Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Eros (3rd of the Four Loves)

By Eros I mean of course that state which we call "being in love"; or, if you prefer, that kind of lovesleepless-in-seattle which lovers are "in".... 

Sexual desire, without Eros, wants it, the thing in itself; Eros wants the Beloved. The thing is a sensory pleasure; that is, an event occurring within one’s own body. We use a most unfortunate idiom when we say, of a lustful man prowling the streets, at he “wants a woman.” Strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not want. He wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus. How much he cares about the woman as such may be gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition (one does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes). Now Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (1960; Harcourt Brace: 1991) 91, 94.

1 comment:

  1. After our little Easter weekend break, today I'm returning the daily readings back to The Four Loves.

    To be honest, this is not striking me as Lewis at his best. I know this is one of his most popular works, but I don't understand why that is. Maybe it's just how the book is written for men as in males only -- given the topic I find that to be odd. I may be too much of an egalitarian to appreciate the era in which Lewis was writing. I'm not sure. I'm trying very hard to read it carefully, but this book does not grip me the way Lewis' other writings do.

    Anyone else have thoughts on this? How do you find The Four Loves compared to other Lewis books?