Love, Mystery, and Irrationality

“Sexuality is a murky realm of contradiction and ambivalence. It cannot always be understood by social models, which feminism, as an heir of nineteenth-century utilitarianism, insists on imposing on it. Mystification will always remain the disorderly companion of love and art. Eroticism *is* mystique; that is, the aura of emotion and imagination around sex. It cannot be ‘fixed’ by codes of social or moral convenience, whether from the political left or right. For nature’s fascism is greater than that of any society. There is a daemonic instability in sexual relations that we may have to accept.”

– Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae

“Man should stop being—or becoming—a rational animal. He should become a lunatic, risking everything for the sake of his dangerous fantasies, capable of exaltations, ready to die for all that the world has as well for what it has not.”

– E. M. Cioran, On the Heights of Despair

“We lay on the ground and kissed. Perhaps you smile. That we only lay on the ground and kissed. You young people can lend your bodies now, play with them, give them as we could not. But remember that you have paid a price: that of a world rich in mystery and delicate emotion. It is not only species of animal that die out, but whole species of feeling. And if you are wise you will never pity the past for what it did not know, but pity yourself for what it did … In the end we were silent. You will have understood. Love is the mystery between two people, not the identity.”

– John Fowles, The Magus

“Heathcliff, in Wuthering Heights, would kill everybody on earth in order to gain Cathy, but he would never think of saying that murder is reasonable or theoretically defensible. He would commit it; there his theory comes to a halt. This implies powerful love and it implies character. Since intense love is rare, such murders are uncommon, and they retain an air of waywardness. But as soon as a man, through lack of character, takes refuge in a doctrine, as soon as he makes his crime reasonable, it multiplies like Reason herself and assumes all the figures of the syllogism. It was unique like a cry; now it is universal like science. Yesterday, it was put on trial; today it is the law.”

– Albert Camus, The Rebel

“Leonardo who knew neither Latin nor Greek, and who described himself as an unlettered men (‘omo senza lettere’), loved words and fought with them, receiving many wounds. Love wounds. There is no love that does not pierce the hands and feet. No love that leaves the lover unmarked.”

– Jeanette Winterson, Art & Lies

“The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed”

– T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”