Thursday, December 18, 2008

On Passion

From Ministry and Imagination, Ch 6:

"The fact that 'passion' means both suffering and a frenzied release of the libido is not altogether accidental. Sexual intercourse and suffering have long been associated in man's mind. There is the notion that in coitus we die a little. It is also true that we pursue a vision that lies just outside our grasp. Ovid wrote somewhat facetiously Omne animal post coitum triste ('Every animal after coitus is sad'), and it is true (even without qualifications). Somehow we can sustain the sexual union, but we should come away with our routine existence more informed by what it might become. This is as true for any deep relationship as it is for mating, and it depends upon our willingness to trust ourselves, to let go of our self-centeredness in that meeting.

That very act of letting go, fueled by the mating urge (Eros), renders us vulnerable. Eros is no respecter of the conventions of society, as necessary as they are. Passion draws us into the abyss, with that curious mixture of pain and longing--that strange bittersweet feeling we never outgrow--and we risk that we might find ourselves in the beloved. Our reason tells us we are only foolish, and it is half right. There is only a thin line between 'puppy love' and the passion of the mating bond. The proof lies in the return to the world of obligation and role. Have we glimpsed in the mystery of love that which enables us to live out our life with a deeper compassion for ourselves and those whom we serve?"

No comments: