on love

koninginnedag nadert, en amsterdam raakt elke dag wat meer bezet. struinen langs de verkoopwaar doe ik al jaren niet meer. te druk, geen nacht tevoren om op koopjesjacht te gaan en gesprekken te voeren met verkopers die blij zijn met nachtelijke afleiding van nog onbezopen voorbijgangers. ik deed dat graag, toen het nog kon: die nacht tevoren door de stad op zoek naar pareltjes tussen de rotzooi.

nu ik plots zo verliefd ben geraakt dat ik zelf geen woorden weet -hooguit woorden die prive zijn- ging ik laatst op zoek naar andere woorden. en ik herinnerde me een obscuur boekje dat ik lang geleden op zo’n koninginnenacht vond. 50 cent, zoiets zal het me gekost hebben. maar wat een fijn boekje. the psychology of sex heet het, en het is van ene oswald schwarz (1883-1949). het komt uit 1949. de achterflap met meer informatie over deze dr. oswald schwarz ben ik inmiddels kwijt geraakt (het werkje -een tweede druk uit 1951- zat bij aanschaf al niet meer zo stevig in elkaar).

op zijn zoektocht naar de essentie van sex en de essentie van liefde verliest oswald zich in religie, mythologie en filosofie. die 50 cent heeft me al veel lees- en mijmer- plezier verschaft. ik zie nu, op mijn webzoektocht, voor het eerst dat hij vlak na voltooiïng moet zijn overleden. ik hoop dat het door de liefde was, dat hij vanuit een erotisch universum de dood is ingestapt zoals hij het zelf beschrijft op pagina 102 en 103:

love always begins suddenly. it need not always be the coup de foudre, the dramatic love at first sight, but even if a love seems to grow gradually from inconspicious beginnings, even if one seems to start loving a person one has known for some time – even then, the beginning is sudden. it is a true illumination or conversion of much the same kind as happened once on the road to damascus and has been experienced countless times since. in a moment the beloved person is suddenly there, in a way totally different from that in which (s)he has been there all the time, changed beyond recognition, transfigured in the truest sense of the word. she is no longer this woman whom i have met and talked to so many times, but the one -the only one- whom i
now love. and i am changed too, down to the core of myself. now, as never before, we know each other, and entranced we enter the world of love.

in this exclusive world are domiciled those whom one calls erotic beings or exemplary lovers. for them there is no return into the cold world of everyday life, nor can they breathe the rarefied air of their new abode for long, and death is the inevitable fate. that is why all the great lovers whose memory history has preserved die an unnatural death, as we call it; but it is most natural to them. they know it, and with seeing eyes they go to their doom, this is their tragic fate. […]

the great loves of lesser people pass quickly through this, for them only initial, stage of fascination. as they have not climbed to the summits of passion, the lovers find their way back to earth, and the demonic power of passion changes into the constructive warmth of mutual belonging. not only does this productive devotion bring to life all dormant potentialities of the beloved, but it also transforms in much the same way the lover himself; it is a mutual building-up of the two personalities right to the limits which their natures permit them to reach.

this kind of love does not extinguish or enslave the personality, but enriches and liberates it. it is the strongest, perhaps the sole, stimulus and way to become, in the truest sense, ourselves. fusion, the first stage of fascination, becomes in the second stage a union of two independent personalities. rabindranath tagore has described incomparably this process of parting and reuniting: the lover says to his partner free me from the enchantment and give me back the courage to offer you once more my liberated heart. (i quote from memory, and render only the sense, and not the wording.)

this dialectical process, by the way, seems to be characteristic of all kinds of spiritual experience shared by the great religious leaders, saints and artists. if i may quote caldwell once more: [the lyric poet] is exhibiting the paradox of art -man withdrawing from his fellows into the world of art, only to enter more closely into communion with humanity.

[…] the attitude of a scientist towards the object of his researches and of a philosopher towards the problems of his thinking come very close to the idea of love. the devotion is already very similar to the self-surrender of a true lover. many of the greatest men have testified to this. nietzsche, for instance, said that only from love springs the profoundest insight, and hegel said that only through loving one becomes one with the object and one really knows only what one loves. the swiss historian i.v. muller said ideas are born in the arms of a wise friend.

the discoveries made through this loving approach are not the property of those who made them. they belong to the world into which they are born, and the concept of plagiarism is a psychological absurdity, is valid only in a commercial-minded world. the closer we approach to the higher regions the more the possibility of possessing the beloved object recedes and another element becomes dominant: reciprocity and response.

in the love of a (wo)man, the fullest realization of the idea of love, this reciprocity is essential, as has been shown earlier. the concept of possession destroys this reciprocity because possession is a unilateral action; one may possess the body of a woman during the fleeting moment of physical intercourse, but what love desires is not the factual woman one holds in one’s arms, but only her personality, her soul, which is intangible and elusive.

sex love, let it be said over and over again, means insatiable participation in the existence of the beloved. love is not a state which can be reached and in which our longing comes to rest: love is perpetual striving, unending uncertainty and insecurity, an everlasting act of creation.

en dat 282 bladzijden lang. hij verliest zich zo heerlijk in afdwalingen dat het als psychologisch werk vast niet serieus te nemen is. maar ik houd van dit boekje. ook.

One thought on on love

Leave a Reply