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January 08, 2010


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The idea of the romance created by star-crossed lovers exchanging letters in secret is far older than your story. And whose heart isn't captured by this idea of suspenseful romance? Who doesn't love the idea of being loved entirely for oneself - free of the constraints of life, daily realities and even the body? To love just the soul and only for the soul?

I suspect that is what heaven is.

But did the lovers ever meet? Did their love survive when they actually encountered one another? Did they walk off into the sunset? Are star crossed lovers really ever able to?

Or is it the heat and the magic of the elixir of the soul and imagination that cannot endure when diluted by reality? After all, no one knows if Romeo and Juliet's love would have made a happy life. When they stepped out of the small circle of their imagination - they died. The world killed them and they killed themselves.

Is Love in it's purest form the love of these letter writers? Or is it the Love of "The Notebook" in which people encounter each other, change their lives and die in each others' arms in their old age? Is it the love which comes easy and free, or the love that is earned? Is it fleeting love that burns so hot - or love that endures the tests of time and the harshness of life?

Do angels sing for all of these? Does God play hide and seek in the love that only two holocaust survivors can share?

What is sacred? What is pure? What brand of Love is the most beautiful? What is most real?

Who said they were star-crossed?

And the angels, for better or worse, I imagine sing for dante and beatrice, not for dante and the woman he actually married. Right?

Marriage and Love. They can be one and the same. Not on this blog though, my dear....

Of course they do not have to be the same. But on paper, with imagination engaged - do two people really fall in love with each other? Or is it the idea of each other? Or is it two characters? On paper we are who we want to be - we reveal only what we want and create what we wish to present. On paper are the lovers two whole people? Do they ever really fall in love with each other?

Eric, you have removed the "sacred" from love. That's fine.... but it is what happens when we conflate love with marriage. Or if we remove the old fashioned or anyway this very old idea of love as idea or love as mirror of the soul. Without imagination enagaged, can there be True Love?

And is married love more daunting? Yes. But it is categorically different, isn't it?

How is loving a person despire their flaws more incredible or more impressive then loving someone as Beloved? I imagine they are very different things and cannot be compared.

Shekure and Black had both. They started from poetic love and then moved to married love. In a book but still, there Romance and then married love reminded me of the ending scene in the book where Shekure tells her little boy Orhan that more than anything she desires two paintings of herself-- one painted in eternity, in the style of the Ottomans (depicting her Ideal Self) and the other one painted in time, in the style of the Venitians (depicting her enbodied self)

I'm just not convinced that letters and the love you describe are anything significantly different than infatuation with a character in a novel. Only the novel is interactive as the character returns a letter.

To truly experience Love, don't lovers have to experience each other's presence? The tactile quality of the soul? The energy we can feel across a room? Or up close to one another? To be in love with another - don't lovers have to stand before one another, unable to conceal their souls?

There are many kinds of love but no (NO) I do not place greater value or significance on Dante's Love for his real wife over his Love of Beatrice. I think they are different. Incomparable. And, do you really want to get me started on this idea of l'amour bourgeois as potential death of poetry, imagination, community and friendship? Not to mention the destruction of civiliation (just kidding) 笑!

But there's nothing Bourgeois about love at first sight or even the thrill of a short romance. But a least you know the soul you're with. You have a real sense of a person in a way he or she cannot hide.

Sure, you can still project your fantasies upon the object of your love. Sure, you can pay attention to and even embellish some aspects of a person, and ignore others. But you can equally choose to notice and explore.

Moreover, in person, you can sense a person's soul. You can also see his or her manner, reactions, the lines of his or her face and the look in his or eyes.

On paper they are the character they present themselves as - not a complete person. And the angels are just hired actors with a script. Falling in love in this way is simply to romance and fall in love with one's self.

A woman slender, lissome, of fresh beauty,
For whom the heart of the sad lover is longing.
The assembly is lifted with fragrance at the mention of her,
And every tongue utters her name.

Either Ibn el Arabi was Dante-esque or Dante was Ibn el Arabian, and even
the first possibility is thinkable among the Sufis who think that baraka can
flow backward in time. Mind you, there is also that Widow in the Window for
Dante, who appeared after Beatrice died?and scholars are still also
fantasizing about that relationship (“did anything happen?”) as about
Arabi’s great love.

Concerning the perennial grumblings re love v. marriage, I would offer this.
Love is to marriage as poetry is to philosophy. Now Ibn el Arabi was
unquestionably one of the greatest poets in the Arabic language, but he
blackened vast tomes with philosophical writings. But note this. All
through Arabi’s great works, his thought frequently and suddenly rises into
poetry, poetry permeates the prose, rises above it, refreshes it like
fountains?and that is the character of the great marriage too, mostly prose,
but sometimes…

And we mustn’t assume that it was all just longing, either:

She is the ease of whoever
burns for her,
transferring him from the levels
of mortal man
out of jealousy, lest her sparkle
be stained
by the turbidity
in the pools.
[Meccan Illuminations]


Molto bello. Pope Ratzinger has already closed the doors to limbo despite his tweeting.

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