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John Michell Mysteries


ARCHIVE for Thursday 29th November 2001 - Love is all you need - or what?

Some say that the greatest mystery is love. I would not go that far, but it is a tricky one all right. Love is so greatly powerful. It dominates minds throughout lifetimes. Everyone looks for it. It is thought of as the highest happiness.

Yet love, or its loss, is a major cause of despair and suicide. I have heard it said that the pain of frustrated love is worse that any other - except gout and childbirth. And the experts say there is no sure cure for it, apart from time. They recommend new scenery and a change of company. The French Foreign Legion used to take care of that.

Love is not rational so it is best avoided. That is one way of dealing with it, but it hardly ever works. Reasons for that is given by Plato in his book, Phaedrus.

He asks the question, Is it better to be the lover or the loved one? First it seems that the beloved has the advantage, receiving presents and favours from the lover. But that becomes rather boring. In the end you see that the lover is having the best time. That is because he is possessed by a mania, a kind of madness. This mania, says Plato, is eternal and comes from the gods. Sanity is man-made and therefore a lower state.

This brings the subject up to its proper, mystical level. Give or take the pains, it is delightful to be in love. First you think it is all because of the other person. But it may be that your love is for something higher, for the god of love itself. That is what the agony aunts sometimes say in their advice columns.

Super-mystical is the speech on love by Socrates (in Plato’s Symposium). He learnt his philosophy, together with the arts of love, from a wise woman, Diotoma. She taught him how to widen love, from one person to others you like, and then to humanity in general. Then she led him to the climax of his initiation, the mystical orgasm when he met Love itself.

Many popular songs are about young love gone wrong. Most pathetic are the cowboys with their ‘lonesome me’ wailings. They always say it is because the loved one has gone. But their music is not just personal. It touches everyone because in it is a yearning that everyone feels. It is for love on every level. Ultimately it is for what mystics call union with God.

The goddess of love
Aphrodite was a Greek goddess of love. Every year married women came to her sanctuaries and spent a week or so there, freely giving and receiving love. Their husbands agreed that this indulgence made them happier and more fa ithful during the rest of the year.

John Michell

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John Michell is a prolific author. Below are just two of John's books which might interest you. We have arranged with our friends at The Daily Mirror for website visitors to order books mentioned on this site.

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Unexplained Phenomena, A Rough Guide Special
(co-author Bob Rickard, rrp £12.99) at the special Mirror Direct price of £9.99 + p&p.
Who Wrote Shakespeare?
(Thames & Hudson, rrp £8.95) for the Mirror Direct special price of £6.95 + p&p.
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