Love: Amid Angst and Sadomasochism

When one seeks the completion of oneself in another human who’s also striving to become complete, the result is vanity.

Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash

“If a human being were a beast or an angel, he could not be in anxiety. Because he is a synthesis, he can be in anxiety; and the more profoundly he is in anxiety, the greater is the man.”

Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety (1980), 155

The Angst

“… He must assume the situation with the proud consciousness of being the author of it, for the very worst disadvantages or the worst threats which can endanger my person have meaning only in and through my project; and it is on the ground of the engagement which I am that they appear. It is therefore, senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are.”

Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness (1943), 554

The Sadomasochist

Spheres of Love

The Love

Great Western thinkers like Solomon (or whoever wrote Ecclesiastes), Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Pascal and Kierkegaard see the same thing and structure their philosophy around the search for our ultimate end, the satisfaction of our deepest desire. They pass in review essentially the same three lesser answers as Hinduism does and conclude, “Thou hast made us for thyself, and (therefore) our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.”

Peter Kreeft. Heaven, the Heart’s Deepest Longing. 1989. 49



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