sick bad love


So far as I’ve been able to see, this is a world of desire.  If we no longer care to live, there’s a fair chance we won’t.  Depending on how deep it goes, our bodies will take the message.

If (for another example) a woman is raped, she may well black out and not remember the ordeal.  My hypothesis about this blackout phenomenon?  To remember, one must first desire to, and an attack on a prime locus of desire can leave desire itself unable to recover its purposive trajectory toward the future.

So, retaining desire and the power to desire seems to me a vital part of going through the life one is here to live.

I know that Eastern meditative systems advise us that we suffer only so long as we desire, whereas Enlightenment follows the abandonment of desire with its delusive, fleeting satisfactions.

Good luck with that.

The real danger for the life of feeling, which is my life and the life of everybody I know, is not that we will get our feelings hurt, or our poor, vulnerable hearts broken, but that — when that happens (as in some degree and form it must) – we will shut down the sluice gates of desire.

Who or what has one loved?  To figure that out is absolutely crucial.  What did one really learn in that crucible?  If one loved in vain, will it do any good to oneself or the other to persist?  Or more good to give it up?

Is the heart broken?  Honor that!  It is not a defect.  There is truth and dignity in the tragedy of it.  Suffer it through.  There are worse dangers: cynicism, the compensatory hardening of the heart, the flattening of hope.

Intelligent hope is the human end of our compact with the God of intelligent hope.

About Abigail

Abigail Rosenthal is Professor Emerita of Philosophy, Brooklyn College of CUNY. She is the author of A Good Look at Evil, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, now available in an expanded, revised second edition and as an audiobook. Its thesis is that good people try to live out their stories while evil people aim to mess up good people’s stories. Her next book, Confessions of a Young Philosopher, forthcoming and illustrated, provides multiple illustrations from her own life. She writes a weekly column for her blog, “Dear Abbie: The Non-Advice Column” (www.dearabbie-nonadvice.com) where she explains why women's lives are highly interesting. She’s the editor of the posthumously published Consolations of Philosophy: Hobbes’s Secret; Spinoza’s Way by her father, Henry M. Rosenthal. Some of her articles can be accessed at https://brooklyn-cuny.academia.edu/AbigailMartin . She is married to Jerry L. Martin, also a philosopher. They live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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1 Response to “Heartbreak”

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