Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love and Personality

In the ancient times of incomplete personalities, monogamy was impossible; but since the coming of Christ completed personality has been presented to our view and we have become incapable of bigamous love. Yet, naturally, as I have just stated, the principle of monogamy breaks down if there is more or less of abnormality in the character.

Quite recently, in many parts of Japan, lovers, finding this whole-souled love unattainable, have sacrificed themselves; and there are certain thinkers who dispute the eternal validity of the principle of monogamy, regarding these cases as disproof of it.

However, I think quite otherwise, for in situations where lovers attain control over their environment, mastery of their passions, and consciousness of true human nature, their character union will, in any period whatever, be recognized necessarily as valid, and therein a perfect monogamy is realized. I therefore do not say, add one and one, and arrive at unity, but rather, that that which is essentially one cannot be divided into two. The two souls aflame will be perennially ardent. This is what I term monogamy.

Man's Degeneracy

When desire is separated from love and from marriage, it becomes that divisive love which is real lust, that which draws men's lives down to the horrible bottom of hell. For example, a man who upon marrying makes lust his sole aim, no matter who his mate may be, descends along the way of least resistance, so long as he can satisfy his own lust. He cares not a whit what the character of his mate may be or how society regards his conduct. He lives solely to indulge his own selfish desire, and is a mere slave to mean, mechanical instincts. Marriage to such a man is a sort of private prostitution: when he tires of his wife or the prostitute with whom he is familiar, his lust demands new means of satisfaction. He is reduced to seeking for more stimulating, defiling practices.

Such abnormal men are to be found in the licensed quarters, in geisha districts, in homes of the upper classes, and in all the slums--the saddest phenomena in the life of present-day society. We see, then, that Tolstoy had in mind this type of man when he said that a man could commit adultery with his own wife. The man who lives only for selfish gratification of his own lust demeans marriage to adultery. I know the sacredness of marriage and I am convinced that such adulterous marriages proceed from the degenerated instincts of man.

The Realm of Love Refinement

Thus the mission of love becomes one of deep import. In passionate love there is that which accompanies the sexual act; but once passionate love has developed, sexual conduct is no longer primarily sexual: it transcends sexual desire. Therefore, it is imperative that romantic love be emphasized--a spiritual, sacred love in which there is absolutely no admixture of the sexual. The love of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clara is an example. Without any sexual relation they were intoxicated with a sweet love which was higher than that of husband and wife. Dante, though married, wrote never a line about his wife, but made Beatrice, the friend of his youth, the object of his affection and raised her to a position above that of an angel. The possibility of such sacred love as that of the medieval type arises from the fact that love is superior to sexual desire. It is the purest device for refining mankind. It calls to man to abandon the unlovely and cling to the pure. Thus it is that such relationships as those just cited are rendered possible.

Such must be the nature of the new order which will be set up by men awakened to completely conscious individuality, who advance to the task with the creative spirit. Into this order nothing impure can enter. Foul impulses cannot create the universe of love. In the realm of this sublime new order the quest of mere pleasure cannot be countenanced; and since there is to be creation, there must also be the bearing of suffering. In men who are rising to participate in this new world creation every vestige of mere impulse must vanish.

In animal society love is an impressive phenomenon. When the males of the lower orders have once accomplished their duty, the majority of them die without appearing to realize that they still have seed left. Indeed, among certain species the males are even killed and devoured by the females. The tarantula is an example, and numbers of other insects show the same tendency. In other words, the male which has once undertaken his part in the preservation of the species loses the qualification for repeating the act. In the animal world, then, passionate love is treated in this serious manner. Among men, however, it receives no such solemn, rigorous treatment. For men, in defiance of Providence, make selfish satisfaction the standard, and abandon the creative attitude.

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