Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Four Loves: Eros

Eros is defined as the state which we call "being in love" or the kind of love which lovers are "in". Carnal love, or Venus, only wants to fulfill our sexual desires. Eros wants the beloved and does not even see them as an object of pleasure. Lewis describes it best when he says, "That is why Eros, though the king of pleasures, always has the air of regarding pleasure as a by-product."

There is a clear distinction between Eros and Venus that became clearer to me as I read through the chapter. Venus is a mocking, mischievous spirit that tempts us into giving into sexual desires. Venus mocks love while Eros enhances it. I imagine Venus creates a relationship built on taking. With Eros, taking and receiving become on in the same. Eros, as the deepest form of love between a man and a woman, runs so deep that it is no longer about the sexual desires Venus presents.

There is also a clear distinction between friendship and Eros. In friendship each man stands for himself but with Eros the individual disappears as the couple becomes one. Sometimes people cross the boundaries of friendship by involving Venus in the relationship and giving in to sexual desires. But love does not follow sex. Quite the opposite, sex follows love.

Eros is a love of sacrifice. Husbands must love their wives as Christ loves the church and women must be submissive. However, even after all of the sacrifices, happiness is not guaranteed. This is proven in thousands of couples that stay together through unhappiness because they would rather be unhappy together than happy with someone else.

We must be careful in regards to Eros as over time "being in love" can potentially evolve into a sort of religion. It is very easy to fall into the trap of idolizing Eros or our partners. This sort of idolizing can destroy a marriage from within causing all sorts of blame to be cast because of the love lost.

Another problem with Eros is that people often confuse falling in love with being in love. There is a difference. It is much easier to fall than to be because after the falling is done we find ourselves wondering "What do I do now?" Lewis says that the passion of love goes away over time. However, I disagree with this statement because I see couples like the Ribeiros who are still very obviously passionate about each other and know that passion only disappears if the couple allows it to do so. Love by itself will not keep love alive. It takes commitment, sacrifice, and the grace of God to keep the love alive.

I feel as if all of this material is revelant to our society and needs to be spoken about even though it does not directly apply to my life at the moment. I have never been in love as I am only 18 years old and love seems more like a game than an emotion to me at this stage in my life. I am more in love with the idea of being in love and the enchantment that comes with love. Professor A. Ribeiro warned us against falling into the enchantment of love so I must be careful to guard myself. I have already made very strong sexual boundaries for myself so that I will not give into Venus should he ever tempt me. I do not know when the day will come that I will wake up and suddenly know I am in love. I don't even know what that will feel like but I can only imagine it's one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. So many people come to college to find their future spouse and fall in love. Me? I am not looking for love. I figure it will find me soon enough.

1 comment:

  1. Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of Love."
    And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said: When love beckons to you follow him,
    Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
    Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks.
    He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant;
    And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast. All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

    But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
    Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
    Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
    For love is sufficient unto love.
    When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, I am in the heart of God."
    And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
    Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
    But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
    To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
    To know the pain of too much tenderness.
    To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
    And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
    To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
    To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
    To return home at eventide with gratitude;
    And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.