Thursday, November 8, 2012

Personal versus abstract love

Personal versus Abstract Love


                Writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson pick up the old notion that love is a ladder beginning with romance, climbing to marriage, than mutual correction, and ascending to universal love for all beauty. The philosopher makes the same progress, beginning his dance with Sophia through some particular philosopher he would disciple under, some one author who represents all wisdom. Later he comes to love a school of thought, and finally simply good arguments from all quarters.

                This triumph of principle over personality we should not so quickly gloat over. We should not sneer with T.S. Eliot that “Only those who have a personality would understand the desire to escape personality.” Yet this equation of the personal, ego, concrete, suffering, mortality against the impersonal, egoless, abstract, bliss is given the lie to every fresh romance, and literary romance, which is not simply the malady of youth and madman.

                The cultic personality of Jesus worship, in this regard, is a pole apart from the personality-dissolving Buddha who says to detach to all particulars and join into the Nirvana of nothingness. That most abstract of abstractions, nothingness, is the greatest bliss for Buddhists; and the faith is more mature than the Christian.

                Yet Emerson was on the right track when, in his essay on love, after describing the ladder of the personal to impersonal, nevertheless ends with a praise for marriage, in which each spouse stands for all of humanity to another. That is clue enough.

                What is loved is Ama, and Ama is one. Amidst her myriad manifestations, one beauty exists. We may unashamedly love Ama in all her aspects, in every direction – everywhere I look you are! – and yet love our spouse or favorite author with cultic devotion, being Allists, properly, who see the beauty in both the particular and the abstract, both personality and principle. Having dove into that unique personal space, the plethorabyss of our own soul, we gain a new abstract power, an idea; but we bring it back into the personal, we make it to be a layer of our character. The dance between opposites, a give and take and mutual impregnation, characterizes allism, not this one over the other forever, heaven over hell forever, principle over character forever. All is flux. And chaos is mere ornamentation to the subtler beauty that permeates all existence.

                Ama knit her emanates poem with our emanated poem and that is our soul: it is amphibious, it shares both natures. The self beneath our soul, and the self beneath hers, the selves of all, are gestalts, the stand for wholes. This answers the question: what do I love in myself. What do I love in my lover? No list of adjectives suffices. It is not in any one thing. Those great virtues we praise in our lover are beautiful, but they are metonymical, they stand for the whole, and can never be substituted for it. The all is cosmos, beauty; al evil and suffering is the transiency of growth, evil is infant good. When we can see Ama behind all particulars, and love both the particular and Ama, then we are Allists.




\~ @M@ ~/


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