The Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates

Friday, 14 January 2011

Libido, Eros and Friendship

Do not mistake Eros for nothing more than the sexual desire and the appetite for sexual pleasure. I think that most people who have experienced "being in love" would tell a different story. I certainly would. I would have happily agreed to discount the possibility of sex if only my beloved PJH had agreed to share his life with me.

Read what Augustine says about the boyfriend that he lost and also about his feelings for his concubine - the mother of his son. Also read again what Plato writes about love in Phaedrus and Symposium and Lysis.

Eros includes the libido, but is not identical with it. The libido is only the body's participation in Eros. The libido points to two finalities:
1. The finality of biological reproduction.
2. The finality of personal communion.

I think it fundamentally mistaken to divide love up in the way that is often done - as in C.S. Lewis "Four Loves". Love is a unity, but has various objects. Eros is nothing more than passionate friendship. It is easier to see this as a gay man. For me, friendship and erotic love merge into a continuum with no boundary whatsoever. Even some heterosexuals see this: describing their spouse as their "best friend" as well as their "lover".

Read the Pope's encyclical on the subject - it is a wonderful treatment of the subject: thoroughly Platonic.

If sex is truly "recreational" then it is good. This is only possible between those who know and care for each other as persons. If sex is only an "amusement" than it is ethically neutral, but less than it can be. If sex risks pregnancy with no provision for the upbringing of the child then it is extremely imprudent. If sex is "exploitative" or "obsessional" or a "distraction from the spiritual" then it is bad - and thoroughly bad at than, for it is dehumanising.

1 comment:

  1. Low libido has become an ever-increasing issue in today's modern world as life seems harder and we all seem to be working more than ever before. Many of us have come to accept this as a fact of life and have ignored the need for sexual pleasure within our lives and really pushed sex to the back burner.