This little word, "love," how it has been used, misused and abused! Everyone talks about love, from the Gospel writers to the young man who asks his date, "Do you love me?" Everyone at some time or other feels what he or she calls love, is exalted by the feeling — or distraught and torn. Crimes are committed because of love, and great sacrifices are made by glowing individuals in the name of love. Love and death ever mingle in the cup of the human soul. The sweet-bitter potion is concocted anew for each adolescent by the great witch, Life.
To experience love is the unavoidable fate of every human being. This experience is the great maturing force for the young; to the mature grownup, it is the acid test of whether or not he or she has actually grown-up. Even to the aging, it may sometimes come as an intimation of what is beyond life or as a renewal of life energy, a "second wind" needed to end the great race of human existence. At any age and in any circumstance, the experience of love offers to the human consciousness a mirror. The mirror says: "Yes, this is you. Did you believe perchance that you were something else? Look at your face. Plumb the depth of your eyes. What do you see? That, you are, in reality and in truth."
According to the old mythological and astrological traditions, Venus is the symbol of love; and we often see Venus portrayed looking at herself in a mirror. We also know that Venus (or Aphrodite in Greece) rose from the foam of the sea; some have described her as wearing a necklace of pearls. These are all deeply significant symbols which it would be well for us to understand, for love without understanding may turn into a hollow mockery or tragedy. To love without understanding must inevitably end in pain, pain for the lover or the beloved — usually for both.
This essay is now included in
Sex, Love & Business
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