ON EROS

15/02/2017

ON EROS

It is our destiny to fall in love with that which flees from us - what whimsically exists beyond our reach. As Socrates substantiates in Plato's 'Symposium,' we long for that which we don't possess. And on that longing we embroider our dreams, our most ambitious expectations of life. It leaves a bittersweet taste in the palate of our soul, though; for just as we think we are within reach of its essence it is consumed into oblivion, for the permanence of Eros remains unattainable.

Testimonial to this are all the great loves recorded in history, be they fictitious or not. One only need reflect on affairs like those of Orpheus and Euridice, Apollo and Daphne, Paris and Helen, Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet comparing them for their abrupt endings: To sustain Eros, they all bore death and destruction, the element of their greatness and the consequence of their unfulfilment.

The winged god is a fleeting, 'Parthian' archer of a deity, whose essence is the hunt. It is no wonder he is depicted with bow and arrow. Nor can we avoid its sting and consequent wound if his dart strikes home, whether we are hurt by the idol of our fancy due to rejection, or by our disappointment when the model of our dreams falls short of our expectations once we strip it of the mystery our mind's eye has weaved it in.

Perhaps, as Aristophanes humorously (but not without metaphorical validity) held in 'The Symposium', we all hail from androgynous creatures that were content in their wholeness, never desiring anything, since they possessed it in their state of completion. In fact, they possessed such strength in their bisexual form that they aspired to climb to the heavens and dwell amongst the gods. Seeing this, Zeus decided to weaken them by spliting them in two, severing the one part from the other, the male from the female respectively. Since then, each part has sought to reunite itself with its missing half...

And although this search may, more often than not, prove to be vain, so much creativity is borne out of it! For as physical love is capable of producing the fruit of life, so is the quest of Eros in itself a spontaneous generation of art, be it music, poetry, sculpture or any high-spirited creation that praises the turbulence the mischievous, winged deity stirs in us.

Besides, only the love-stricken are capable of offering a flower without the slightest feeling of obligation, and only they can truly boast of altruism in their acts of self sacrifice regardless of the consequences. And why not? All is forgiven in his name and even the extreme actions of one smitten by the god's dart are deemed to be not less than heroic; hence the ancient Greek saying 'Eros, the one unvanquished in battle'.

According to Greek thought , Eros was the first god in creation; and how could he not be, since nothing can be conceived without him. He bore Light,i and Light in turn gave birth to the first gods. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Eros was the primary source of the Universe, and although he cannot produce offspring, he is the stimulating force that unites all elements to create. Although the eldest of deities, he is always depicted young, even as an infant - an image which implies that he is immature and impulsive. Indeed, the love-stricken of any age, once smitten by his dart, feel like children and behave accordingly in their infatuated state.

Our very relationship to life is an erotic one, and any optimism we derive about our being is begotten out of this relationship. We are no less in love with the nature of ourselves than Narcissus was with his reflection in the pond. It is through this measure of "ourselves" that we seek the desirous mate of our dreams whom we consider to be more perfect than life itself since on him/her we project the delusion of our own supposed perfection.

And it really is a "delusion, since we attribute to the object of our desire elements that we essentially need to achieve completion... Therefore, we truly fall in love with that which we don't possess. The question is: since what we don't possess always changes on possession like a fleeting dream, do we ever fulfill our quest?

Only under the influence of Eros in the Greek sense, untranslatable in any other language, can one be "attended by the vision splendid" to attire his/her existence by such superficially profound beauty as that immortalized in Greek art.

EROS

What's Eros, but the substance of a wandering dream in flight -

a dream that nourishes that deity with its luminescent light.

Interprets he the universe through mesmerizing eyes,

and looks upon the attire of souls beyond their mortal flesh,

which palpitate deceivingly in their organic mesh.

Th' enfolded immaterial power dwelling in his realm

so clearly manifests itself through plaintive, restless eyes,

the nature of one's frame and build, his temperamental guize.

Oh, what's existence other than a biorhythmic dance

a soul-composed choreography of an erotic trance?

Voices, human utterances - libations to the god -

are all a song in tympany, a symphony in praise-

a bittersweet, sad melody Euridice to raise,

distilling its ethereal substance into fluid of life

that nourishes the winged god in his perpetual strife.


Panagiotis Terpandros Zachariou  -1995-