Friday, May 4, 2007

eros (an excerpt from hypatia's lost commentary on plato's phaedrus)

Gail Foster, "Passage" (2005) [acrylic on canvas]

A desire for the caress, to be touched by another - erotics: the pursuit of proximity and tenderness, the pilgrimage to the border of one's being, to the border beyond which the beloved lies.

The lover and the beloved, together in sex do not seek identity; love of the lover is never an attempt to cross the border - to have power over the body, an act of aggression, commission of violence, rape - instead it is the acknowledgment of the gift of peace (providence itself). Giving oneself over to pure vulnerability, laying down one's arms, exposure.

The erotic finds its end, not in the beloved (who is always the theme) but, in rapture and ecstasy itself. The coming together is the denouncement of identification, which would, in truth, entail the loss of identity. Ecstasy is not a passage between borders,

(for the space between us is only the necessary counter-moment to the sensuousness, voluptuousness, nakedness of the body)

but a doxology sung to that which holds the very difference between our borders inviolable: the apocalyptic shudder that promises a final end to violence will come. It commands not only 'thou shalt not kill' but also 'love one another'.



Anonymous said...

Levinas' exploration of love in Totality and Infinity seem to echo this passage

Lawrence of Arabia said...

absolutely correct! good catch.

Anonymous said...

What is the source for this citation?
Thank you.

Lawrence of Arabia said...

as with other posts where i speak in the name of romaine brooks or the daughter of jephthah, here also i used someones voice to express neoplatonic ideals concerning the body. as noted above, it was written in a moment of levinasian ecstasy. the fact that it was a "lost" commentary was supposed to be a clue, but i am sorry if that was not clear.

i do plan to do more with hypatia because she is such an interesting figure.

best wishes,