Thursday, February 27, 2014

Outgrowing Things

Sex, Love, and Humanity’s Future
Lovers' Tomb

     There’s a passage in Book I of Plato’s Republic where Cephalus, a 70-year-old member of Socrates’ circle, weighs in on the subject of sexual love. He says he agrees with the tragedian, Sophocles. He’s glad he’s over the affliction.
     My mother was always pushing me to read Plato, and I did oblige her with a few of the Dialogues, but I resisted The Republic until college, when I had to read it. For some reason Cephalus’ speech stayed with me more than most. Maybe I stored it up for the time when I might be seventy. I could always have it at the back of my mind to console me whenever I fell into the love sickness. There is relief—if I can just live long enough.
     Well, today’s 70 is yesterday’s 50, they say, and I haven’t outgrown sex yet and doubt I ever will, if only in my eye.
     But you never know. I’ve outgrown other serious afflictions I don’t think I’ll go back to, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I’ve outgrown my bad tempers, including the secret rage that wanted to murder my father. That’s a big one. Another was my adolescent confusion between lust and love. It took me more than half a lifetime to get that straight. I think it might have been a prime life lesson. Love is much more than lust and worth more, too, in the end.
     I should have posted that for Valentine’s Day. But isn’t love a year-round thing? Astrologer Jeff Jawer at pointed out recently that Valentine’s Day, always in the sign of Aquarius, comes in a season which is really not that favorable for romantic love. Romantic love is more a Leo thing, the sign opposite Aquarius. Love of friends, love of knowledge and humanitarian ideals is what winter and Aquarius are more about, at least in the northern hemisphere. (Whether that model fits the southern hemisphere is another question.)
     That larger love, that humanitarian love is not as sexy as the lovers entwined in their Valentine’s kiss. They take center stage. Indeed, no theory of love can push them out. Love and marriage, then the baby carriage—it’s part of the American myth.
     But it’s also part of the beginning of all that love can be—selfless and forgiving, extending beyond marriage and the baby carriage to a wider world.
     That wider world now beckons us in this 21st century. How do we respond? I fear that humanity as we know it is screwed unless love in all its forms consumes our highest hopes. But we’re not there yet. We must reach for it. Otherwise, we will either destroy ourselves or we will become a high-tech dictatorship in which many of us will die.
     Such thoughts disturb my sleep of late. I’ve always had them, but now they seem more immediate and all-consuming. I keep telling myself, “I must do something, I must do something.” But every option only seems to prolong the game. Working for the poor has become a for-profit industry dependent on people staying poor. Fighting for peace is an oxymoron. Demanding good behavior tempts evil. Where do we begin to correct such errors?
     It’s hardly a new idea, but clearly love is the answer. Love dissolves the paradox of opposites because, fortunately, love is only interested in itself.


At 7:34 AM , Blogger VVMowrer said...

D. This is a great topic for discussion and I hope this blog post gets a dialog going. I also have those “I must do something”. thoughts.
I really like your line “Fighting for peace is an oxymoron.” Sooo true. It is one of the reasons I do not go protest anymore. Along with being too old and tired and leaving it to the younger set. But there is also that “fighting” aspect that just does not feel right anymore.
I am sharing this post. Your a wonder and always speak my mind for me! Thanks! :)


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