Sunday, April 27, 2008

On romance and passion

People will continue to differ on this issue, but lately I've come to the mind that romantic relationships are not merely "friends+". We have our friends, and there comes a time when we hunger for a connection which is not only more intimate, but essentially different from the "bowling team". There is a post on this blog--as yet unpublished--which looks into the nature of loneliness. There I suggest that loneliness is a hunger which can be fed equally well by deep friendships as with romance, just as physical hunger can be sated by salads as well as steaks. Thus, celibacy is not a sexual starvation as it is a relational vegetarianism. But now I wonder whether this does not oversimplify the matter. Passion is more than meat. It goes beyond being a powerful salve for loneliness. Combined with the interpersonal joys of supreme acceptance, welcome, and appreciation is something more, a sort of supreme liberation; an expansive frontier for the self; a new mystery, a new world. For the introvert especially, whose introspection has exhausted itself, the discovery of an other mystery that makes itself open and welcoming is a cool drink in the desert. Now, mystery and wonder are given a face. Now, welcoming itself can take my hand in hers. Now, the faintest taste of the promises of salvation reach out of the darkness and shatter the boundary of my self from the outside. And yet only a taste--and one which is only a model, burdened as she is with her own impermanence, finitude, and (like me) corruption. Two closed systems cannot, by combining, save themselves from the law of entropy. But in meeting they give one-another a hint of the infinite openness available to them from beyond.

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