The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Eros and Ethics

The arena where emptiness – nonerotic living – is most destructive is in the ethical. Every ethical failure comes from the absence of eros. It is their inability to stay in the experience of emptiness that moves people to violate their ethics. All crimes are in some sense crimes of passion. But this is actually a misnomer. What we mean is that all crimes are rooted in the fear of passion’s loss! We cannot imagine what life would be like without the eros that we stand to lose.

Joel finds out that his wife is having an affair. The betrayal opens up the void within. Afraid that if he confronts her she will leave, he slowly becomes a workaholic to dull the pain. Work for Joel has become pseudo eros.

Or take Susan, who was verbally and physically abused by her mother. Never able to claim the dignity of her anger, she became gradually disempowered as a person. As an adult, she is constantly furious at her children, often lashing out brutally at them. She seeks to assure herself that she is alive and powerful. For Susan, her displaced anger at her children is pseudo eros.

Or more mundane examples. We cheat on income taxes because we think that the extra money will paper over some of the fear of life. Money becomes pseudo eros.

Or we exaggerate our accomplishments because we are afraid that our real story is insufficient to fill the void. Self-aggrandizement is pseudo eros.

All of our inappropriate behaviors that violate our values are really us crying out, “Pay attention to me – I exist!” All forms of acting out are pseudo eros.

Life is about walking through the void. Every time we walk through and not around the void we come out stronger. Every time we are seduced by pseudo eros, ethical breakdown is around the corner. There is no ethics without eros.

- The Mystery of Love

I find this view fascinating. The more I read, the more I’m getting into Marc Gafni...


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