I read We by Robert Johnson yesterday. It provided some excellent food for thought and some much needed perspective.

We is a Jungian reading of the Tristan and Iseult myth, with the aim of explaining the phenomena of romantic love in modern Western society. Johnson begins by pointing out that the focus on romantic love, as understood and practiced in the West, is an enormous and unprecedented development of the last thousand years. No other culture places the importance on romance that we in the West do, nor do they make it a precondition of marriage. Love and marriage in eastern societies, and in all the world prior to the last millenia, is and was a quieter affair. No epic passions, no “sparks”, no quasi-religious ecstasies of adoration. No pursuit of “the one”. Just friendship, relatedness, mutual respect, and commitment.

The origins of the modern notion of romantic love, Johnson believes, lie in the medieval idea of “courtly love”, which in turn had it’s roots in Catharist Manichiesm. The courtly model help that knight would give his heart to a Lady. To him, she would represent all that is good and pure and high in the world. She would inspire him to acts of bravery and chivalry; to nobility; to graciousness and selflessness. In her service all the better parts of his personality would be drawn out. They would pine for each other, always – but they would never be physically united. Courtly love was a strictly spiritual ideal. The Lady would always remain unattainable. She might even be some other noble’s wife. But the image of her in the knight’s mind, the epitome of the eternal angelic feminine, would forever inflame his heart with ecstatic passion and impel him onwards to greater and greater deeds.

In this we can already see glimpses of Johnson’s central thesis: that romantic love, in the heart of a man, is in actuality a religious experience.

Over time, courtly love evolved into what we now know as romantic love. And as reason became the dominant factor in Western life, religion became codified and ossified, and mankind’s religious function was consigned more and more to a dusty closet, the importance of romance grew and grew. Until the present day, where romance is the prevailing preoccupation of the majority of adults. As spirituality was pushed out of Western’s man’s thoughts, it manifested itself in the form of romantic love.

Consider the symptoms. A man newly in love suffers all the ecstasies of a religious convert. In the beloved he sees all that is good and pure. He sees someone who will complete him. He sees his salvation, a new factor that will give meaning to his life.

Johnson sees this state as a projection of the anima – the soul, the goddess within, the intermediary between the ego and the realms ot the unconscious. The man is not truly in love with the woman at all; he is in love with a projection of his own unconscious. He sees in her the answer to his need for connectedness, for relatedness, gor higher meaning – all the things that religion once provided. She is the blessed virgin, she is the Great Mother, she is Shakti.

Because it is not truly the woman herself that he sees, but an anima-projection, his love is doomed from the start. It is “love and death, mixed together”, in the words of the myth. No human being can bear the burden of a goddess for very long. And because he does not truly see her, the person, he cannot truly be a friend to her. Before long the enchantment will wear off. Then the projection will move on to a new human host, and our ill-starred lover will feel that unless he forsakes his partner to be with the new, he will be forever incomplete. It is a dream-world, and it’s tragic dissolution is only a matter of time.

We are all inculcated into this paradigm in the west. There is no avoiding it; it is in the stories we read, the fairy-tales we hear as children, the songs on the radio, and in the movies and shows that we watch. It is in our blood, at this point.

But Johnson doesn’t recommend that we somehow escape the romantic mindset. He suggests only that we be conscious of it, and that we try to separate our religious lives from the ordinary, comfortable, day-to-day relationship we have with a partner. He points out something I found intriguing, although not surprising – if the way remained open, Jung would send his patients back to the religion of of their ancestors as quickly as possible. The need for soul, for anima, cannot be ignored. But it is found within, not in the form of another human. Only when we give our soul the affection and attention she is due can we relate to another simply, and profoundly, as a human being.

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  1. Jung would send his patients back to the religion of of their ancestors as quickly as possible.

    And the problem for some of us, as we’ve discussed already, is for many – to which ancestral religion would Jung send us?

    For me, is it Roman/Irish Catholocism, Luthernism, Primitive Baptist? Or in my case would it simply be to “Christianity” in whichever form speaks most clearly to me?

    But then in your case, would Jung send you back to Judaism or Christianity?

    1. I’m not sure, but I suspect he would suggest consulting my dreams for the answer…

      1. And the dreams you’ve shared with me have been filled with Christian, dare I say Catholic, imagery. πŸ˜‰

        I’m serious, though. I can talk to you about it later.

        1. Oh yeah? So emigrating to a new planet is Christian? What about watching a guy being stalked by a killer lego robot? Hm? πŸ˜‰

          1. I was thinking “And some of the dreams…” when I wrote that. Didn’t mean to imply all of them.

          2. Killer Lego Robots for Jesus is going to be the name of my band.

  2. fasinating…


    many things struck me but this one particular line, “He sees his salvation, a new factor that will give meaning to his life” seemed to call.

    I knew a man and a lot of men who use to think he needed to find someone (in one case a particular person) in order to become complete and better. That she would be his salvation and the answer to all his problems. He would be better b/c of her. I told him repeatedly that he did NOT need a woman to be complete nor obtain a higher sense of self or accomplishment. But there was no talking to this man. But I do see this with other men. Pining for this girl or that thinking that if only they could have have her (even if unavailable) there life would be worth living.

    As for myself, I’m trying to learn to look more within but I find my soul is longing; just like most of us, for the affection and attention that it thinks it needs from outside myself. I know another person cannot not truely make me “happy”. I only can find true happiness and contentment within. But isn’t it nice to think so and feel that way just for a little while? But then again, I like avoiding “reality”. Self-medication is self-medication even if it is just a pretense of “romanic” love and not drugs, shopping or alcohol.

    1. Re: fasinating…

      Most everyone needs affection and attention from honest-to-gosh people. There’s a line of thinking, popular in some Christian circles, which says that God is all you need. Which is bosh. The trick is, when we admit that we DO need other people, that we don’t go whole-hog in the other direction and superimpose ALL our needs on other people.

      1. Re: fasinating…

        My god/goddess is for lust and debauchry these days. Though none of that is happening. *sadly*

        As I have “issues” I tend to go “whole-hog” per say. I don’t superimpose my needs but I definately find something and obsess over it for a good while. I often think that if I could just find some emotionally stability (outside myself) I will be “o.k.”. Though I know I need it more inside then out.

        I just thought ur post was so thought provoking. Got my brain cells firing.

        1. Re: fasinating…

          Always pleased to be provocative πŸ™‚

        2. Re: fasinating…

          With the whole obsession thing, I actually find fandom to be good for this. It gives you someone to obsess over but usually that person isn’t real, so you don’t have the problems that happen when you obsess over someone real.

          However, the flip side can be that that person isn’t real…

          I was just reading your post and that little thought popped up in my head so I thought I’d stick it in.

          1. Re: fasinating…

            I think fandom is a pretty explicit case of getting in touch with your archetypes, which is definitely a good thing. People who write fanfic, etc. are having an actual conversation with their unconscious, which is further than most people get.

          2. Re: fasinating…

            You know I write fanfic… how is it “having an actual conversation with my unconscious”?

            And, yes, actually, that’s one of the things that drew me to Doc Ock to begin with. It’s how perfectly he fit within an archetype I already had the hots for but didn’t have a specific character to fit with it.

  3. I am so not a romantic…

    While I can completely see the truth or at least the correlation of Johnson’s thesis about romantic love/courtly love/spirituality in many ways.. I do have to disagree with a few other things…

    1. I do not believe that all people must inherently share this “romantic paradigm” as you seem to put it. I never have.. Although I have gotten better over time at knowing what I truly wanted in a partner (honesty, acceptance, compatible sex drive, good conversation, attractive physical features).. I’ve never had a problem with “the magic fading” in a relationship or of projections of “goddessness” upon women that then turn out not to be true..
    In nuce, while I think that this description works for people who have a romantic temperment, I wholeheartedly dispute that this temperment exists in all people.

    2. To claim that there is no romance for anyone in the world except for westerners during the past 1000 years strikes me as the height of arrogance. (perhaps he is not doing this, but it kinda seems that way…) In particular, how does the author know this? Is it from reading the written sources from all other cultures throughout the entirety of history?
    That sounds like a tall order… also, it misses the point that in the past 99% of the populace didn’t write down anything–and so we have no idea what the common man was doing during this time.. instead, we only have a bit of knowledge about what particular elites thought about stuff..

    And if we are going to judge a society by only what the hyper-educated elite think it is or should be–then we better check to see whether our society is exactly what our hyper-educated elites project it to be..

    3. Romantic love was not the pre-condition for all marriages in the west despite what our tv tells us. Until, perhaps, the last two hundred years, most marriages in the west were either arranged or based on functional proximity… The “glory” that romantic love has acquired is more based in current society upon selling stuff..whether it is chocolate or perfumes or going on dates or just making cheesy movies about it..
    As for in prior times in western history–take Shakespeare, for example, we are almost always still talking about romance between elites.. not about how the peasant in the field lusts and loves…

    4. I am a totally unromantic curmudgeon.. treat this response appropriately.. πŸ˜‰

    1. Re: I am so not a romantic…

      1. I’ve long since given up the idea that one psychological model can describe everybody. While I still suspect that you, personally, have more romance and spirit in you than you let on (or think), I’m quite open to the idea that you and a few others I know do not fit the Jungian model very well at all. One thing I’m fairly certain of though: you are the exception, not the rule.

      2. Mine was a short and poor summary of the book. Johnson doesn’t say that there was no romance, anywhere, before 1200 AD. He specifically makes reference to a number of ancient cultures which had the concept. The differentiation he makes is the relative prominence of romantic love, then and now.

      3. At risk of throwing in my lot with that hack Warhol, just because something is commercialized doesn’t mean it doesn’t reflect the culture. What we want is what we sell is what we want is what we sell. It’s not a one-way street. I think commercialized images, taken along with everything else a culture produces, make for a pretty accurate picture of the overall weltenschaung.

      4. Bah humbug to you too πŸ˜›

  4. Of Women, Mariage and Courtly Love

    Young men defanitely put women on pedastals! I have been there! One guy I used to hang with would clap his hands to his ears if I ever uttered the word “porn.” (But he was real messed up, and had a Modonna/Whore complex if you ask me.)

    This does not seem to offer the idea of Western/Courtly love from a woman’s point of view.

    Today’s expectations of marriage in the US are through the roof. We want a best friend, who can also be a fantastic lover, as well as a pinacle of stability.

    Many of today’s educated and sucessful woman are trying to woo their knights, but I have read some books that say that these women are unsucessful in the end. I wonder if this is true. Can a woman win a man that way if he still has this arthurian idea of love? I’m thinkin’ not really, not for his life. So I wont be the first to make a phone call anymore.

    It’s crazy though, because our bodies are ready for reproduction at 12. So, today, we don’t get married until the career is done (ideally) and THEN old organized religion says NOT to have SEX until marriage.

    I often wonder if they didnt have it right in the old days, when the family chose a suitable other family with which to join theirs. Expectations were lower. Girls had sex and then babies younger.

    . . .but then she was unfortunately the property of her husband, and did not get a career. Ah, what we sacrifice for equality.

    It’s courtly love, with the ladies completely changed. The knights have changed little.

    1. Re: Of Women, Mariage and Courtly Love

      Thought of one more thing.

      Today’s women often “give the milk for free.” I am convinced that even the most chivalrous knights would rather not “buy the cow.”

    2. Re: Of Women, Mariage and Courtly Love

      One guy I used to hang with would clap his hands to his ears if I ever uttered the word “porn.”

      That would have been way too tempting to take advantage of… “Hey Bob” “What?” “PORN! Bwahahahahaha!”

      This does not seem to offer the idea of Western/Courtly love from a woman’s point of view.

      No, the book is expressly from the man’s point of view. A lot of it is applicable to women, but it’s primary focus is the male experience of romantic love. This is partly the result of it being based on the Tristan myth which, I gather, is primarily focused on Tristan himself.

      Many of today’s educated and sucessful woman are trying to woo their knights

      Wooing in general may be problematic, male or female. A lot of the things we do for a prospective mate play right into their illusion of us as a perfect angelic being. The whole concept of a man standing worshipfully at a woman’s window (or vice versa), lute in hand, is terribly exciting; but in reality it may play right into the goddess-projection. Being put on a pedestal is great – but are you prepared for the inevitable fall?

      It’s crazy though, because our bodies are ready for reproduction at 12. So, today, we don’t get married until the career is done (ideally) and THEN old organized religion says NOT to have SEX until marriage.

      I often wonder if they didnt have it right in the old days, when the family chose a suitable other family with which to join theirs. Expectations were lower. Girls had sex and then babies younger.

      Don’t get me started. I have a LOT of thoughts on this issue. Without going on an extended rant though: arranged marriage is not the medieval horror that a lot of liberated feminists make it out to be. It CAN be, sure. But it doesn’t have to be. Nobody should render an opinion about arranged marriage without spending some time in India, outside of the big cities, in the Hindu population.

      It’s courtly love, with the ladies completely changed. The knights have changed little.

      Indeed. We need new models.

      1. Re: Of Women, Mariage and Courtly Love

        I did do that to him, with the intention of knocking over the pedestal.

        In time I did, and he stopped paying attention to me, and then I was sad.

        C’est la vie.

      2. Re: Of Women, Mariage and Courtly Love

        Don’t get me started. I have a LOT of thoughts on this issue. Without going on an extended rant though: arranged marriage is not the medieval horror that a lot of liberated feminists make it out to be. It CAN be, sure. But it doesn’t have to be. Nobody should render an opinion about arranged marriage without spending some time in India, outside of the big cities, in the Hindu population.

        Sorry, but this is a cluelessly male statement.

        Maybe you’re an end justifies the means type of person, but to me, any system in which a crucial choice in a woman’s life is partly or completely taken out of her hands (the fact that the degree to which it is taken may vary doesn’t really make it better) is an unjust and oppressive system. ESPECIALLY because cultures in which marriages are arranged also tend to be cultures in which options for divorce or support for victims of domestic abuse or spousal rape are also limited or nonexistent. For example, in India, where the government and culture are trying to figure out how to deal with rampant domestic abuse when so many women have been taught that they “break” their families even by acknowledging it, let alone doing something about it.

        If you are going to point *only* to women who enter into arranged marriages of their own free will, because they truly want their families to make that decision for them, then I will grant that that is not a horrible thing– IF they have made that decision with knowledge and understanding of other options available to them. But I highly doubt there are that many women in arranged marriage cultures who both genuinely understand (and have available to them) the concept of being free to choose your own partner, *and* who aren’t indoctrinated by sexist religious dogma and/or the idea that if they don’t agree to an arranged marriage, they will shame and degrade their families and leave themselves open to being abandoned or looked down upon.

        It doesn’t matter if some women end up with decent, loving partners and are more or less happy in their marriages. The premise is still flawed.

        The reason that I say this is cluelessly male is that even in our relatively progressive culture, most girls still experience the perception/assumption that they “belong” to their parents in a way that boy children don’t. Any girl whose father threatened to clean his shotgun in the living room on the night of her first date (as mine often did), or who is “given away” by Dad at her wedding or whose mom trots out that stupid “won’t buy the cow” line understands in a very deep way that her father/parents have some feeling of ownership of her and her sexuality that is objectifying, infantilizing, and degrading however well-meant. Compared to that there are next to no men in this culture who experience that sense of chattel-hood. It’s easy for a guy to look at arranged marriages where the wife isn’t getting beaten and the spouses seem reasonably happy and say “oh that’s not so bad, what are all these crazy feminists so up in arms about?” Easy for you– because if you were in that situation, you’d be the *owner* of the woman, not the *owned*, and probably in a very real legal sense. (And even more abstractly– in the Indian Parliament some seats have been set aside that *must* now by law be filled by women, and one of the arguments against that has been the fear that those women will act as their unelected husbands compel them to, because the assumption is that a woman will listen to her husband first and her constituents second.) For us feminists, having our choices taken away and living in a system that tells us that our husbands own us is horror enough on its own, even if our individual arrangement isn’t overtly terrible.

        1. Re: Of Women, Mariage and Courtly Love

          Think of it this way– what if your parents got to decide what career path you took, even to the point of arranging a job for you? And this was either legally set in stone or culturally so to the point that you didn’t feel you could rebel. And you were going to work in that one job, in that same place, for the rest of your working life, and if you didn’t like it, that was tough, because your family was doing “what was best for you”. And if your employer had you beat up for doing something wrong, or docked your pay unfairly, or just was generally a miserable shithead, you just had to shut up and deal with it because *not* to do so was to bring shame on yourself and your family. If this was the system, and you knew this was how bad it was for many people, would you think it was ok if you’d happened to luck out and your parents picked a job for you that actually suited you? Do you think having your adult choice taken out of your hands is justified by *your* having a good job? Does your good job justify the system if that system also perpetuates a culture of oppression and abuse of power for many others?

          Just a thought.

          1. Re: Of Women, Mariage and Courtly Love

            You make a lot of good points. I take issue with only one part: that this is somehow a problem for women only, and that the position I take is somehow specific to “clueless males”. Where arranged marriages are forced, they are often forced on both partners. Free-will issues are human issues, they aren’t male/female issues.

        2. Re: Of Women, Mariage and Courtly Love

          Incidently, while I found the meat of your argument persuasive and worthy of consideration I was offended by the way you began it. I consider it a basic token of respect from my friends that they take my statements at face value, as the product of the rational thought of a human being in posession of the usual complement of imperfect faculties and incomplete information. Not as a mouthpiece for undifferentiated male-kind. I am equally offended if someone dismisses my point of view because I am “young”, “white”, or “Jewish”. I am by no means infallible, and I am always looking for more information and greater perspective within which to reevaluate my opinions. But my thoughts are not merely the inevitable product of a certain chromosomal configuration. I can understand if you think it likely that growing up male in this culture would expose me to certain experiences which would predispose me towards certain conclusions. And indeed, I would agree with you. But regardless, I still ask you to treat me as an individual, who has reached those conclusions independantly. Address the misconceptions themselves, as you see them, rather than the context which may or may not have lead me to those misconceptions. Please leave identity politics at the door, and treat me as simply another human intellect, working out the best conclusions I can from the information at hand.

          Once again, I thank you for your comments, and I hope you will take this request in the spirit of friendship and continued dialog in which it is offered. I wouldn’t bother saying anything if I didn’t really value your friendship and your point of view.

  5. This is an EXCELLENT post. It’s certainly made me think (especially while listening to music). And I think the theory may be dead on.

    This is why I read your journal, . You write such wonderful stuff.

  6. This post sums up perfectly why I hate that fucking movie: “YOU COMPLETE ME!” Why the hell would someone want to date an incomplete asshole?

    Moving on to something more serious. . .

    As has been pointed out (like my passive voice beotch?), other cultures throughout history have had the concept of love by choice, but it’s not the same thing, and I’ll tell you why: Every culture I have read about with arranged marriages also has stories, tales, or in some cases actual practices of consensual adultery. African tribal wives often take young warrior lovers. The ancient romans took young boys under their wing, while their wives banged the slave girls. What ties all of this together? SEX. Western society is the only society that I know of that really truly believes in love without sex, in love as something pure and different from sex.

    Find me an ancient non-western culture that practiced love divorced from sex and I’ll give you a donut.

    But let’s not blame the troubadors and the age of chivalry: no, we have to start with the romans (or was it the greeks?), who felt some driving need to categorize love. First there’s agape, the pure love of god(s). That kind of love is the most pure. Then there is philos, the love of your brothers, of mankind in general, and of that young hot piece of ass in your rhetoric lecture. The most base form of love was eros romantic love.

    Fast forward a few hundred years and skip over the troubadors, and Dante takes the stand with La Vita Nuova, a diatribe on an unattainable woman who he admires from a distance (coughcoughstalkscoughcough) for decades and still desires when she is dead. Later, in another popular work, he goes to hell and back again for her.

    So let’s not blame all that shit on chivalry, kay?

    Okay, we can blame some of it on Chivalry.

    Let’s change the topic again, to my favorite thing: ME!

    Regardless of whether it’s a missing goddess or a missing trust fund, people generally fall in love for a similar reason: they see in their lover something they themselves lack. Sometimes that’s something fickle, like money or popularity. Sometimes it’s something spiritual, like that madonna on the pedestal.

    This is why I date totally non-philosophical people and avoid artists and creative types like the plague. I don’t want my lover to have an imagination. If s/he does, I have no fucking clue what s/he sees when s/he looks at me. Gregg? I know when he looks at me he’s just seeing me. Maybe he’s seeing the mother of his child too now, but that’s probably about as deep as the archetypes go with him.

    I actually disagree with your final statement. It seems to be the week for suprising you by disagreeing with things you thought I might agree with. Or perhaps I am just feeling contrary?

    Either way, I’ve learned that really, honestly, you can’t find everything within. If you find everything within, then what the hell is the point of without in the first place? Might as well hook myself up to a feeding tube and a catheter and have wish fulfillment fantasies all day. The mistake people make is the Jerry McGuire mistake: it’s okay to need other people, but it’s ridiculous to expect any one person to utterly complete you.

    Although, I certainly won’t argue with the need to nourish your soul. Nope, that’s a good idea. Eat your soul-wheaties!

    1. I need to post more of these long-ass psychological articles, if only to get more wonderful comments like this one!

      Regarding my final statement, a little-known fact about me: about half of what I say is at least partially a trial balloon. I read things, I assimilate them, and I repeat them back and see how they sound, and how people respond. Then I reconsider. This goes doubly when I’m just summarizing something I read. So, yeah. By all means, disagree.

      Although I’m not sure we disagree in this case. I don’t recall saying that ALL you need can be found within, and I recall specifically denying it in a reply to someone else’s comment. Narcissus got turned into a flower for thinking that, and who wants to eat worm-poop all day?

      1. Mmm, worm poop. I hear it goes well with absinthe and lots of pot.

    2. Find me an ancient non-western culture that practiced love divorced from sex and I’ll give you a donut.

      Oooo… the challenge is on!

  7. cool…

    1. I don’t know that I don’t fit Jungian models overall… (I’m all into the personality typing thing..).. but rather that I find attempts to make grand statements about how humans interact with appeals to universalistic concepts/laws (like what they have in hard sciences) to be highly suspicious..
    Humans change too fast, or rather culture changes too fast and while we can often make some rough generalizations that do hold true much of the time.. we must always refrain from imputing more absolute qualities to them.. (not that I think you are doing this, for the most part! πŸ™‚ ) As for whether I’m the exception or the rule, depends… until I find some empirical evidence that demonstrates these things one way or the other.. I am kinda skeptical..

    2. This makes more sense..

    3. I agree pretty much here…

    In any case.. I probably would agree with the overall intention that if people are going to make legal serious life-long relationships, that the main factor in them should not be based mainly on a foundation of Romantic enticements.. but should rather be based on things that are a lot more functionally oriented.. not that Romance should be killed or hated or what not.. in fact Romance is good as a kind of spice for a relationship… But just like a healthy meal cannot be made solely from exquisite spices and appetizers, a relationship needs substance for its foundation also..

    ps–It is, perhaps, true, that I’m not entirely without romance.. I do often try to seduce my woman.. but I tend to do it in ways that are entirely anti-thetical to the standard popular conception of romance..

    If I want to show her I love her, I mop the tile floors.. and she loves me gobs for it… πŸ˜‰

    1. dammit..

      this was supposed to be a response up above.. stupid LJ fuck-ups..

    2. Re: cool…

      Jung actually shied away from making absolute statements, and he was adamant that each person presented a unique case – something his successors in psychology have often failed to remember. He was also quite the empiricist – he didn’t think his models had any validity or value until the value could be demonstrated in therapy. He backed up the universality he ascribed to certain symbols to the fact that they recurred consistently in dreams across many patients, or in folktales across many cultures and time periods. But even then he didn’t think that one generation or society necessarily had the same general mental map as the next.

  8. On Idealization &

    It’s a complete crock to say that women don’t do the exact same thing that men do to the exact same degree..

    1. Re: On Idealization &

      I don’t recall saying it. Johnson’s book is about men, based on a male-centered myth. That doesn’t mean women don’t do the same thing.

      On the other hand, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that women’s projections, in general, differ in the details and are worthy of separate examination. I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s worth considering. I’m all for equal treatment, but I don’t believe the majority of women have identical psyches to the majority of men. Whether by nature or nurture there are real differences. When dealing with love and psychology I don’t think reductionism serves us well.

  9. 30+comments and counting…methinks you struck a chord. not to be outdone, here’s mine: i merely question “just friendship, relatedness, mutual respect, and commitment”. i think history bears me out. i don’t believe that was any truer then than now. maybe less. but i get the rest. btw, storm king rules. ps. killer lego robots for jesus? that’s a nightmare.

  10. I found this entry to be fairly intriguing… I responded a bit more in length to the last comment that you left in my LJ… πŸ™‚

  11. Hi, It’s my annual visit!
    I spotted this statement:“Only when we give our soul the affection and attention she is due can we relate to another simply, and profoundly, as a human being.”

    IMHO, however based on experience, this is turned around exactly 180 degrees – it is only when we relate to others simply and profoundly that we feed our souls.

    Those who are constantly nurturing themselves become egocentric, and it becomes increasingly difficult for them to truly care about others.
    I believe that we grow our spirits through altruism, sometimes to quite a degree. It is this ability which can distinguish humans among primates.

    Think about the people you have known who are truly joyous; they don’t constantly inspect themselves for damage, but are fearless in looking for ways to create joy in their environs.

    Self-care can be pretty ugly when overdone, and kill any chance at true happiness.
    Thus saith a pretty wise crone.

    Have a wonderful season!

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