Sunday, February 2, 2014

C.S. Lewis on Eros / "The Four Loves"

In reviewing C.S. Lewis' "The Four Loves", I seem to have been mostly stuck in the "Friendship" section.  We will have to move on.  I will mostly skip over Eros, since we are pretty familiar with it.  Almost every secular song seems to deal with it.

Just this, Lewis seems to accuse Plato and Shaw of an "erotic transcendentalism" which cannot help a Christian.  We are not worshipers of the "Life Force".  And this:  "Our conditional honour to Eros will of course vary with our circumstances.  Of some a total renunciation (but not a contempt) is required.  Others, with Eros as their fuel and also as their model, can embark on the married life.  Within which Eros, of himself, will never be enough--will indeed survive only in so far as he is continually chastened and corroborated by higher principles.  But Eros, honoured without reservation and obeyed unconditionally, becomes a demon.  And this is just how he claims to be honoured and obeyed.  Divinely indifferent to our selfishness, he is also demoniacally rebellious to every claim of God or Man that would oppose him."   (pp. 133-134)

Oh, well, while we are at it, this is quite good:

"Theologians have often feared, in this love, a danger of idolatry.  I think they meant by this that the lovers might idolize one another.  That does not seem to me to be the real danger;  certainly not in marriage.  The deliciously plain prose and business-like intimacy of married life render it absurd.  So does the Affection in which Eros is almost invariably clothed.  Even in courtship I question whether anyone who has felt the thirst for the Uncreated, or even dreamed of feeling it, ever supposed that the Beloved could satisfy it.  ... The real danger seems to me Not that the lovers will idolize each other but that they will idolize Eros himself." (p.135)

i.e.  We don't love the beloved as much as we love simply being in love. Because it feels great.

And that is not love, just a demon, possibly, as it asserts itself wrongly.

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