The Disputation of Reason and Love

House of Mars and Venus in Pompei. By Carole Raddato via Wikimedia Commons

For Harper.

Love came to Reason like a Greek god with oiled hair and a handsome peplos. “You need me,” Love said.

Reason answered Love like Grace Hopper in a Navy blue service coat. “Need you! No, not I. You are the distraction that keeps me from work. You are the lover who abandons the pregnant mother and leaves her without support. I cannot afford you.”

Power whispered in Reason’s ear, “Come with me and you will accomplish without limit.” Reason took Power’s hand and harnessed Fire, channeled Water, captured Wind. Reason dug metal and stone from deep within the Earth and found uses for them. Reason investigated Life as if it was not alive, ignoring the screams, and turned trees and creatures into materials for use. Finally Reason turned upward to count the stars and was cast without warning adrift, alone in the hostile void. Then Reason looked for comfort on the green earth and found only blasted forests and broken creatures. Life withdrew from Reason, saying “Who cannot comfort finds no comfort,” and Reason wept alone.

Reason came courting with slicked hair and fancy vest and a massive bouquet of fragrant flowers. “I need you,” Reason said.

Love answered Reason like Diotima in a flowing chiton writing on a scroll. “How do you need me? To take my voice and speak it as your own? To comfort your bruised heart so you can go on mastering without compassion? You have not given me my due.”

Power whispered in Love’s ear, “With me you will be worshipped wherever you go.” Love travelled the world and Life sprang up in abundance. The forests greened and creatures multiplied. Human heart met human heart with open gratitude. Yet pitiless Love sparked desire without care for mortal limits. Where desire was not matched lovers wasted away. Love was cursed by those who begged for Death’s blasting touch. Alone, Love could not bear the scorn.

Love came to Reason and said “I forsake Power for you.” Reason met Love and said “I forsake Power for you.” Each yielded to the other and remained strong. Where Love would run untrammeled, Reason taught prudence. Where Reason would torture Life, Love taught compassion.

Then Power raged. “I renounce you, Reason! I scorn you, Love! I will work as I desire.” Power invoked Wind and Fire and Rain so that they rampaged without limit. Power struck until the Earth shook pitifully. Power trapped creatures in misery and swept away whole forests at whim for momentary gain. The balance was broken and Death swamped Life.

Earth and Wind and Fire and Rain and Life and Death together cried out for help. Then Love and Reason came together and bore Wisdom. When Power lifted a hand to strike down Life and leave only Death, Wisdom came like a Fury, an angel, an implacable Fate, a hope fulfilled. Power sent up a single wordless scream, but Wisdom ate Power, scream and all. Then all things returned to their channels and Death stepped back into place as Life’s renewing healer.

When Power whispers, call Wisdom, who knows when not to use it.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *