, manifestations—in other words life itself. If one is our aspiration, two is our reality, the place from which we reach for the one. Also, it’s difficult to tell a good story about the one because stories function through conflict and tension, and for that you need at least two. Accordingly, the stories we have told ourselves throughout the world and all through history are stories of two, especially couples. In this President’s Class, we examine some of these great stories of couples. We will learn what they symbolize to the cultures who told them and what the can mean for us today. Welcome to Mythic Couples and their Modern Meanings.


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University of Philosophical Research

3910 Los Feliz Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90027

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