Passion, Desire, Lust

The very definition of desire means that it never be satisfied. Which means that the object of our desire is prohibited. Which means that desire is law, or law is desire. If we are freed from the law, then are we right to submit ourselves to another law, that is the law of desire? Some are quick to preach that if we obey the law in order to receive salvation, it will be perpetually frustrated. We will never be able to obey the whole law. Even if we break just one, then we are shut out from salvation. Either we completely give up, hopeless of ever obeying the whole law perfectly. Or we endeavor to obey every law exactly, constantly and daily striving to attain the goal of perfect obedience and even perfection itself. This is exactly the same as desire, is it not? The same can be said of passion and lust. The very definition insists that desire, passion and lust NOT be fulfilled. Otherwise desire, passion and lust ends with the achievement of its object, which is impossible.

I think this is why using language that encourages passion and desire can be misleading. It is unknowingly trying to impress us with a new law that sounds less rigorous and more gratifying. We are being invited to leap from one kind of law (legalistic) that can never be satisfied to another kind of law (sensual/ spiritual) that also can never be satisfied. Both consign us to an imprisoning circle of endless suffering because the goal, de facto, can and must not ever be obtained or realized. Can we suspect that we agree with the school of desire because, unconsciously and secretly, we in fact do NOT want to obtain the object of our desire? Is it possible that, like the children of Israel at the foot of God's thunderous mountain, we DO NOT want to meet with God? We would rather only desire God from a comfortable distance.

The language of love rather than passion or desire ought to be emphasized. Love is something concrete that is enacted. Passion or desire is a perpetually frustrated dissatisfaction. Love, differentiated from its object, loves the object and fulfills it. I suggest that this is a better place to start from in discussing the religious life.


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