Saturday, January 20, 2018

Losing one's life as distinguished from saving it

Biblical "sexuality is not . . . an expression of an absolute power, but of relationship, the gift to the other, and reciprocal dependence.  In the Platonic myth [of that third kind [(γένος)] of human being, that 'double nature which was once called Androgynous'], the search for the partner [from whom one has been cut away, that other half, that person of the opposite sex,] is not oriented to the gift of self, but to nostalgia for a state of omnipotence.  Androgyny proceeds from the same principle, whether it be religious or not."

     Jean-Baptiste Édart, “L’androgyne ou la communion des personnes?,” Communio:  revue internationale catholique 31, no. 5-6 (septembre-décembre 2006):  95 (83-96).
     The point, I suppose, is that Zeus separated the three kinds of human being, the male-male, the female-female, and, most importantly for our purposes here, the male-female or "androgynous", in order to weaken them, "as punishment for the wrong we did him" (Symposium 193a, in the Hackett edition ed. Cooper).  Their original spherical wholeness or integrity, by contrast, stood (as in the divinity) for "absolute power", self-sufficiency, perfection (Eliade, 85).
     But in the biblical view, according to which God created them male and female, there is no fall into differentiation (indeed, sexual differentiation is presented in Gen 2 as a solution, not a fall), and no room for these other options.  (For a list of the ways in which the Genesis myth corrects the Platonic one, a list taken from Xavier Lacroix, see p. 93.)  There is only the one kind of human being, who "can only become fully aware of his identity in the encounter with the other sex, image of the encounter with God."  For this reason it can come as no surprise that Saint Paul, a very careful reader of Genesis 1-3, "associates idolatry with homosexual acts, making of these latter the consequence of the former", i.e. idolatry:  "If the sexual difference is the expression of the relational capacity characteristic of God, then he who chooses to adore the creature in place of the Creator, he who denies the true nature of a God [of] love, source of all communion, denies relationship, founded on the difference, in order to enter into the fusion that is sought with one's double [(identique)], with an eye to omnipotence" (96).

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