Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"Hating our lovers" the beginning of an essay

Hating Our Lovers

                Ambivalence is an insufficient term. We have many ideas about those we love, and many needs, we feel more than one or two feelings, but many, multivalence, a shifting alchemy of emotions towards a person. Is it one substance, a sort of affect that can take the shape of love, or hate, or fear, or confusion, melding from one to the other, or are the emotions more like counter substances that combat each other, each needing its own expression, and unable to transform simply one into another?

                The focus can indeed convert mood to mood, can evoke the words of conversion by which the “substance” of an emotion is transformed into another. We have mythic, religious, literary, poetic, or even scientific terms for such things – and science and religion both amount to a magical use of Latin to lend authority to an idea. The glass of focus contracts into a diamond or diffuses into a mist, but the charge on ideas, the desire of them, the affect, is molded by how we focus. We come to experience things outside the focus, and those experiences push idea into the focus, as if an outer sphere of negative emotions pushed in euphemistic ideas into the focus, so that when we felt hate, we thought of love, and when we wanted to murder, we talked about forgiveness, and when we despised our neighbor, we spoke of tolerance, as if keeping those negative feelings at bay, when in fact that false mask was the presence of the thing we opposed.

                We are most masked with lovers. These people who are most intimate to us, who can see our eyes, our soul, these people teach us the most how to lie, to secure that needed and everblessed sense of solitude with our experience. You owe your whole heart to nobody, not your spouse, friend, child, God, or anybody else. That is yours alone, and truly so, and knowing how to shrewdly hide your experience so that you can experience first hand, and not let another judge you and command you how to experience, means having independence, the central virtue, the heart of the virtues.

                Rape is seldom literal, murder seldom physical, but the idea of them, the principle of them, is not criminal, is ordinary, and effective, even beautiful, in slight gestures, inflections, as parts of our speech, so that a conversation has every inflection of blackmail, or theft, or torture, but in such attenuated rhetorical ways that we never grasp the entirety of them. The bullying of highschool is only the external exhibition of the societal bullying that persists the same in all civilized society. The principles are exposed and obvious in a given instance, but nearly invisible otherwise.

                In the same way, there are moments in our life that expose our hate more than others, moments that expose our jealousy. Only a cynic would say that we “reveal our true selves” in such moments, as if only our worst, most shameful, must ugly parts were “truly” us. When a car accident exposes our gall bladder we have not revealed our “true” self, but exposed part of ourselves that belongs in balance with other organs, out of sight, and getting its healthy expression in the appropriate way.

                This lover blames me endlessly; every time you shut the door, you shut it in my face; this other one is endless accusations, we’ve deadlocked at accusations; and thus my friends become to me, though people I love, something of a pain. I don’t understand these relationships, don’t understand you people. Maybe one day it will make sense. In our best moments we never know what we are doing until years later. The best years of our life are only known to be so in retrospect. Maybe I will never understand my friends.

                Nor do we quite know all a friend, enemy, or even pure stranger means to us, what famous figures, historical figures mean to us. Those who bother us, those we hate, may have seen our shame, seen our weakness, and thought less of us because of it. Secret wounds are the deepest. To have an enemy is to show sympathy – envy is a sort of sympathy, one we often mask ourselves through its opposite, pity, or through indignation or disgust. To have an enemy is to have sympathy, and hence vulnerability – we secretly fear he is right, and we are wrong, and if we are unconscientious in our fight, we feel that guilt all the more. The closer the enemy is to our secret heart, the colder or more violent we must feel towards him.

                When we have morally defeated our enemy, he may fight or scream, or deny or whatever, but in our heart, the doubt is gone, the self-doubt we have personified as our enemy, that is no more. Lacking that leverage over our heart, he is no longer an enemy, but just a fool.

                In this, we have tamed our pain, not when we have “forgiven our enemy,” not when we have “prayed for him,” but when we no longer fear him. He ceases to be an enemy, and requires nothing as passive-aggressive as “forgiveness” or “prayer.”

                Loving others is easy enough. It is easier to love than to know. We can love a person, but understanding them is difficult. Religion is mostly personality cult, not a series of spiritual methods for shaping society. A divine figure is loved, but the divine is not understood. Personality expresses attitude quicker than logic. We appreciate a dynamic figure, and since he energizes us, we think he is “good.” A naïve judgment, but consistent, for all the saints, demigods, prophets, and reformers of history, we conclude they most be wholly ideal because they make us think of the ideal as such. That Martin Luther King Jr. committed adultery with teenagers is – who cares? We must consider the austerity of the poem versus the situatedness of the poem. Having an idealized image of a person, based on how he or she makes us feel, we come to idolize them, to make something divine of them, but not the real divine, which is the actual self of the person – how could we hope to touch that? – but really our own inner divine comes out through the image of others. One cannot live on the word for bread alone, we need to touch, we need intimacy, and in this Eros is the highest love, and the sum of love: creating from us a third thing which we share. The “let there be” of magic may have been replaced by the “please do” of religion, but the higher synthesize is the return of magic in poetry, as science is Latinized, as science is magic that works, as dependence is suffering, and asking please is unworthy the true dignity of man. We come to realize this later, in our strength. Introspecting is retrospective – we never know what our art means when we mean it. Our loves and hates, finally, must be seen for necessary, for when we see a thing as having been necessary, we can finally make free use of it.

                Intimacy may know, but it does not understand. Only distance understands. We gain our touch, our key image, but sexuality is to become a part, a sexed animal is half a whole, a section, losing unity. We are initiated through society through sex, through the world telling us what to desire, but this is not the maturity of the man. The sexual union, which is the entire relationship, not just the moment of bliss, is our completion as bodies. The symbolic suicide that brings us to our life and death, the gesture, the solitude of it, gives us understanding, of how to be something in and of ourselves. We take incest as a symbol for narcissism, secret names and knowledge, we dive into the peculiar world of self-knowledge, come finally into our own, our self-bliss, understand our own mind, and in such a love, when we say Ama, and mean Ama -- and we only truly say Ama when we mean Ama -- then there is and can be no hate in the soul, for she is that being which cannot be hated by anyone anywhere, for she is the substance of the love, and the object of address is mere circumstance. In this, the divine by nature cannot be hated, and there is none that can sin against her. It is impossible to offend her, and those who think they have blasphemed her have not even spoken her name or known her face. Hate, which is so necessary in situating the heart, and protecting the things we love, cannot be applied to the fullness of the all – that is the secret and the mystery not of the saints and mystics and seers, but in fact every man, woman, and child everywhere.




\ ~@M@~ /


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