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Saturday 22 September 2012

Love is the Law (1): Poetry of Love

Here's something a foolish boy once wrote about Love:

Poetry comes from love, not from despair or darkness, this is only self-indulgence.
Love makes everyone a poet. Love of another person makes for a short lived career, unless one keeps their larder constantly stocked, as some poets do. This view is rather narrow. It is the love of the world that is the poet's life force, the mystical love that powers the greatest poets and their greatest works.
Despair looks at a point, eyes downcast, a view inward.
Love looks all around and into eternity.

Now, although we shouldn't be too critical of the young in case it puts them off from doing some serious thinking in the future, I would say this about the above aphorism... 

And before we get too critical it could be pointed out in their defence that this is about love as it relates to poetry and not people.


Love of another person... is rather narrow.

The author of this aphorism seems to find (or, more likely, imagine) that loving other individuals is lesser to the love of the world, in a mystical sense. The idea might start, as follows, that one's love of an other is always derivative to the love of the wider world as we begin with our world-love and people come later. On the other hand, maybe they want to say that people are just 'smaller' than the world and so the love for other people must always be a fraction of the mystical love for the world (so, it doesn't matter that it has primacy in order of loves but that it is greater).

Two points.
1. Mystical? Why might this be the appropriate place for the poet? Surely a poet (a lover, a human being) should be based on the experience of the world and not a transcendental experience of entirety. Well, we might say that this is part of the experience of being human (the mystical) or at least a fuller experience, or weaker, a poetic experience. At any rate there seems no strong reason for the mystical world-love to be greater than the love one might have for another human. Indeed, more positively, we might say that the love for another being is so different from the mystical world-love that one need not destroy the other. They are so remote from each other.
2. People, lesser? The strongest argument for the mystical world-love seems to reside in its ontological primacy. That is, one must begin with this to experience the lesser love for human individuals. However, why would it be logically (or emotionally, or physically) appropriate to count world-love as the first and greatest love. We learn about the world from those we love and who love and care for us as we grow. That is, from our parents and from those adults that care for us as children. We simply begin with the love of others or special individuals and only then, from them, do we learn the possibility of world-love. The mystic's world-love is derivative from the love of a child for a parent, for a person or another person. That is, if we are saying that they are related.

At least, this is true of the religious mystic. As they start with this, seemingly, world denying world-love (a paradox that drives the spirit of religious mysticism). How might one be a mystic without be religious? More about this godless mysticism later, but this mysticism need not deny the importance of the love of individuals.