EROS PERVERTED

Posted by & filed under Casey Anthony, Eros, Herman Cain, Holocaust, Jerry Sandusky, Priests abuse, sex scandal, Socrates, Strauss Kahn, Victor Frankl, What is the Meaning of Life, Yeats.

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Eros, the Greek god of Love, represents the passionate Desire for all that is good, true, beautiful and meaningful. Eros is the driving force and motivation behind all the great discoveries of science, all great art, all great social endeavors, all the magnificent efforts of the human mind, heart, and spirit.

In Plato’s Symposium, Socrates says that he is an expert on Love. For Socrates, Love meant longing, and this state of longing is what he meant by being always betweenignorance and wisdom, betweenugliness and beauty, always seeking and questioning and desiring. He understood Eros, and lived passionately and erotically, because he acknowledged that he knew nothing, but was always a seeker of beauty, goodness, and truth.

He taught the West that these longings – for passionate relationships, for wisdom, for beauty, for immortality, for God – are what make human life meaningful. Eros is the key to the development and fulfillment of our souls. Eros makes possible the hope for human warmth, the hope for a deep connection with life and eternity, the hope for an understanding of the sense and meaning of existence.

But Eros has been badly wounded, just as the ancient myth of Eros and Psychedescribed so long ago, and he has taken wing and flown away perhaps never to return.

Herman Cain, Jerry Sandusky, Casey Anthony, abusive Catholic Priests, Gang Bangers…. We can’t turn on the News without being inundated with stories and images and accusations (true or not) of Presidential Candidates and Directors of the International Monetary Fund abusing women, Football Heroes and Catholic Priests abusing little boys, Mothers murdering their children, Gangs of Boys and Gangs of girls bullying and shooting and stabbing. 
 
All of this is a twisted perversion of Eros: men abusing women, women degrading men, adults beating and violating children, girls looking for sex without love and making babies without families, boys going on killing sprees in order to feel some kind of acceptance and some kind of meaning in their lives. 

Without Eros, without a higher vision guiding the mind, the heart is easily defiled, and the longing for money, sex, fame, and power over others, is all that remains.

Our souls are so estranged from the guiding light of Eros, our minds and hearts – like men and women – are so fragmented and antagonistic, that our inner and outer worlds have vividly become what the poet Yeats expressed a century ago:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed,
and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction,
while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

This rupture – the broken soul directed earthward and the fleeing of Eros – leads to all the barbarism of today. The mind becomes obsessed with heartless rationality, reason becomes a tyrant, and scientists accumulate data without meaning like squirrels gathering nuts. The heart becomes obsessed with obscenity, the body’s cravings masquerade as the heart’s longing, and love is analyzed and belittled by logical positivists, deconstructionists, and all the other champions of meaninglessness. The rulers of the world degenerate into shopkeepers on a global assembly line, churning out mediocre goods for a debased humanity. The once living universe, filled with passion and informed by God, becomes a dead mechanical universe, filled with violence and informed by the Void.

If Eros does not return, it is probably ‘lights out’. We will continue to demean and corrupt ourselves and each other, until no light is left or even remembered.

But no matter how empty, hopeless, or violent life becomes, a return to meaning, wisdom, and love, is not impossible. There has perhaps never been a more debased state of humanity than what was endured in the Nazi concentration camps. Yet even here, according to survivor Victor Frankl, one could be stronger than one’s conditions. “The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action.”

“Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress…. [E]verything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
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