12 October 2007

Is 'Spark' a Technical Term?

I couldn't believe I was reading a paragraph in a sober journal (NDPR) written by an accomplished philosopher, rather than a "Dear Abby" column:

There's an important truth here. But it is only a half-truth: for while we must undoubtedly take responsibility for choices that smoothed the path to erotic love, we can't set out on that path at will. We can decide not to go to dinner, not to kiss goodnight, not to go out alone together rather than with friends, and so forth -- and so be responsible for falling in love when we shouldn't. But in the absence of a spark that is beyond the power of choice to summon, making all the opposite decisions won't manufacture erotic love. Without that crucial spark, one might doubtless embark on a successful marriage, but not aspire to erotic passion.
Someone might be tempted to counter: "If I went out to dinner (and had a couple of martinis too), kissed goodnight, and then went into the room together alone, I can assure you that there would be no need for any additional spark!" --But let's talk about that somewhere else, as well as about the other silly paragraphs in this review.


Anonymous said...

You're just being a prude. The example is a good one if the point that it illustrates is a good one. And if your hypothetical counter-example is a good one, then it is surely important. Or don't you think that eros is a subject worthy of philosophical discussion?