Saturday, August 12, 2017

Eros In Venus

"Sexual desire without Eros wants the thing in itself." -- The Four Loves,  C.S. Lewis

Venus, the goddess of love in Greek mythology and Eros, god of the same are often bandied about; today science and technology have made us too smart, too slick for something so imprecise as a myth. And yet author C. S. Lewis, most famously wrote about this. Lewis who is the author of many 20th century works is best known for Narnia.

About Eros and Venus he writes, Eros without Venus is for lack. Owing to the ancient devotion of the Romans, erotic principle well observed Eros on its own was something altogether different than when enfolded in Venus. As Lewis explains, the 'carnal element within Eros I intend to call Venus.'

"Sexuality,' he adds, ' operates without Eros, or as part of Eros."

It is not necessary to feel anything more than attraction or desire to activate that part of the equation which functions wholly by instinct. And Lewis hastens to add that he writes without moral or other notions, some such as the thought that sex 'with love' is pure while without love it is something else; nor does Lewis seek to describe the activities of Eros 'under a soaring and iridescence which reduces the role of the sense to a minor consideration.'

Eros in Venus is Lewis'; contribution to a description of what the ancients saw as estimable, worthy of a spiritual cause, a religion of degree. This experience he describes as the 'in loveness of the Beloved.' When one first beholds another, it as if he is captured, so captivated may one be by the gazing upon who has inspired this. In a simple, general delight, pre-occupied with all that the one may be, a thirst develops to simply know the creature of ones' gaze, to behold in totality. While in this state one really hasn't the leisure to thing about carnal matters; rather the thought of the person takes precedence. While filled with desire, he may be satisfied to continue in reverie and contemplate this creature whom one may call beloved.

In contemplation, the arrival of Eros, erotic love arrives as if a 'tidal wave, an invader taking over and reorganizing his sensuality. Sexual desire without Eros, wants it the thing in itself; Eros while in Venus wants the Beloved. While one may want a woman not for herself but for the things she may provide, in Eros one wants a particular person--that person for the person them self. This is the Beloved created through some mysterious activity of Eros; in Eros at its most intense, the beloved is needed, craved even for their very self distinct and unique from all others, admirable in itself. And it's importance is far beyond the lover's need.

While certainly hard to explain, its metaphysical aspects may be explained thus, 'I am in you, you are in me. Your heart is my heart, and my heart is part of your heart alone.' So without Eros, sexual desires, like every other desire is simply about our self. Eros makes it uniquely other focused. Now it's about the Beloved one. The distinction between giving and receiving blurs, indeed it's obliterated when Eros is in Venus.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On Friendship

"Friendship must be about something." --C.S. Lewis


C.S. Lewis wrote a classical interpretation of many emotions central to human life. In his book, The Four Loves, he addresses the meaning of friendship. Drawing upon rich resources such as the ancient Greeks, Romans, traditions borne through millennia, his view may be termed as western, if not universal.

Lewis delineates the many views of friendship; he describes it as mutuality, as 'seeing the same truth, looking outward, much as French writer, St. Exupery does; he explores friends in the context of erotic love; the search for Beauty, the engagement of spirituality, companionship, and he asserts that it's the least jealous of all the loves.

Where Lovers seek privacy, friends experience enclosure between themselves and the 'herd' rushing around them, and they may not be jealous so are often willing to admit another into their circle.
The American poet Emerson posed the question of a friend several times, simply asking, 'do you care about the same truths as I do?' The answer to this is the point at which a companion may move to a friend.
Shared activities and insights may be a draw for companions who 'share the road.' But a deeper, inner sense recognizing certain truths brings them into the realm of friend.

And while friends may not fully draw the same conclusions, they generally agree on the importance of questions. Seeing the shape of the world in similar fashion draws them to similar questions, if not responses.
Further Lewis argues simple friendship is entirely free of the need to be needed. He writes, "in a circle of true friends, each is simply what he is: stands for nothing but ones' self."

While Eros seeks out naked bodies, friendship seeks naked personalities. There is no absolute duty to friend anyone, nor is there a legal contract such as marriage. 
Friendship comes freely, entirely unencumbered with these other types of strictures.
Yet in modern, industrialized societies friendship is so often undervalued in favor of contractualized relationships as if these are somehow inherently better, more legitimate.
One cannot fail to notice the number and degree of divorces that abound in any given community.

Friends form moreover an appreciation of each other. They not only travel the same roads but their values within the realm of truths inform their judgement, leaving them more clear-eyed about one another.
They are observant of a mutual love and knowledge, and this forms itself into an appreciation a sentiment that often leaves one feeling in his deepest heart, humbled, what is he among those seemingly better, how lucky to be.
And when together among these friends, there is the knowledge that each brings out as if by magic the better in one self, the best, the funniest, the most clever, the beauty. In the conversation, the mind opens to something more, a perception of the self previously unknown comes into view. Life has no better gift to give than a good friend or two.