“Two shall be born, the whole wide world apart,
And speak in different tongues, and have no thought
Each of the other's being; and have no heed;
And these, o'er unknown seas to unknown lands
Shall cross, escaping wreck; defying death;
And, all unconsciously, shape every act to this one end
That, one day, out of darkness, they shall meet
And read life's meaning in each other's eyes. ..."
Susan Marr Spalding, "Fate"
The story I wrote about Caesar, is not only a story of a man of affairs, but also a love story; the love of a man and a woman, both of whom were uniquely tied to the society into which they were born.
Each was tied to a leader in the state, and each was also raised in an environment, which fostered the expectation of lifelong service to society. Unlike many of their peers, who had shrugged off these duties, as mere empty rituals, in their quest for wealth and power, Caesar and Cornelia took seriously their inherited responsibilities.
They were brought together, fortuitously by happenstance, in a society, and class, in which true love, between man and woman, was almost never even considered, let alone actually attained. Suited not only in situation and circumstance, but also in outlook and passion, their souls bonded together with a love, which was immortal.
Long ago I happened to write an essay on what I call the “ladder” of love; I will now share some of these thoughts with you.
In another essay I have mentioned that I equate love with perfect innocence. The type of love I describe there is what I call universal love. This is the love, which lives inside of a human’s heart. It flows directly from God, and as such unites the human with all other creatures of the earth. It is the highest form of love and this I equate with perfect innocence, in that it is both perfect in scope and devoid of the mortal except in its objective (it lacks the selfish purpose of the lower forms of love).
The experience of this type of love is almost a reverie, or an altered state of consciousness. The occasions of such an experience are few, and often triggered through an extraordinary mystical, or religious experience, such as occurred in the lives of mystics or saints 1 . Again, the real difference of this love from all the loves I mention below is its all encompassing nature, and the feeling of oneness with all humanity it engenders in its participant. There is no “beloved” per se, there is only this desire and supreme joy to be one with all, a reverie in the oneness of life itself.
Another very similar type of love is also spiritual (of the soul) in origin, and seems to differ from the above only in its exclusivity, in that it is occasioned by, and focuses on, only a particular person. This is the kind of love that I believe Caesar and Cornelia experienced. It is referred to by different names in different languages, nations and cultures, but it is the same phenomenon. We refer to it today as “Twin Soul Love” or “Love at first sight” (this is the love Mrs. Spalding talks of, in the first stanza of her poem, "Fate" quoted above).
Plato also mentions it in his “Symposium”. Participants feel a closeness and kinship, which at their first meeting allows them to feel a de’ja vu phenomenon. There seems to be here, a bonding of the souls of the participants, in that a mutual reverie, as above described, envelops them in their “beloved”. This love allows the participants to come as close as it is probably possible for two individuals to be.
What immediately comes to mind is the lines in the “Song of Solomon” or “Song of Songs” 6:3 in the bible:
“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine…”
What is quite unique and extraordinary about this love is the simultaneous, and accepted feeling of love, which unites the participants in only a mere wordless glance. It is almost as though there is an ESP between them. Of course this also includes a growth into a sexual love, which becomes an interaction between the mortal passions, and therefore this love unites the participants both spiritually and physically. This is probably the highest manifestation of physical love.
All physical love excluding that, which I have just mentioned, is probably brought about through an affinity, or, in today’s idiom, a “chemistry”, 2 that is the initial instigator and attractor that brings two people together. The passions can keep two people together for a while, but tend to wear away quickly, unless there is a further development psychologically, which bonds the two together through a mutual psychological need.
Probably the best way to describe this is in terms of the Freudian description of the personality. Freud broke the personality into various functional parts, the Ego being that part, which tends to reconcile the personality with society through the creation of a façade, which becomes the social interface of that person. This mask that the personality holds up to society, and through which he interacts with it, hides behind it another deeper part of the personality called the Id. This contains most of the drives and motivations, which power the whole person socially. Many of these unconscious forces, are also hidden from the conscious part of the Ego, by other forces called repressions. In any case, it is found that in any relationship, especially a sexual relationship, a matching of the egos is most desirable. If this is achieved the relationship is more likely to be self-sustaining. Furthermore, a pairing, which also reflects similar Id’s, is even more beneficial. If this relationship further develops into a marriage; and the development of a family results, this can be of a distinct advantage to the society, for it is in such loving families that the Good is nurtured and develops healthy citizens.
At the next level comes the relationship of friendship, which also seems to hinge on an attraction of sorts. The pairing of Egos is no doubt essential here, for it is this, which allows a friendship to grow. The love relationship can begin between friends, over a long period, and develop into a strong sexual love. In fact this is probably the most common form of the love relationship, and also the one, which is most successful.
In descending this ladder of love from the highest rung, to the lowest, we see a continual increase in selfish desire and purposefulness. There is also a continual withdrawal from innocence or guileless action.
At the very bottom of the ladder exists pure passion. I hesitate to call this love at all. Perhaps mutual rape would better fit the description of a mutual lust on the purely physical level. Perhaps even here we will find the participants believing, or trying to believe that they have achieved something higher on the scale. For I do believe that even lust is at bottom based on a more noble fantasy.
There is also the societal affirmation of the pairing which love occasions. This usually takes the form of a marriage ceremony, which symbolically affirms the creation of a family unit, with moral, social, religious and economic ramifications for the couple. This was of greater significance in the society of the Roman Republic than, unfortunately, it is in our society today.
I have explained elsewhere my beliefs in the importance of the family in the overall structure of the state. Here I will merely end this essay with a few comments on the breakdown of the (romantic) 3 love relationship.
Most problems in the love relationship occur as a problem between the irreconcilable incompatibilities of the Egos of the participants. Life circumstances can be a part of this, since the Ego is the outward interface of the personality (see above). Even at the highest level, the “Twin soul” relationship, problems can occur as related to the life situation and Egos 4 .
Egos are in essence conscious masks that the personality holds up to society, to protect the personality from society. Therefore when two people enter into the intimacy of the love relationship, where complete disclosure is both expected and needed, the hidden, or repressed part of the personality (that part that the conscious part of the Ego is unaware of) can be exposed to the partner. The partner may begin to accuse the loved one as acting in certain ways that the loved one has no awareness of. This leads to friction and often breakup of the relationship. In essence the loved one is forcing the beloved to accept shortcomings they have repressed, this is not only dangerous for the relationship, but almost impossible to achieve. Thus the old adage, “don’t try to make someone over” is good advice. Many a relationship has gone down in flames in the futility of not accepting people as they are; I know this from personal experience.
Having thus used up all my advice for the lovelorn, I will end this essay by saying that love is the keystone to all human relationships, from the intimate pairing of human beings in romantic love, to the instinctual love of parents for their children, to the perfect love which God Himself has instilled in all of us which, indeed makes possible the very existence of human society; love does indeed make the world go around!
1 ”The Center of the Cyclone”, by John C. Lilly MD; “The Fourth Way”, “In Search of the Miraculous”, P. D. Ouspensky.
[Added: October 14, 2007] Dr. Lilly was a medical doctor who did research for the U.S. government in what we might call “brain washing”, sensory deprivation, LSD experience, and even communications with dolphins. He carried on many of these investigations on himself.
Later he found that these techniques could indeed be mind expanding and lead to true altered states of consciousness, but also that these techniques were very dangerous (on one “trip” he almost died). He later disassociated himself from the government (this was during the Vietnam War) and continued his research with a private institution using less dangerous techniques like yoga and meditation, which could achieve the same states but with less physical danger.
I originally read his book, “The Center of the Cyclone”, back in the early 1970’s when I was in medical school. I was very skeptical back then, and quite frankly thought he was some kind of “kook”, and put the book away on a back shelf in my library. Some thirty years later, I happened to find it and reread it. By then I myself had experienced some of the phenomena he talked about, although not through drugs or the techniques he used.
The +12 state of consciousness he mentions in the book, I can vouch for, since I briefly experienced it on several occasions. It is indeed almost a reverie and puts one in touch with the rest of the world with a feeling that can only be called universal love. I wish I knew what calls it forth, but I just don’t know; it seems to be available to everyone, but the occasions for calling it forth are vague and nebulous at best. I was in the company of others when it occurred. It has happened mostly to mystics and saints (read the “Lives of the Saints”, by the way, it happened to me, and I am neither of the former, so it does happen to regular people too!) at least in literature. I know you my be skeptical, as I once was, but believe me, there is indeed more in this universe then exists in your philosophy my friend.
2 This physical “chemistry” can become in many, a type of greed. Especially in the young, who are easily swayed by the outer aspects of mortality, and especially in societies that over emphasize physical beauty as the ideal. But they soon find out that what they truly want is not the mere “gloss” of sex and beauty, the food of the passions, but the need of a love that reaches the heart – the soul. Satiety of the passions comes quickly, and age the great equalizer, finally overcomes the passions. The superficial infatuations of youth soon wear away, hopefully sooner than later when the family can suffer; unfortunately in today’s society with it’s greedy infatuation with passion, we are seeing its results all too plainly: the disintegration of the family.
3 I refer to “romantic” love as love between man and woman; today this also refers to homosexual unions (everything I said about love for heterosexuals may also refer to homosexual unions, although my remarks here are about families with a reproductive capacity, which would then only refer to homosexual unions in the case of those who form families through adoption).
4 In the “twin soul” relationship the “chemistry” is spiritual (I prefer the word “soulful” to spiritual, as I define “spirit” as life-force), or probably at the level of the Id (I tend to equate “roughly” the Id with the heart, where the soul lives), the Egos are automatically bypassed, or ignored when the relationship first starts. Therefore there can be trouble if say, the persons are of significantly different age, or hold significantly different stations in life. In fact, because of this “bypassing of the Egos” there can be many more problems in “twin soul” relationships than at any other level.See further comments in ERRATA