“The avalanche of sex in which Gibreel Farishta was trapped managed to bury his greatest talent so deep that it might easily have been lost forever, his talent, that is, for loving genuinely, deeply and without holding back, the rare and delicate gift which he had never been able to employ.” – The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
In reading Rushdie (a long-time favorite of mine), I was struck by his poignant observation: Farishta’s casual sexual encounters with a number of women were detrimental to his actual ability to care about a single woman. That is, he began to dissociate sex from it’s proper place- in a committed relationship. By separating a sexual act from it’s object, the weight and meaning of sex are reduced. Granted, Rushdie’s own love life is far from committed, but that’s a separate issue.
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“When I left the politicians, I went to the poets…. And there, I said to myself, you will be detected; now you will find out that you are more ignorant than they are. Accordingly, I took them some of the most elaborate passages in their own writings, and asked what was the meaning of them—thinking that they would teach me something. Will you believe me? I am almost ashamed to speak of this, but still I must say that there is hardly a person present who would not have talked better about their poetry than they did themselves. That showed me in an instant that not by wisdom do poets write poetry… they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them.”
-Socrates, The Apology
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