Thursday, September 2, 2021

The Genius of Love and the Demon of Sexuality


Rudolf Steiner:  "Our civilization has failed to recognize the primeval spiritual reality and activity of love. All spiritual phenomena have, of course, their external sensory form as the spirit immerses itself in the physical. It embodies itself in the natural world. But if it then loses awareness of itself and only perceives the physical, then it believes that what is in reality inspired by the spirit is inspired by the physical. This is the delusion of our age, which doesn't know love. There are only fantasies about love — lies, even. When thinking of love, our age knows only eroticism. I'm not saying that the lonely don't experience love — for in their unconscious feeling, in their unconscious will, human beings deny spirit much less than in their thinking — but when people in our modern civilization think or speak of love, then they're really speaking of eroticism. And we could even say that if we peruse contemporary literature, wherever we find the word "love," then they're really speaking of eroticism. This is all that thinking doused in materialism can know of love. It's the denial of spirit which makes the power of love into an erotic force. In many fields not only has the genie of love had to give way to its lowly servant eroticism, but in many places now its opposite, the demon of love, has appeared. The demon of love is spawned when what is divinely ordained in human beings is taken over by human thinking; this intellectuality tears it away from the spirit. So the descent sequence is as follows: we recognize the genius of love, we have spiritualized love. We recognize the inferior version, eroticism. But we gravitate to the demon of love. The genius of love has its demon not in the original gestalt, but in the interpretation of sexuality through modern civilization. How often today, when they try to approach love, do people speak not even of eroticism but only of sexuality! The discourse on sexuality in contemporary society consists mainly of what people like to call sex education. In this modern intellectualized discourse on sexuality dwells the demonology of love. Just as the genius that the age should be following appears on another level as its demon, because the demon manifests itself where the genius is denied, so it is in this sphere, where spirit is meant to appear in its most intimate form, in the form of love. Our age often worships not the genius of love but the demon of love, and mistakes the spirit of love for its demon in sexuality."

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Source: July 22, 1923. Three Perspectives of Anthroposophy, p. 133-134

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