Monday, July 17, 2017

The Impulse for Affection

"That our affections not kill us, or die." --Donne

Affection unites even the most unlikely of partners. Affection, an intense need to be needed often finds an outlet in attraction, indeed sometimes suffocating obsession, to find, for some, expression in pet holding.
For many, their dog or cat is a substitute for association with ones' fellows. That someone is terribly fond of animals, that they endeavor to protect and pet them tells us little beyond this until we know more clearly their deeper nature.

For some, animals are the bridge between their intellectualism and a corresponding slipping sense for nature; for others it may be a relief from the expectations and demands of human companionship. Animals, after all are animals, they don't object to our coarser habits.

Affection is, after all, responsible for the greatest majority of happiness and contentment we feel in our lives. Yet if one is honest for a moment, it can be seen that affection for all its positiveness can be twisted or warped into something quite different, unrecognizable in its usual form.

Here, it takes a dark shape. Nine tenths of the human population would find this darkness unrecognizable. For those who do recognize such a thing within themselves or others, it might be termed, an 'affection of the fallen,' those who work for wages in the salt mines, who like Pinocchio, find themselves donkeys pulling wagons, enslaved.

Affection, it seems, produces happiness if, only if, there's a good measure of decency, common sense give and take. In other words, mere feeling isn't enough to sustain affection. Greed, self centeredness, deception of self and others are but a few of the darker motives.

If, on the contrary, there's a sense of decency, that's inclusive of give and take, of justice; humility, patience and the admission of a higher, out of self love, affection will be sustained. Affection is respectful, forgiving, tolerant, kind. It thrives on the familiarity of long established ties.

If these types of sensibilities are lacking, affection darkens, or simply fades. There's not enough without decency and fair justice to sustain it. It goes bad. Living through affection alone leads to the pleasures of those who resent, who despise, who hate with an often extreme depravity. "Love,' said author C.S. Lewis, 'becomes a God, becomes a demon."

Affection wishes neither to wound, to dominate nor humiliate. "If you would seek to be loved, be lovable." --Ovid. 
 Affection is neither indifferent nor overwhelming in its attentions. It admits to free will. It is the most humble of loves. As for erotic love, without affection, its lifespan is short. Affection doesn't suffocate, nor does it seek to tie one or another up, to control, to dominate or to submit. These are all for the animals, for whom affection means little.

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