Ruby-colored Line for Books by Eli Siegel

From the chapter Love and Reality in
By Eli Siegel

Ruby-colored Line for Aesthetic Realism books page

The self by its very nature is compelled to love reality. The self has to aim after happiness and there is no happiness except by the successful love of reality....

There was a time when Jim Haskins had not heard of Edith Ritchie. He now thinks (and in fact has told Edith) that if she loves him, "The world is mine."  Sometimes Jim is swept by a feeling which goes beyond his toes and his ears, and which he regards as the grandest thing in the world.  He does not see this feeling as close to the material in his philosophy course at college, but it is. For Edith Ritchie, as she may deserve to be, has been taken by him as a symbol of the whole world and when his self meets through her body the self of Edith Ritchie, something of that world .... comes to him .... Indeed, sex is basically philosophic .... Sex, seen fully, is intellectual, has knowledge to it .... It is the symbolic, joyful junction of two bodies or selves: symbolical of the joy there would be were a self to accept the world entirely and see its freedom in doing so.  . . . .

Ronald Hill was a moody young man who despised his uncles, the people he met, people in general; he thought himself a profoundly distinguished being whose attitudes had a dimension to them that could not be discerned elsewhere. Though Ronald proudly lived in this exalted, sequestered island, when eighteen he noticed that the desire for woman was strong, mastering. He used to talk contemptuously of women .... He saw women as playthings to be manipulated and twisted by his own masterful, spiritual cunning.  Surprisingly, nevertheless, he found himself once sobbing on Hannah's shoulder, weeping that he needed her always, and hoping that she would never leave him .... Margaret and Hannah represented outside objects to which he was driven; but the world of which these objects were a part was looked on with hatred by Ronald as an oppressor....  

Love and marriage, in the contemporary world, are attended often by desires to possess, desires to hate, giving of one's body without the giving of one's self, anger, shame, misery. It is all because that third partner in any relation of two people [—the world itself—] is not seen for what it is and not loved.  One cannot really love a person without loving reality.

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