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Leap of Faith: Love Someone! Be Bold! Take Risk: Be Vulnerable!

Uploaded 1/7/2022, approx. 9 minute read

What a sad age we live in. We are so afraid of loving, so afraid of getting close, so afraid of being vulnerable, and even more afraid of showing our vulnerabilities to another.

And this fear is rational, because when we show a vulnerability to another person, we invite destruction, we invite heartbreak, we invite death into our homes beyond our doorsteps.

Yes, this is the risk and tale in love. Nothing comes cost-free. Nothing comes risk-free. There's no free lunch, or dinner, or even drinks. To love is to take a risk, to go on a limb. To love is to self-annihilate by decision, deliberately, knowingly, fearlessly. Love is the ultimate act of defiance, because we are all doomed to die, and the only way to defy death is to love.

Yet it is also a surefire way to invite death into our hearts and into our lives.

This is the paradox of love. This is the paradox of love. It is life-reified and it is death-invited.

Why? Why is it? Why this duality? Why is it both life and procreation and death and annihilation? Why this Janus aspect of love?

Because of two reasons.

To love really, to love deeply, to love profoundly, one needs to be vulnerable. One needs to denude oneself of all defenses. One needs to disable the firewall. One needs to reach out and potentially be rejected. One needs to risk being played and taken advantage of. There's no way for us to really know another person's mind. We have no access to anyone's mind. We rely exclusively on self-reporting.

So, a potential intimate partner, a potential love interest can tell us, I love you. You're amazing. You're the only one. I will do anything for you. I will never hurt you.

How do I know that this is true? I don't. I don't. There's no way to ascertain the veracity of these statements, no way to know for sure that they're true.


In the background, the person may be thinking malevolent, malicious thoughts, may be conspiring, may be planning to undermine and destroy me, but I still, I still listen to this self-reporting, listen to what he has to say or she has to say, and go for it.

Kierkegaard, who was a Danish religious philosopher, called it a leap of faith. Love is a leap of faith, and in this sense, it is indistinguishable from religion.

No wonder Christianity is a religion of love, not the practice of Christianity, mind you, but Christianity. Jesus is a religion of love because love is a religion.

You need to suspend disbelief. You need to leap across the abyss, eyes closed, back arched, all in it, unreservedly, fearlessly, courageously, because love is an act of bravery, which is bigger than any firefighters or soldiers. To fight a war from personal experience is a small act of courage. You're surrounded by your peers. It's a crowd, mass phenomenon.

To fall in love and to admit it, to accept it and to immerse yourself in it and to give into it and to pursue it, these are the ultimate acts of courage.

Because the other person is given the power to destroy you, to break your heart, to take away your sorrow, to body and mind snatch you. The other person is given almost ultimate power over you.

And to do that, you need to trust, not to be gullible, but to trust. You need to close your eyes and to believe it's an act of faith.

Love is an act of faith. The church of love is a congregation of the believers.

And so every day around the world, millions of us take this irretrievable, irreversible step, open ourselves up and experience emotions, render ourselves vulnerable to the most heinous abuse and trauma and pain and hurt and the risk of disintegration, because the prize is worth these risks and these dangers, the prize of loving and being loved.

And another reason why love is so threatening, especially among the younger generations, is because it requires transformation, self-transformation. It demands, it demands destruction of the old. It's a disruptive and yet creative form of disruption. You die. When you start to love, you die and you are reborn. It's a religious thing almost again. The resurrection. You die as the old you and you are reborn as a new person. A new person bathed in the warmth and acceptance and the love that another person can give you.

It is a transformative experience. It is a trans-substantiation. You become the flesh and blood of your former crucified self.

So love is, in a way, a process of dying. It's a small death, which is how the French called orgasm, called orgasm.

So love and sex and the interface between them, it's an area of death with the promise of rebirth, renaissance, transformation, personal growth and development, exploring your boundaries, expanding.

Love is an expansive experience. One plus one makes much more than two in true love.

The separateness is a condition for togetherness. The two lovers bring into their commonality two universes, two worlds.

Love is a kind of wormhole between two cosmoses.

Many have written about this and I would like to read to you two texts of hundreds or thousands.

One is the inevitable Nietzsche. He wrote about women, storm and stress period of women.

In the three or four civilized countries of Europe, women can through a few centuries of education be made into anything, even into men. How prescient it is. An amazing man, Nietzsche.

He continues to write, they can be made even into men, not in the sexual sense, to be sure, but in every other sense. Under such a regimen, they will one day have acquired all the male strengths and virtues, although they will also, of course, have had to accept all male weaknesses and vices into the bargain. Thus much can, as afore said, be extorted.

But how shall we endure the intermediate rage, intermediate stage, which may itself last a couple of centuries, during which the primordial properties of women, their follies and injustices, are still asserting themselves over what has been newly learned and acquired. This will be the age in which the actual masculine effect will be anger. Anger the fact that all the arts and sciences have been choked and deluged by an unheard of dilettantism. Philosophy talked to death by mind bewildering babble, politics more fantastic and partisan than ever, society in full discussion, because the custodians of ancient morality and custom have become ludicrous to themselves and are striving to stand outside morality and custom in every respect.

For if women possess their great power in morality and custom, for what will they have to grasp to regain a comparable abundance of power, for once they have abandoned morality and custom?

It's a prescient, amazing text, one of hundreds that Friedrich Nietzsche had written.

But much more to the point, I would like to recuse something by Sabina Spilrein.

Sabina Spilrein was a medical doctor and she was the lover of Jung. She was born in Rostov-on-Don, where I teach psychology, and she went to see Jung in Switzerland as a patient, and they fell in love, they had a longer fear.

Sabina Spilrein had written about the affinity, the close interface between love and death and destruction. The passionate yearning, she wrote, the libido has two sides. It is a power which beautifies everything and under certain circumstances destroys everything.

One often behaves as if one could not quite understand what the destroying quality of the creative power could possibly be. Abe.

A woman who abandons herself to her passions, especially under today's cultural circumstances, writes Spilrein. This text was written about a hundred years ago.

Such a woman experiences the destructive quality only too soon.

One must take one's imagination a little outside the realm of bourgeois morality in order to understand what a feeling of boundless insecurity overcomes the human being who surrenders herself unconditionally to fate.

Even giving birth, said Spilrein, a hundred years ago or eighty years ago, even giving birth, that itself is self-destruction, for with the birth of the following generation, the preceding one has passed its peak.

So our descendants become our most dangerous enemies with whom we cannot cope, for they will outlive us. They will take the power from our enfeebled hands.

Anxiety before erotic fate is entirely understandable, for there is something unforeseeable in it. Fate usually holds unknown dangers, and the continual reluctance of neurotics to take chances with their life is explained by the wish to be permitted to stand aside in order to not have to participate in the dangerous battle of life.

Whoever renounces the risk of experience must suffocate the desire for it, commit a kind of suicide.

From that, the death fantasies are explained, which readily accompany the renunciation of the erotic wish.

I deliberately quote Jung's words in such detail because his remarks correspond for the most part with my own results, in that he points out an unknown danger which lies in erotic activity.

Besides, it is very important for me that a male individual is also conscious of a danger that is not only social in character.

Jung brings the death images, to be sure, not into agreement with but in opposition to sexual images.

From my experience with girls, I can say that normally the feeling of anxiety steps into the foreground of the feelings of repression.

Well, the possibility of the wish realization first occurs, and to be sure, it is quite certain, a quite certain form of anxiety.

One feels the enemy in herself. It is her own love heat.

I repeat this segment, this section, because it's very important.

Spilrein says from my experiences with girls, I can say that normally the feeling of anxiety steps into the foreground of the feelings of repression.

Well, the possibility of the wish realization first occurs, and to be sure, it is a quite certain form of anxiety.

One feels the enemy in herself. It is her own love heat which compels her with an iron necessity to do what she does not want.

She feels the end, the passing away from which she might try in vain to escape into unknown, distant lands.

Is that all one might ask? Is it the peak and nothing more besides?

What happens with the individual in sexual activity that warrants such a mood?

And she had written a paper answering this question, it's titled Destruction as a Cause of Becoming, Sabina Spilrein.

The close affinity between death and sex and love had been noted for millennium. There's nothing new about it.

But for the first time in human history, vast swaths of the population, especially the young under age 35, are too leery, too immature, too cowardly and craven to attempt this leap of faith from loneliness, which is a form of dying, form of death, to love, which is another form.

They negate these young generations, they negate emotions, the fight back feelings, catching feelings. They avoid love and intimacy and relationships because they feel threatened. They feel that it might destroy their lives.

But behind it all, behind this rationalization and intellectualization of the problem, of these problem behaviors, behind all this, there is simply cowardice, simply fear, simply primordial infantilism, infantilism, the wish to be sequestered and secured and safe with one's parents or one's peers, away, away from the challenge and the promise that is love.

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