Freedom from Within: A Gift of Love

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This approach must begin with the erotic phenomenon followed by philosophical reflection. The willingness to love does not guarantee that one will be loved back. However, while this decision does not assure loving, it suffices to attest that one will love anyway. There is no guarantee of reciprocity here, but only the pure decision to pursue love as a goal to be accomplished. The erotic phenomenon regards the physical enjoyment. Flesh becomes body when I adhere firmly to her flesh for her - so that she might receive it. To allow oneself to be loved by the other is to allow access to my own body inasmuch as I have access to her body since her face becomes absolutely irresistible and both become reciprocal receptivity.

This is what Marion calls the "flesh in glory" and he affirms that these intents and purposes are necessary for the erotic phenomenon to be accomplished. In other words, the erotic phenomenon attains the lover in his or her final immanence. Marion writes Marion, , p. Orgasm, the only miracle that the poorest human condition can definitely experience - for it requires neither talent, nor apprenticeship, but simply a bit of naturalness - nevertheless leaves nothing to see, nothing to say, and carries away everything with it, even its memory.

The flesh is bound to the givenness of the self. Daily life scarcely reveals who one might be and does not reveal the true self. Probably Marion has in mind what Saint John wrote at the beginning of his gospel "the word became flesh and lived among us". The Word revealed himself as Son of God in the very moment he found himself as human since all nations could see his flesh. A phenomenalization of the world passes through my flesh.

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Without it, the world would disappear for me. In short, I cannot separate myself from my flesh and precisely the flesh turns to be the factor that makes possible the appearance of the erotic phenomenon. Nothing is more original to me than my now flesh and, even if I wanted, I could not live without it. It seems that Marion regards flesh as a different way of saying ego , although the flesh gives meaning to the body. Flesh does include the openness to what surpasses the mere physical level and achieves the self. Although Marion's account of erotic phenomenon is regarded as strictly bound to flesh enjoyment, he leaves the door open to further consideration.

Phenomenology does not break with metaphysics and God is regarded as the ultimate and supreme life we must pursue. Erotic phenomenon is the maximum sign of pleasure achievable by people while we are on earth, but it is not the last one. Love as confirmation seeks eternity and has eschatological limits. There is an inner eternity to love. We must now face whether the erotic phenomenon falls into the monetary exchange circle, therefore not being a gift or, alternatively, escapes the circle. If love is a gift and the loved recognizes it as such, then it is cancelled.

In order to attain and remain a gift, love must overcome and escape the gift circulation. Is it the case for reciprocity? If love is reciprocal - in order for the erotic phenomenon to be achieved - will it be doomed to be cancelled by reciprocity? If I realize that one will not love me back or if my beloved has betrayed me, will I be inclining to love him anyway or will I no longer engage in this path by breaking any contract? Marion stresses that while the contract usually will be broken, we cannot say the same of the erotic phenomenon.

The erotic phenomenon is exactly the opposite. Indeed, and if you love having this purpose - to be loved back - you will not succeed. My action has to be performed in such a way that I am the first lover, willing to love and absolutely not expecting to be loved in a similar way. Here, my love is completely gratuitous and it has to be in order to be erotic phenomenon.

In the very moment I expect to be loved back there is no longer a gift but an exchange, as we have shown previously. Therefore, within the erotic phenomenon one will never be sure to be loved back. Marion brings into focus that I have no guarantee that love will be there always and in the same way forever and, therefore, I will never be sure that the loved will love me back.

Here it is virtually impossible to verify if the other has the same level of love. Therefore, you will never be able to identify the exchange because there is no exchange. If you want to be loved, you have to trust in the lover, but there is no guarantee about such love. In short, what we expect in erotic phenomenon is the unequal and uncertain love coming from both lover and loved.

Love here will not be reciprocal. After being loved, there is an experience that your love will never come back. If one loves his own child, for example, this love is absolutely unconditional because the result of your love was the transmission of another life. The child will never be able to give me life back. What has been given - life - will not return to you, but it will be passed on to your child's children. The property of this gift is therefore clearly neither economic nor reciprocal. The exchange is doomed to be caught in the circle, but the gift of love escapes and continues on as a present to the others, but not to the donor.

How does the gift of love remain present? Who is the recipient? But the phenomenology of love has brought into focus that even when any gift is refused or not acknowledged, it would still be given. Being certain or not about the gift's arrival does not threaten its givability. In this case, the donor will certainly be protected against any return. Ultimately, the event is historical and the time will not be repeated but will keep going to other people.

Here you must leave what has been done for good, for others.


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The gift as a gift has no reason to be given. I simply give and I do not expect anything back. I cannot apply the principle of sufficient reason to the gift because as soon as I have a reason to give, there is an exchange. To be able to be a gift, the erotic phenomenon implies no reason to love, no reason to do good, and no reason to explain why I am loving.

Here, Marion points out, that in order to be erotic phenomenon, the principle of insufficient reason must be applied. The gift has no "why. Marion claims that the principle of sufficient reason, which had been radicalized on the basis of everything, has to have a cause or the concept. The gift does not fit into the frame of this principle, but goes beyond it. In order to be a gift, the giver has no reason at all to give. Therefore, we must say that the gift is not fair because it does not give to the giver what he thinks he deserves.

One might think that the givee should give back something, but, precisely, the gift would be cancelled when it is given back. Consequently, a gift cannot be fair to the giver since it is not reciprocal, but, rather, it is creative and generous. The gift offered by erotic phenomenon has another important feature: It cannot be stopped by death.

There is a thirst for eternity that will continue even after death. Here Marion shows his believers' side, discussing when the metaphysics will take place and when the physical dimension will be overtaken. In other words, a gift is perfectly given even under the condition of the receiver's lack of awareness. Marion points out that the gift can be thought of within the frame of giveness and, therefore, within the horizon of phenomenology and this leads him to analyze whether or not the gift is, or must remain an aporia.

The gift is not a metaphysical entity that finds no reason to come to light, but, rather, giveness, recipient and giver being necessary to make it possible within the limits of phenomenology. The donor is the causa agens and produces an effect in the recipient - causa finalis , through the material and formal cause.

Probably, we can call to mind what Leibniz called the 'principle of sufficient reason' according to which every event that happens has an explanation, has a reason to exist. The more you give, the less you get it; this is the logic of the gift. The gift is not reciprocal just because it cannot be repaid.

Erotic phenomenon, as I have states above, is an example. If love is a contract, you destroy it immediately.

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You have to love with no consideration of being loved back. If you establish conditions on your love - for example, if I love you, you must love me back, you will never succeed.


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And if you are very insistent, the simple fact that you take that chance You will never be able to verify if you will be loved to the same level, you will never be in a situation that you will love that much, you will never know if you are less or more love; you have to trust. What we expect from the erotic phenomenon is the uncertain chances of being loved; there is no reciprocity. That is clearly the case in loving the child.

In the erotic phenomenon you have to love, spontaneously or not, but it is part of this experience. What you gave to the child will never be paid.

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You gave the life his life, and this will not be paid. The child will never give back what you gave him. Children, however, will give the same thing to the next generation. The gift is not reciprocal. In order to avoid injustice, you have to repeat this back by giving money. Time is oriented to the return of the equal.

The Law of the Gift: Understanding the Two Sides of Love

Time cannot reproduce the same thing. When you love you give life, when you give life, you will not be given it back, but life will be given again and again. But this is not repeated time; this is not return and not repetition. So the gift is not reciprocal but historical. The gift has no reason to give. If we have reason to give, then there is an exchange. The rose has no "why"; the gift has no "why. Therefore love is not reciprocal, but historical, creative, opened to the future. There is logic in the gift. The modern science makes a clearly theoretical distinction between finite and infinite.

The difference cannot be measured in terms of size but only in ontological fashion. The very nature of infinity shows that it is boundless and, therefore, beyond any attempt to physical demonstration, and an infinite sum of finite would not be able to change what is finite into infinity. In other words, infinite and finite are opposite concepts that have nothing in common. As much as finite expands, it can never reach the infinite. There is no progression between one to another.

In similar fashion the distinction between divine and human cannot be measured and there is an unbridgeable gap that is impossible to overcome. It is a radical abyss that separates humans from God and if we attempt to talk about God, our language will always be inappropriate because it cannot show the real nature of the divine, no matter what word or terms we adopt to speak about him.

Our language may serve more to separate us from God rather than unite us. On the other hand, calling God "being par excellence" does not help from releasing him from the frame of our boundaries and understanding. Every time we apply our concepts - like being - to talk about God, we are making him as comprehensible as a human because we are applying the word being univocally for both humans and the divine.

Being becomes a unified concept that applies in the same sense - logically or intrinsically - to both creatures and God. God becomes captive of the essence of our reason and our logical truth, product of our efforts to comprehend the world through logic. He would be like a logic mathematical operation that seems eternal and immutable. Marion is aware of the way God has been trapped within our concepts in our history. He attempts to free him from our limits by letting him be God, not in the fashion we think he is, in the way he really is.

Every time we treat God within our concepts, says Marion, we are blaspheming against him in idolatrous way precisely because we are confining him within our limitations. Marion recalls the famous words of Ludwig Wittgenstein to show that not always do we have to say something to someone: Even though Wittgenstein is not talking about God, he recognizes that sometimes we must remain in silence.

There is an inner suspicion of idolatry every time one speaks about God in theological fashion attempting to define him from our limited point of view. By doing so, one may speak about God with violence especially because - perhaps unaware - he is violating his right to be God, the Most High. His gaze does not reflect toward the infinite, but returns to the gazer and remains with him. By doing so, the gazer remains very far from God or treats him within the frame of his horizon, confining him to human power. The idol freezes the gaze and buries it and the divine is measured precisely by the human gaze.

Marion attempts to raise a new way of dealing with the divinity in the way he deserves to be treated: Free from all human efforts to grasp him. However, the problem comes forward immediately: Which language should I use in order to refer to God without trapping him into an idol or into our idolatrous concepts? On the other hand, being not an angel, I must use what is proper to my nature, the language and the culture I have. The question is how? Marion extensively addresses the theme in his book "In Excess", and for the sake of time and purpose, I will not analyze it in depth but only make an introduction to it in order to understand whether or not God can be a gift.

Marion calls non-predicative the form of speech in which words do not play an important role in the relationship with God. Words almost never are able to describe facts of nature exactly and, therefore, much less can they describe the relationship with God. What Marion proposes has been known in the history as negative theology also known as mystical theology: Prayer and contemplation are union of human heart and mind with the divine and this is an experience that only he, who actually has had the experience, can know what it is about, even though he is unable to describe it with words.

Perhaps Derrida could raise one counter argument affirming that contemplation and prayer, somehow, name God to which I direct my prayer and, therefore, is a positive way of talking to him. If this is true then, my thought, when I pray, has a recipient that I named God. Here is Marion's response Marion, , p. The proper name marks the fact that an individual's presence remains anonymous in direct proportion to the degree to which its name becomes more present. In this way, supposing that praise attributes a name to a possible God, one should conclude that is does not name God properly or essentially, nor in presence, but that it marks God's absence, anonymity, and withdrawal - exactly as every name dissimulates every individual, which it merely indicates without ever manifesting.

What comes to mind is very simple: By worshiping God, we are not describing him or attempting to do so, but rather, we are assuming a true relationship that takes place between man and God. Certainly such assumption does not lead to a descriptive sense but to real experience of the infinite within the finite that leads me to say how great God is and how poor I am. This is a mystical experience that only mystical theology can describe. I have to point out, though, that mystical theology goes beyond negation or affirmation. It has to do with the experience of incomprehension that is literally a transgression of the definition of being.

God does not fit in what Being is supposed to mean and, in this regard, prayer can be understood 15 as a pouring of pure love that only God himself is able to do. Despite of the fact that my prayer or contemplation has a purpose, 16 the recipient - God - turns out to be so high that I am the one who actually receives what I meant to give.

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In fact, by praying, I do not add anything to him, but I am the one who gets better, better person, better human being. This may not fall into human logic or human grasping but, rather, is a real transgression of what we thought we had known, but we did not. The mystical theology does not fit into rational understanding and precisely this is the reason why it is called transgression of the being.

Mystical theology is not obsessed or gripped with the presence and it does not care whether or not God will answer the prayer or perform miracles just to show how powerful he is. Song For Bobby Smith Can You Feel It? Don't Hide the Sun The truth found in solitude; the truth that lifts you from comfort and into something much more powerful — rebirth. With each song I tried to capture a moment. I tried to give you the moment I sat in the grass in London feeling the sun on my face appreciating not having to please anyone but myself. I tried to give you the moment I sat in my room in silence looking at Spring outside my window and knew that the Universe was holding my hand and leading the way, if only I let my ego go.

I tried to give you the moment I learned of the murder of Jordan Edwards, just 15 years old and killed by a police officer. The moment I found Hope in hopelessness. With unconditional LOVE of self — appreciation of the growth, the struggle, the beauty — I offer you a piece of myself created out of my own power — the Power that comes from vulnerability. Additional vocals Mixed by: Drew Kid Written and Performed by A. Vocals Can You Feel It?

Drums, keys, percussion John Daise: Electric guitar, acoustic guitar Nneka Lyn: Additional Vocals Mixed by: Drums, tambourine Aaron Abernathy: Wurlitzer, keyboard synthesizer Mixed by: Nakeya Brown Makeup Artist: Ky Washington Album Artwork: Cecily is a vocalist and songwriter known for her sweet soprano and honest lyrics.