Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Twofold life (3 of 3)

Dwelling in that fear (that most times is not even conscious), each one of us strives to know the other... in an effort that only permits us to know what the other likes to read or do, what kind of food he/she is pleased by, or the type of movies he/she prefers... without understanding that we are keeping ourselves in a superficial plan. We do not know the true interests or the aims the other wants to achieve, we do not see the way he/she interacts in family or even what the conception of family may be. Preferring not to take a risk, we maintain ourselves in the ephemeral world of pleasures and diversion!

Diversion and pleasure are a part of life, undoubtedly! But the next reflection, the third step, should really be: “which is the aim, the objective: the pleasure by pleasure, or a twofold life?”. That is because a life of total hedonism has never permitted, nor shall ever permit, reaching a twofold life filled with meaning. Pleasure should be seen as a natural reward for something that is done, and not as an aim of everything we do!

And that is probably the biggest cause of couple-conflicts... or even couple-split: the shock when trying to live a twofold life, they find out they barely know each other and live two lives of one.

I once had the opportunity of observing, in therapy, a couple with decades of matrimony, then unstructured by suspicion, envy and dispute. Being asked by the therapist: “if it is so bad, then why did you marry him?”, she lowers her tone of voice, like in complicity with the therapist, or by shame, or perhaps simply by not having a better answer, she smiles and says: “you know, sex was too good!”.

Only when we have given the next step, finding responsibility in knowing the true character of the other, and not worrying only about the pleasures of life, we shall be able to reach that state in which hell is no longer the other (paraphrasing Sartre), and we start agreeing with Gabriel Marcel when he says “others, for me, are heaven”. Only in this state of transcendence one and one no longer are two, existing only as one being, new, that lives a twofold life.

Sam Cyrous
(published in Psicologia Actual, March 2006).

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