From Therapeia 1: Impossibility, Suggestion and the Contentment of Poverty to students in 2018.
Suggestion: On Giving and Receiving in Love
Himeros, Anteros and Pothos, which Hillman says would be ‘the whole of it.’ Let us be content then with these. When I love, caught, compelled, blessed and burdened by my desire, my wanting something to be reciprocated and my yearning itself, we need to consider: Is this love I feel for the person out there or of the image in here? Jim makes the point that love is archetypal, which means it is of the gods and not personal and Tom speaks of love ‘less as an aspect of relationship and more as an event of the soul’, indeed catalysed by your presence and what you suggest to me, but finally residing and finding acknowledgment within me – and by ‘within me’ I actually mean beyond my grasp and as something of the gods. And just when I have grasped that love and desire are soul qualities and are not personal, right then the plaintive sigh or cry arrives, when we say, at one and same time, ‘It’s nonsense, a projection. All in my imagination’ and ‘I can’t go on without the actual you’. As my pal Pablo says ‘I do not love you except because I love you.’
And once awakened to the capacity and ability to love, would that be gift enough? Would I, should I, could I want more and ask anything ‘in return’ for loving you? Some writers seem to imply that to want anything back for giving love is immature. Socrates would disagree, which at least redeems my desire to have my love returned.
Regardless, we do know that it is Anteros who is poised high above the busy streets of Londinium, established as an outpost at the far end of the Roman road, and a place where the worship of Mithras, the god of light and the great bull slayer, reigned supreme amongst the Roman military. The Eurasian brown bear was last seen in the area 1000 years ago. Now the bears and bulls once again roam in abundance in the new temples in London, the money laundering capital of the world. Anteros rules Piccadilly, where five roads meet, the shopping districts, theatres, eateries thrive and where traditionally prostitutes found their clients, and he watches 100 million people walk by annually. Clearly, Anteros has a lot of experience in observing humanity, and their attempts at giving and receiving and wanting loving.
So what would he suggest? What is it that is hinted at by the object of our love that so activates our imagination that we will live, die, pray, lie, devote, dishonour and commit so much of our life force and resource to and for this love? It matters little whether this is a jewel or bullock for your beloved or a candelabra or tapestry for your temple. Something is indicated by loving, a possibility that holds the greatest meaning and value in all of our life. By its very nature, love is always an ongoing possibility and never a secure actuality . As the ocean is not ‘completed’ by a wave but is rather the continuum of movement, expressed in waves and currents and tides and storms and calms, all of them correct, always in motion, love implies a certain state or condition that is compelling, an on-going possibility that influences thought and action, immediately and powerfully affecting behaviour. In the name of and under the aegis of this invisibility, wars have been fought, people saved, individuals killed, families created and broken, empires made and art created. Our world is both created and destroyed by a suggestion.