The Mistress or the Magister?

In the noumenal realm, I was visited by Sinistre; after a difficult recent few weeks, we were able to talk more candidly about ourselves. Sinistre entered, and wanted to talk, he was very quiet, reserved, shoulders drooped, and hardly in his normal solid square position. Something, was clearly troubling him.

Antisophie: Sinistre, are you alright?

Sinistre: I want a life of my own, Antisophie.

Antisophie: Don’t you already?

Sinistre: No, I want to have things I know I shouldn’t. I desire, and I know better that to have what I desire would be detrimental, so I shouldn’t have it, yet I still long…

Antisophie: What is it that you long for?

Sinistre: What is it that anyone longs for, Sophie? To have the closeness and tenderness of another, to be able to find the greatest self-expression and the most significant intimacy with another. To be closer to my subject of desire, to make sure she will never be alone, to tend to her, and in doing so, tend to what I am as a person; to find self-expression, of who I am, in the intimacy, and care that I allow myself to share with her.

Antisophie: You are afraid of what Sinistre* would think. You are worried that it would interfere with being an areopagite; or to be a philosopher? You are afraid that you are straying from the path of celebacy that is the sign of the greatest minds; Newton, Kant, Spinoza or Aquinas? You aren’t them, and their chaste nature was not something that has to be followed.

Sinistre: So much of myself I give to the cause. I forget things like the music.

Antisophie: Its important to be committed to your projects and goals. I know that the Areopagites is an important part of your projects, but you have other things, too.

Sinistre: Am I allowed to pursue them?

Antisophie: You mean to pursue your feelings for another?

Sinistre: Yes, I feel that I can’t

Antisophie: Is it because you are afraid? Or are you genuinely going to deny this important aspect of yourself?

Sinistre: I’m scared, yes. I’m scared about it making me a lesser philosopher, a lesser person, that the comfort will make me lazy, the great intensity of feeling and closeness will make me forget the discipline and pain instilled in me, such pain which makes me struggle on. But if I were to continue this ascetic life of lonliness, I wouldn’t be able to cope. It is this lonliness that gives me clarity, yet the emptiness cripples who I am.

Antisophie: Are you afraid to confront your feelings?

Sinistre: I don’t know anymore. With the return of Sinistre* I don’t know what to feel, think, or hope. I thought I knew what my duty was, my role; I was merely Destre’s servant. Now with autonomy, I start to feel. I am an individual, I care about people. I have a self-identity, identifiable by others. I feel now, a chance, a sense of hope. The hope for intimacy. The hope for closeness. The hope for happiness.

Antisophie: Happiness? That is something highly desirable, and something constitutive of the desires, self-conceptions, beliefs and intuitions regarding our own development of character, and answer to the Socratic question. Let’s, for a moment, not think about what the other Areopagites would think of you. What is it that you want?

Sinistre: I am tortured by hope, Antisophie; fearful of rejection, I long for this strange feeling to grow. This feeling I was brought up to reject, that I was denied for so long. I thought I would get used to, and even, come to a point to accept that I would always be alone; but then, someone very special came. Everything has changed.

Antisophie: Do you think that’s related to why Sinistre* has returned?

Sinistre: She brought him back to me…

Antisophie: She sounds like someone special.

Sinistre: Indeed she is, but I wonder if I can accept just knowing her and not to foster this infatuation.

Antisophie: Infatuation clearly is the wrong word, here, you genuinely care for her.

Sinistre: I must give up my projects. I must give up.

Antisophie: What of regret?

Sinistre: Regrets haunt me for the things that really matter. I should regret nothing but this. I feel completely thrown by this overcoming of the passions. I feel completely submitted to feeling. I am enslaved.

Antisophie: The Humean of me smiles; make sure Michael doesn’t know about this revelation you have about the primacy of your feelings.

Sinistre: Michael denies this obvious platitude; he does it for the reason I sympathise. He fears what it can do; what it has done to me. We must evade these dangerous, beautiful feelings. I’ve never experienced such a plethora of sentiment before; from the most sombre of malady, to the near bliss of hope. Calm is what I seek for philosophy, but the cold books of metaphysics seem less desirable than the dream of her warm embrace; the hope tortures me, the hope of togetherness, no matter how temporary, no matter how tragic. Just to have it, for however long, would be life itself.

Antisophie: It sounds like a different Sinistre to who I normally know….

Sinistre: I feel so lost in this fog of feeling. What do I do? Do I pursue the hope, knowing that it is contrary to my project? Or do I follow the project, knowing that this beautiful being exists that makes everything stale…I CANNOT DECIDE, I WANT NOT TO CHOOSE!

Antisophie: You shouldn’t have to choos-

Sinistre: To have BOTH!? YOU KNOW THAT CAN’T WORK!

Antisophie: Calm down; it could happen.

Sinistre: I’m scared, Sophie. I’ve never felt this way before…

Antisophie: New experiences require experience and action to guide you. The experienceless reason cannot help you here. Follow your heart in this one. The heart can sometimes lead you to the experienceless if that is your greatest desire and goal. But please, find it inside you to consider what it is you want, who you want to be, and how you want to achieve it. These are all very difficult issues. In some fundamental way, Sinistre, you have to decide this for yourself only , that is, autonomy. I wish I could help you more, I so desperately do, but it would not be your decision, but mine, if I did guide you. The passions are so beautiful, so tempting, yet so cruel. Kant was a bore, but feelings are a wonderful mysterious mistress. You must decide; the mistress, or the Magister….

(Antisophie)

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