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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spirituality: Ronald Rolheiser in Seeking Spirituality, 2 of 3

The ancient Greek philosophers gave us the word eros. For them, however, it meant much more than it does for us today. Generally today we understand it to mean mainly sexual attraction. For the ancient Greeks, eros was a reality with six interpenetrating dimensions: It referred, at one and the same time, to ludens (love’s playfulness, teasing and humor); erotic attraction (sexual attractiveness and the desire to have sex); mania (obsessiveness, falling in love, romance); pragma (sensible arrangement in view of family life, home, and community); philia (friendship); and agape (altruism, selflessness, sacrifice). Unlike us, the ancient Greeks did not ask one aspect of love to carry all the others.

Sexuality is an all-encompassing energy inside of us. In one sense, it is identifiable with the principle of life itself. It is the drive for love, communion, community, friendship, family, affection, wholeness, consummation, creativity, self-perpetuation, immortality, joy, delight, humor, and self-transcendence. It is not good to be alone. When God said this about Adam at the dawn of creation, God meant it about every man, woman, child, animal, insect, plant, atom, and molecule in the universe. Sex is the energy inside of us that works incessantly against our being alone.

Genitality, having sex, is only one aspect of that larger reality of sexuality, albeit a very important one. Genitality is particularized, physical consummation, a certain privileged constellation of many of the energies that are contained within our wider erotic energies in one bodily encounter with another person.


  1. I found this so helpful.
    however I found the last paragraph a strange ending,
    It seems incomplete in view of the earlier thoughts.

    I know you didnt write it. It was from Ron Rolheiser. However I think there must be a more complete final stsatement

    i love your blog..


  2. Maryam, this is the second of three sections. The conclusion is soon coming. Thanks for your comments.