The Erotic by Andreas-Salome Lou; Del Nevo Matthew; Winship Gary

The Erotic by Andreas-Salome Lou; Del Nevo Matthew; Winship Gary

Author:Andreas-Salome, Lou; Del Nevo, Matthew; Winship, Gary
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Routledge


Two facts are characteristic of the problem of the erotic: First of all, that eroticism should be considered as a special case within the sphere of physiological, psychical, and social relations, rather than independently and separately as is often the case. But secondly, that it once again links together these three kinds of relations, merging them into one, and making them its problem.

Rooted since the beginning in the substrate of all existence, eroticism grows from a soil that is ever the same, rich and strong, to whatever height it grows, whatever the immensity, the space occupied by the marvelous tree in which it flowers—subsisting—even when that soil is entirely overrun by edifices—below them, in all its primeval, obscure, and earthy strength. Its immense value to life consists precisely in the fact that, capable though it is of imposing its hegemony widely or of incarnating noble ideals, it has no need to do so, but can draw a surplus of strength from any humus, adapt to serve life in any possible circumstance. Thus we find eroticism associated with the almost purely vegetative functions of our physical being, bound closely to them, and even if it does not become, like these functions, an absolute necessity of existence, it continues to exert a powerful influence upon them. That is why, even in its elevated forms and manifestations, even at the topmost point of the most complex ecstasies of love, there remains in it something of the simplicity and profundity of its origins, always present and ineradicable—something of that healthy gaiety which experiences the life of the body—in the specific sense of the satisfaction of the instincts—as always new, always young and, so to speak, like life itself in its primitive sense. Just as all healthy beings rejoice at awakening, or in their daily bread, or in walking in the fresh air, with a pleasure that is constantly renewed, as if at a joy that is born anew each day, and just as the beginnings of neurosis can often be accurately diagnosed in the fact that these daily joys, these fundamental necessities, become tainted with “boredom,” with “monotony,” with “nausea,” likewise, in the existence of the erotic, behind and beneath the other moments of happiness that it entails, there is always present a happiness which, hardly felt and impossible to measure, man shares with everything that, like himself, breathes.

Even in animals, eroticism is not confined to this pleasure alone, since in the higher animals acts of sexuality are accompanied by changes in the brain which shake their nervous tissue with violent exaltation: basic sexuality is thus impelled towards sensation, and eventually the romanticism of feeling, to the most subtly variegated peaks and summits, in the sphere of that which is most specific to man. However, the foundations upon which this ascending evolution of love takes place are constantly shifting: instead of something that permanently retains both its nature and its value, it is governed by that law of all animal existence which holds that the intensity of excitement diminishes with each repetition.


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