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How happy ye mortals

Monday, 20 January 2020 at 17:04

Boethius on Dr John Dunn. How happy ye mortals are,
if the Eros which governs the heaven
does also reign in your heart.

In this passsage from the Consolations of Philosophy, Boethius maps the individual experience of Eros onto the cosmic experience.

Very much the same concept is to be found in the contemporary of Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, in On the Divine Names.

On this basis the Pseudo-Dionysius can describe Eros as a mighty stream, coming from God and ruling the Cosmos: this is condescending love of the higher for the lower.

Down here on earth Eros also works as a uniting and commingling power in men by urging them to create community, “moves co-equals to a communion,” be it in society or marriage. And finally this life force can be sublimated into a desire for God: it “moves the inferiors to turn towards their superiors in virtue and position.”

So the cosmogonic Eros forms a cycle, originating in God, penetrating the Cosmos, transformed in man into public spirit and sexual desire and returning to its source as love of God.

In the cycle, Love (Eros) comes from God and returns to God.

© John Dunn.

Alcibiades, Socrates and encounter

Sunday, 19 January 2020 at 17:15

Alcibiades being taught by Socrates, François-André Vincent Alcibiades being taught by Socrates, François-André Vincent

In Plato’s Alcibiades I, Socrates argues that we are to be identified first with the intellectual part of soul, which is the divine intellect that is God.

He introduces the mirror metaphor.

If an eye wished to see itself, how could it do so? It could look to a mirror and things like mirrors, Alcibiades replies.

But Socrates points out that the soul wishing to know itself could do so bylooking to the best part of another soul, the intellect, i.e. God.

The critical point is that reflection is necessary.

Self-understanding requires encounter.

The soul-mirror is another intellect and looking to this is the best way to understand oneself.

The closest Platonic parallel is with the myth of the Phaedrus, where the image of the mirror is used again.

The lover sees in the beloved not only himself but the god he is trying to imitate.

The lover seeks out a beloved like his deity and attempts to make him still more like the god.

The Phaedrus myth differs from the Alcibiades I in speaking of many gods rather than one.

However, in both the Phaedrus and the Alcibiades I Socrates would have us pursue self-knowledge by looking to another intellect for the truest reflection.

God, as the self behind all human selves provides the foundation for our knowledge of ourselves.

Alcibiades thought he loved one individual, Socrates. Based on the above reasoning, he should have loved what Socrates represents, the intellect that human beings share with one another, and with God.

© John Dunn.

Psyche as Dasein

Wednesday, 8 January 2020 at 10:49

Eros and Psyche - Zeugma Mosaic Museum on Dr John Dunn. Eros and Psyche - Zeugma Mosaic Museum

The rational and sense perceptible metaphysical distinctions between actuality and possibility are brought down by Eros.

Loveis not the realisation of the possible, i.e. some illusory, free-floating, presupposed entity, because there is nothing before the being in love.

The being in love is brought down by Eros, but is not passive.

In dissolution, there is a new becoming.

There is a conjugation of death and life, such as the one allegorised by Psyche in Hades.

The conjugation of death and life in love is the experience of Dasein.

Dasein is a fleeting experience.

Dasein is love, is Eros.

By his erotic nature, Eros hides himself. There is concealment, but sometimes there is unconcealment.

Eros is the way that nature conceals itself in human mortal life.

I need to maintain a separate, alienated life, to stand back from and understand the whole.

There is distance from nature and proximity to nature.

In distance I maintain my day life, in proximity I enter the death of night.

Here lies the conjugation of life and death.

Diurnally I assert power, will and transgression, whilst nocturnally I am lost in a dark wood, in Hades.

This is becoming in dissolution.

There is no love without transgression. There is no being in love without being brought down.

Psyche returned from Hell and back to Eros, as love, as Dasein, as being.

© John Dunn.

Being wanted itself wants

Monday, 6 January 2020 at 20:18

Charon and Psyche on Dr John Dunn. Charon and Psyche by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope

Love is not an intentional movement towards something.

Instead,subjects are overtaken and brought down by the arrow of Eros. They are taken and possessed by love; and yet possession is not passivity.

The being wanted itself wants, but this is beyond the domain of the will, beyond the dichotomy between activity and passivity.

In love there are no presuppositions, idols or false gods.

Eros opens a possibility where there was nothing before; chance encounter; something from nothing; creation no less.

Possessionis not passivity, nor is it absorption, rather fire meets with fire andeverything is set ablaze. To be thrown into the confusion of being beyond the metaphysical is to enter Hades with Psyche.

© John Dunn.

Being arrow

Saturday, 4 January 2020 at 21:18

Aphrodite guiding Eros on Dr John Dunn. Aphrodite Guiding the Arrow of Eros
Rudolf Christopher Puggard Tegner (1873–1950)

To be awakened by Eros to the maelstrom of love, i.e. entire intimacy and intimate entirety, seizing whilst being seized, apprehending whilst being apprehended, is to be lifted out of metaphysical thinking.

In the metaphysical determinations of becoming such as willing, wanting, wishing, longing and desiring, transcendence is understood as a moving to something beyond oneself. This may be a return to a former state or ashift to something new.

Either way is based on presuppositions. These are the presupposition of something in itself as a point of departure and the presupposition of something towards which the movementmoves.

Presuppositions are illusions, false idols. There is no movement from one to another, other than the illusion of movement from one false idol to another.

Love cannot be presupposed. Willing love will not achieve love. Love is the chance encounter.

Contrary to the teleology of willing movement, love awakens us to transcendence as becoming in dissolution, when consciousness of subjectivity and the subjectivity of consciousness break down.

Being is not movement to a presupposed beyond by a presupposed subject. Being is. Eros awakens us to being, however fleetingly.

Not to have been pierced by the arrow is never to have been.

To be Dasein is to be. This means that Dasein is transcendence, is love, is Eros.

© John Dunn.

When the arrow pierces

Friday, 3 January 2020 at 20:56

Cupid and Psyche on Dr John Dunn. Bénigne GAGNERAUX (1756 – 1795)
Cupid Wakens Psyche

Eros is the God of an overtaking and befalling in which an overwhelming beginning takes place.

Love brings down every ‘own’ existence.

The befallen is in the timeless time and the placeless place

Difference measured by distances in time and space is irrelevant.

The befallen is the past and the future at one and the same time.

When being in love, when being entirely and intensively in the atemporal instant, only then does existence as Dasein,* break through.

Authenticity breaks through when the meaning of existence as subjectivity breaks down.

Human existence is not given. It has to be discovered continuously.

Dasein is no longer a question of identity or of unity.

Dasein is a question of entire intimacy and intimate entirety, which means seizing while being seized, apprehending while being apprehended.

Authenticity breaks through when consciousness of subjectivity and the subjectivity of consciousness dies.

That happens when the arrow pierces

*Used in the sense that Heidegger uses the expression Dasein i.e. to refer to the experience of being that is peculiar to human beings.

© John Dunn.

Deviant human

Thursday, 2 January 2020 at 17:34

Cupid and Psyche on Dr John Dunn. Psyche’s transgression of the god’s taboo served her positively in personal growth.

It is from blind trust that we need to be liberated. It is only after loss that the journey to authenticity can begin.

The consequence of transgression is like experiencing a death. Naive animality is put down.

The emergence from chaos, can only come from the side of death. It is new life.

Love passes the threshold into the unknown.

Psyche’semergence from chaos, subhuman naivity and experience of loss transformed blind union with Eros into something greater.

The god’s taboo is experienced in our everyday lives.

The inhibiting ‘no’ is there when we remain blind to the truth.

To see the full spectrum of life, we must be deviant. Only the human can be deviant.

© John Dunn.

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