There, on the unseen transformation of nature into relation, we pin our hope of immortality. There, on love.
The distinction of nature from person is not an intellectual definition. It is the experience of love: the revelation of the uniqueness of the Beloved which is not susceptible to definition. Definitions are only nature, signifiers of a common understanding. They define the objective, the common denominator. The erotic revelation remains unbounded, it shines in the otherness of the person, in his or her freedom. Unbounded, that is, inaccessible to touch.
The transformation of nature into relation is a change of the mode of existence, from necessity to freedom. We move out of necessity, and we move into freedom. How much death does the transformation contain? Death of that which is bounded, the objective, the finite, our circumscribed mortality. Leaving behind individuality, emptying the self of the demand of nature, annihilating egocentric resistance. And resurrection of the person in his or her erotic otherness. “Life in another form.”
Definitions are useless, faltering speech inadequate to the expression of meaning. Love does not translate into language. That is why the resurrection seeks to find us, hidden in the inadequacy of what we cannot express or prove. Language conveys fear, or the disguising of fear, about the loss of language that comes with death, the absolute aloneness of the unrelated and inexplicable. The resurrection is always beyond speech, and beyond touch, while death is always mute, tangible, and objective. A stone blocking our way. “At the door” of desire.
“Who will roll away the stone for us,” the stone of objective death. Who will teach us about our own death, the transformation of nature into relation? Only love seems to have the ability to convince us about the undemonstrable.
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Life freed from death. What does this phrase really refer to? It seems like a conceptual cloak to cover the nakedness of our ignorance. And yet in love’s fragmentary moments ignorance is revealed as “beyond all knowledge.” It is then that we gain a foretaste of immortality. A foretaste in respect of the gift of our soul which we have shared our freely, trampling on our shattered ego.
To share out your soul freely, that is what metanoia (a change of mind, or repentance) really refers to: a mental product of love. A change of mind, or love for the indemonstrable. And you throw off every conceptual cloak of self-defense, you give up the fleshly resistance of your ego. Repentance has nothing to do with self-regarding sorrow for legal transgressions. It is an ecstatic erotic self-emptying. A change of mind about the mode of thinking and being.
Our nature is, exists, with itself as its own object of thought, with the natural logic of self-finality. It automatically aims at pleasure, the created sweetness of life-in-itself. That is why repentance is deranged (ekphron). It transfers the logic of desire, beyond the sweetness of life-in-itself, which is bounded by death. Beyond natural life, to the life given by grace, to the grace of love.
The trampoline of repentance is the knowledge of sin. Sin and repentance come from a highly charged vocabulary, whose power “religious” misuse has neutralized. Sin is not a transgression of law, but failure, going astray, missing the mark, falling short of the goal of unlimited life. It is not easy for a person actively to acknowledge the failure of his or her natural existence, nor is this acknowledgement simply a detached intellectual exercise. Repentance is a change of mind, a complete change of outlook, transforming the way in which human beings think and organize their existence. A broadening of freedom beyond natural logic, to the indemonstrable reality of erotic Grace.
So real is the change that comes with repentance that everything in the life of the person who is really in love is changed. Everything. Even the need for food and water. For glory and power. The person in love thirsts only for reciprocity. And the more it is given to him or her, the more widely love spreads. Like the small pebble cast into a pool sends out ever-expanding ripples.
We fall in love not only with the person of the Other, but with everything that is his, and with everything that is related to him. Whatever he makes and whatever he touches, with the music he loves, the streets he walks, the landscapes we have looked at together. If you happen to have fallen in love with God himself, even for a fraction of a second, the quivering of yearning remains in every cool drop of spring rain, in the snow which covers the grey lace of the shadbush, in the shimmering blue sky of a summer afternoon, and in the smell of autumn. Every aspect of beauty, every skillful artifact is a gift of erotic joy granted to you.