Recondita Dissipatio

I got into the car. Any moving car.

If the owner turned left out of the parking lot I would introduce myself and ask to be dropped at the community center down the road.

She did, turn left that is, and so I introduced myself.
She had sight problems, which I quickly understood when we found ourselves on the outside of a right-hand curve, veering onto a median ground. We felt the brush of tall grass on the chassis before correcting ourselves, only to swing back into oncoming traffic on the straightaway. I don’t remember putting on my seat belt. Logically I must have. Probably, I did not.

Time was passing. I recognized less of the passing landscape. Obviously we had gone further north; “We must have taken the shore route”, I thought.

The scenery was beautiful: on one side deep greens, water fowl and an occasional house against a background of water, mountains and sky. As we sped through the landscape the forest to the left became an evergreen blur.

My erratic and sight impaired companion, now captor, took a folded map from the sun visor, squinted at the small print index and pointed to a name in blue. It was, she thought, the name of the lake we were skirting.

I took the map and tried to find the lake on the map, turning it this way and that, until my patron stopped the car, took the map back and siddled up to read it. Just as we were getting oriented, the car was in motion again, this time rolling to a stop a little further, in an angled parking space.

I stepped out of the car. I was being watched. I felt it. At my feet, a dark-haired woman with wildness in her hair and eyes sat on the sidewalk, her feet tucked under her in a half-squat, a tropical white cotton dress shifting in the breeze.

Here was desire.

I had turned it down twice this morning, and I had turned down an offer of a disinterested if distracted friendship to collaborate on a book. I was being spirited from my objective by a blind and reckless woman who, no doubt had her own designs. And here I was, standing by a stone wall, in a gentrified medieval village on the shore of some unknowable lake district confronted with desire.

Desire was not her name, mind you. It is what I saw in her eyes…

Desire, a call for communion

Desire, a call for communion

This is not a reflection about ultimate values. Rather it is a meditation upon one way in which we experience universal connectedness.

In the give and take of human relations, and of ultimate experiences, one hears that women have a more intense experience of “desire”.

Whether true or not, “desire” is a benchmark of human vitality

The key problem of existence is motivation: what is the necessity of it all? Why get up in the morning? These and similar questions lead humans to stories of context, to mythologies and ritual practices designed to harmonise man with observance, with nature and the source of life.

Are we masters of necessity, or driven by it?

If the answer to the question of motivation is physical, i.e. reproduction, one answer applies, if spiritual, another.

The spiritual answer begs the question of authority and requires an act of faith and affirmation, of “Nirvana”, “God” or “Allah” and is always accompanied by an appropriate defferential behaviour.

“Desire” however, is a life-problem, an affirmation of a negative, a craving for release from the craving, an “avoidance” behaviour that is “life-affirming”.

I cannot think of “desire” without at the same time conceiving of satiety.

Such hunger is a metaphor for loneliness and isolation, for cold, hunger and ultimately death. The physical and spiritual love that elevate man from hunger are ultimately the affirmative bonds of good society.

The moral issue in desire arises from the implications of desire for individual relationships and the consequences of such relations for personal security and self-determination.