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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”