Category: love


by Andrea Elizabeth

Kierkegaard can write pretty erotically in Either/Or Part 2 page 52-53 translated by Hong and Hong. It is ironic that he says afterward, “I have deliberately changed the ordinary phrases a bit, for, to be honest, the love described, no matter how passionate it is, with however much pathos it proclaims itself, is still much too reflective, much too familiar with the coquettishness of erotic love for one to dare to call it a first love.” So the first lover would not speak in such a way, only a subsequent lover? Then how can the first person person claim to be a first and only lover?

more on empathy

by Andrea Elizabeth

I’ve been watching a lot of The Justice Network‘s real life detective shows. One thing that strikes me about killers in denial is that they are very focused on their own innocence and self-centered “how could I” situation, and show no regard for the victim. They make light of the time and place where a person’s, often their wife’s, mortal life has ended. Unless it’s staged grief. They’ve caught a few in this ability to turn it on and off when the detective leaves the interrogation room and the suspect doesn’t know he’s on camera. Killers are sociopaths who lack the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They can learn this, however. Yesterday’s episode had one confessing 20 years later out of remorse.

I swear Bindi Irwin (Crocodile Steve’s daughter) is the cutest thing since Shirley Temple

by Andrea Elizabeth

Rich Mullins’ “Divine Obsession”

by Andrea Elizabeth

speaking of Kierkegaard’s First Love in Either/Or, here’s an article comparing the ethical God to the aesthetic God. http://kidbrothers.net/release/sepoct95.html

that which endures to the end

by Andrea Elizabeth

Not that an engagement breaker can’t know about love. Some quotes.

Although [romantic] love is based essentially on the sensuous, it nevertheless is noble by virtue of the consciousness of the eternal that it assimilates, for it is this that distinguishes all love from lust: that it bears the stamp of eternity. The lovers are deeply convinced that in itself their relationship is a complete whole that will never be changed. But since this conviction is substantiated only by a natural determinant, the eternal is based on the temporal and thereby cancels itself. Since this conviction has undergone no ordeal, has found no higher justification, it proves to be an illusion and therefore it is so easy to make it ludicrous. (p. 21)

Therefore, the true eternity in love, which is the true morality, actually rescues it first out of the sensuous But to bring forth this true eternity requires a determination of will – but more on that later. (p. 22)

Like all depression, it is defiant and is conscious of it; it thinks: Perhaps just this, that I bind myself to one person with an indissoluble bond, will make this being, whom I otherwise would love with my whole soul, become intolerable to me, perhaps, perhaps, etc. (p. 25)

Therefore, a marriage based on calculation [convenience] is to be regarded as a capitulation of sorts that the exigencies of life make necessary. But how sad it is that this seems to be almost the only consolation the poetry of our time has left, the only consolation that of despairing; indeed, it obviously is despair that makes such a connection acceptable. Therefore, it is usually entered into by persons who have long since reached their years of discretion and who also have learned that real love is an illusion and its fulfillment at most a pious wish…. Consequently the eternal, which, as already indicated above, belongs to every marriage, is not really present here, for a commonsensical calculation is always temporal.  (p. 27)

This is why in a recent play a commonsensical little seamstress also makes the shrewd comment about fine gentlemen’s love: They love us but do not marry us; they do not love the fine ladies, but they marry them. (p. 28)

yet it would be beautiful if the Christian dared to call his God the God of love in such a way he thereby also thought of that inexpressibly blissful feeling, that never-ending force in the world: earthly love. p. 30)

those for whom romantic love has an appeal do not care much for marriage, and on the other side, so much the worse, many marriages are entered into without the deeper eroticism that surely is the most beautiful aspect of purely human existence. Christianity is unswervingly committed to marrkage. Consequently, if marital love has no place within itself for the eroticism of first love, then Christianity is not the highest development of the human race; and surely it is a secret anxiety about such a discrepancy that is laregely responsible for the despair that echoes in both modern poetry and prose. (p. 30-31)

Seems he doesn’t think romantic love is an illusion after-all. Sustaining it may be another matter.


Why women don’t like Kierkegaard

by Andrea Elizabeth

Inspired by yesterday’s article, this morning I again, after a long hiatus, picked up Either/Or Part II. Part I was from the point of view of the aesthete, and Part II is from the point of view of the ethicist. Aesthetics by nature are more interesting than ethics. Do is more interesting than don’t. Do opens the realms of possibilities, don’t closes the door. This is probably why Part I is a lot thicker than Part II. I think I must have quit reading after this: “but there is one thing for which I thank God with my whole soul, and that is that she is the only I have ever loved, the first, and there is one thing for which I pray to God with my whole heart, that he will give me the strength never to want o love any other.” (page 9)

To all who find themselves in this ideal arrangement, good for you. Preach on against those of us who did not. Club us over the head for our instability, recklessness, waywardness, dangerousness, immorality, and deservedness of being shunned. There, that was a self-indulgent pity party.

The third reason I’ve put this book at arms’ length is that Kierkegaard was never married. He courted Regina for four years, finally proposed, then dropped her immediately after she accepted. How can he preach about marriage?

But, he is a complicated fellow and deserves more query. Maybe he’s chastising himself as the aesthete? Maybe Part I is his loving himself and Part II is his hating himself? If that’s so, I can be more sympathetic. But this goal, “But now to the subject. There are two things that I must regard as my particular task: to show the esthetic meaning of marriage and to show how the esthetic in it may be retained despite life’s numerous hindrances.” (page 8) Have your cake and eat it too? Sounds like a women’s magazine cover article on keeping your marriage sparkly. So did he break off his own engagement because he didn’t think the aesthetic immediacy of attraction could really be retained? Was this next part himself?:

“You, however, actually live by plundering; unnoticed, you creep up on people, steal from them their happy moment, their most beautiful moment, stick this shadow picture in your pocket as the tall man did in Schlemiel and take it out whenever you wish. You no doubt say that those involved lose nothing by this, that often they themselves perhaps do not know which is their most beautiful moment. You believe that they should rather be indebted to you , because with your study of lighting, which magic formulas, you permitted them to stand forth transfigured in the supernatural amplitude of the rare moments…. If one dared to hope that the energy that kindles you in such moments could take shape in you, distribute itself coherently over your life, well, then something great would certainly come of you , for you yourself are transfigured in such moments.” (page 10-11)

My current theory is that Kierkegaard did try to sustain the transfigured energy – but he chose to do it through philosophical writing, not marriage. I don’t think he liked the physical as much as the intellectual, thus his decision not to marry her, but to devote himself to his work. But he did have an emotional bond to her, which he found that he could sustain without marriage. He believed in constant transfiguration, and for a while had the patience for it. But eventually he fulfilled this prophecy, “you who once wrote to me that patience to bear life’s burdens must indeed be an extraordinary virtue, that you did not even have the patience to want to live. Your life disintegrates into nothing but interesting details like these.” And this is why he died so young after getting more and more negative. Why do the brightest lights die so young? I do like Kierkegaard.


Love all men equally

by Andrea Elizabeth

How does Jane fit with the following?

From St. Maximus’ 400 Chapters on Love

13. The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself, even though he is grieved by the passions of those who are not yet purified. But when they amend their lives, his delight is in­describable and knows no bounds”.

14. A soul filled with thoughts of sensual desire and hatred is unpurified.

15. If we detect any trace of hatred in our hearts against any man whatsoever for committing any fault, we are utterly estranged from love for God, since love for God absolutely precludes us from hating any man.

16. He who loves Me, says the Lord, will keep My commandments (cf. John 14: 15, 23); and ‘this is My commandment, that you love one another’ (John 15:12). Thus he who does not love his neighbour fails to keep the commandment, and so cannot love the Lord.

17. Blessed is he who can love all men equally.

18. Blessed is he who is not attached to anything transitory or corruptible.

19. Blessed is the intellect that transcends all sensible objects and ceaselessly delights in divine beauty.

Besides the criticisms in the previous posts, she does wait for Rochester to repent of his flirtation with Blanche and his deception and rule-breaking with his wife. She also works very hard to forgive and not hate Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst and to see Lowood school as part of the shaping her character. She does resist Rochester’s sensual advances. I think she still has a ways to go in loving all equally and delighting in divine beauty. But there are developmental steps it seems where one does need to love and be loved uniquely by a parent or a spouse or perhaps someone else so that they can progress to loving others correctly and dispassionately. Until then it is hard not to vilify those who seem to stand in the way of this love. Hence Blanche is banal and Mrs. Rochester is crazy and cruel.

Was Rochester’s questioning untoward?

by Andrea Elizabeth

He would try to bring her out and set her free with his questions and was upset when she would silently pass by “as if we were strangers”. I have heard some people decry the existence of soul mates, but people can feel a unique connection.

Perhaps something I just heard about autism applies. Autistic people don’t believe other people think or have feelings. That they are the only one. What if people like Jane and Rochester are moderately autistic and believe that each other are the only ones who think and have feelings. Special connections are felt when a person is believed to be one of the only ones who thinks and feels as you do. And perhaps narcissism added to the mix makes that connection become romantic and passionate. Someone attracted to him or herself is attracted to someone perceived to be uniquely like him or herself.

Not that this is entirely bad or to be completely avoided, but maybe it is better to acknowledge why the feelings are there so as not to exalt them so high or act on them to one and the other’s detriment.

Perhaps Rochester’s probing was healthy, and if Jane had been more self-aware, they could have come to a more angelic relationship.

According to Ashley Madison, women are obsessed with passion

by Andrea Elizabeth

I just rewatched Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. It was hard to step outside of the storm and look critically at Jane’s emotional journey. What does pain make you deserve? Rochester thought it was pleasure and escape from banal people. He said he loved Jane’s purity. But was she? Leaving him because he was technically married, conveniently to a crazy cruel woman, is supposed to prove it. But her pride had been stoked by his untoward attention to her for being above banal. She said she was just like any other governess, but when Blanche comes to visit, she is obviously very jealous of their flirting because she thinks it is owed to her alone. She does not criticize his flirtatiousness, especially when directed at her. She later calls him on being deceitful about his wife, but he was deceitful to Blanche and herself as well.

This desire for his exclusive attention is stoked by her extreme loneliness. Mrs. Reed had hated her for being of a passionate nature. This nature did seem to set her apart. She was shunned because of it by everyone she had been entrusted to. She could not take being shunned by Rochester when he insisted she watch his attention being directed elsewhere. But why was romantic attention all that could ease, or if directed elsewhere, cause her pain?

I can’t find an icon I used to use as a profile picture elsewhere of a female Saint, I thought her name was Elizabeth, but not one of the famous ones. I think it was Russian. She is in the midst of a storm, clouds and her dress swirling about her, but in the corner is Christ and that is where her attention is directed. The Church gives examples of women with such a nature who went in seclusion because all the men they encountered were attracted to it. Jane loved St. John like a brother, but he desired her and would not consent to not loving/possessing her fully. She said it would kill her to live with him like that, so she follows Rochester’s voice across the stormy moors instead. I’ve heard Charlotte Bronte originally ended the story with Jane going to India with St. John as a brother. Who knows why it was changed, but it is dissatisfying. Sort of like how relieved you are in The African Queen when Katherine Hepburn doesn’t have to live with her brother anymore and finds Humphrey Bogart. Or when C.S. Lewis finds Joy after Malcolm. But Jane’s going to India as a sister does let her keep the pure reputation, instead of the convenience of the wife being mad, murderous and at last suicidal, which Rochester nobly tries to prevent. What if she had been sweet and innocent? Maybe Rochester wouldn’t have been so needy. Or maybe he would have anyway, because saintliness, in he or his wife, is hard to come by. I bet she would have had faults. But these are not excuses for where the heart goes. The heart goes places anyway. And no one wants to kill their heart. Some women, like St. Katherine, naturally and exclusively loved Jesus more than anyone.

The three eunuchs come to mind. Matthew 19:12 “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others–and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

It’s not the premise I object to, as I am traditionalist, it’s the supports. They need a better argument.

by Andrea Elizabeth

Take this article against gay marriage on the grounds of how it wounds the children: Not All Children Raised by Gay Parents Support Gay Marriage.

1st argument: “they described emotional hardships that came from lacking a mom or a dad. To give a few examples: they feel disconnected from the gender cues of people around them, feel intermittent anger at their “parents” for having deprived them of one biological parent (or, in some cases, both biological parents), wish they had had a role model of the opposite sex, and feel shame or guilt for resenting their loving parents for forcing them into a lifelong situation lacking a parent of one sex.”

1. Why were they in that household? Weren’t their bio parents incapable for some reason of raising them? Did the gay couple kidnap them? Come on. There was something disqualifying about their bio parents. Maybe that should be criticized more than the adopters’ hopefully private lifestyle. If’ it’s not private then that isn’t an exclusively gay problem either.

2. A lot of children are raised by same sex people such as mothers and aunts and grandmothers because of absent fathers. Don’t they feel the same loss and guilt through no fault of the caregivers?

2nd argument: “It’s disturbingly classist and elitist for gay men to think they can love their children unreservedly after treating their surrogate mother like an incubator, or for lesbians to think they can love their children unconditionally after treating their sperm-donor father like a tube of toothpaste.”

1. The “mother” volunteered to incubate the baby for money. The “father” submitted his donation for money as well. Biology is too simplistically lauded. Their hetero parents sold them and maybe the anger is displaced to the adoptive, buying, gay parents.

3rd argument: “The children thrown into the middle of these moral hazards are well aware of their parents’ role in creating a stressful and emotionally complicated life for kids, which alienates them from cultural traditions like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, and places them in the unenviable position of being called “homophobes” if they simply suffer the natural stress that their parents foisted on them—and admit to it.”

1. Mothers’ and Fathers’ days aren’t the biggest holidays.

2. Being called a name isn’t the biggest deal either.

Based on presented evidence, I don’t see any difference between these children and those who have been adopted into hetero situations out of tragedies of divorce, death, abandonment, neglect or abuse. It makes me think gay people are discriminated against more than other dysfunctional people. It was mentioned to me that homosexuality is a bigger sin because it is “against nature”, but to me all sin is against nature, though it seems there is something more damaging about sexual sin in general. I’m not totally sure about that either because Proverbs says God’s most hated sin is lying.