isabelavs-noumenal-love/ 14 ian.2018/ 5932 car.

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Isabela Vasiliu-Scraba, ON THE NOUMENAL ATEMPORALITY OF LOVE (Mihai Eminescu)


Just as virtue is not the same thing as correct action, beauty is not the same thing as beautiful object, says Plato. His philosophical conception about love is to be found in THE BANQUET : Beauty is the image of divinity, immutable, pure, alone in itself and with itself, outside time and becoming.

A priestess from Mantinea, Diotima, explains Socrates that love is creation through beauty, creation through spirit, aspiration after wisdom, the effort mortals make in order to become immortal. The only durable possession is the wealth of the spirit, knowledge. With Plato, knowledge is <<anámnesis>>, reminiscence. Starting from the love of beauty, found in the perceptible world, it is possible – though not always – to surpass this level. Diotima speaks of a gradual rise to supreme beauty. It is thus that the real virtue imagined by Plato is reached. The Good itself cannot be only truth or harmony; the Platonic Good is also Beauty (83) Love is the basic function of the soul, the condition of reminiscence.

<<Your eyes have brought to light that which was deeply hidden in my soul>>, Eminescu wrote to his beloved, beautiful Veronica.

In fact, for Eminescu love was the only genuine experience, and Plato was his favourite philosopher. That is why from among the many Romanian folk fairy tales he knew, Mihai Eminescu selected the one entitled THE MAID IN THE GOLDEN GARDEN. First he put it into a poem quite faithful to the initial text of the folk fairy tale; then he used it as the starting point for his masterpiece, THE EVENING STAR (VESPEROS).

Still one must mention that the register of this Roumanian fairy tale is rather strange, given that the two characters of the love story are very different. Moreover, love determines a twofold attempt to change the ontological statutus, which however is not carried to completion. The emperor’s beautiful daughter, loved by the dragon, does not allow herself to be taken to a world alien to her essence. On the other hand, the call to the earthly world of the character belonging by birth to a different universe proves to be an error.

The poet’s genius adds to the original texture of the folk fairy tale an extraordinarily vivid and interesting part, somehow akin to Plato’s <<anámnesis>>. There are there gorgeous poetical images, designed to figure out subtle philosophical ideas about being and nonbeing, as well as about becoming.

We are referring notably to the sublime image of Hyperion’s jurney to the end of space and time, an occasion for him to receive a new spiritual irradiation. Thus, before the meeting with the Demiurge, he had lived the <<anámnesis>>, he had recognized his divine essence. This journey takes place right at the time when he proposed to pass to a new ontological status, which he wanted to ask of the Demiurge, in order to be able to exist at the same   existence level as his beloved.

But how does this love story actually begin ?

Under the magic of the nights when love seems to open heaven’s gates, the Evening Star descends into the room of the emperor’s beautiful daughter, whom he had long loved and to whom he appeared in her dream as Hyperion, a young man of unearthly beauty. Hyperion, a being who is not born and does not die, descends crossing spaces and eras and each time changing his appearance. The basic elements of each of his metamorphoses are related to the cosmic existence level wherefrom he descends, each new avatar ( manifestation in human form) having multiple significances. Described in lines of exquisite beauty and harmony,   the images of the metamorphoses and the meetings will be the most wonderful moments of this strange love story.

But the two lovers are much too different one from the other. Each time Hyperion tries to get near her, the girl   seems to awaken from the daydreaming   of her love, she seems to forget about her aspiration for a superior condition. Only Hyperion is not aware of the pitfalls of his illusory happiness.

In love with Hyperion, characterized by her uncommon beauty and   her royal lineage, the girl seems to be half real. Indeed half, aware as she is of the limits imposed by her human nature. But when Hyperion leaves and she starts being attracted to the young Catalin, the girl becomes altogether real. Now she is Catalina, the girl Catalin loves. Her pedestal breaks to pieces. Nevertheless the nostalgia aroused by her love for Hyperion will last for ever ; and because of this nostalgia she will always be different from all the other girls in the world.

Likewise, Hyperion’s sadness, the pain caused by losing her will also endure.

              <<Never shall I love another woman, you will be in my thoughts and in my soul what you have always been : the golden dream of my life (…), and my life   with you will be my only hope (…). I think my love for you will never die>>, Eminescu wrote Veronica Micle on February 28, 1882. On April 10, 1882, the poet was to read THE EVENING STAR at the Junimea literary salon.

Having the translations in modern languages, in order to get closer to divine Plato one has -as Mihai Eminescu did – to learn some ancient Greek.   But in order to indulge in the divine beauty of this poem, in the sovereign splendor of the most marvellous poems of our poetry, one has to know Romanian well.


Autoare: ISABELA VASILIU-SCRABA, vezi fișa scriitoarei înainte de vandalizarea ei de către birocratul Mycomp care îndepărtează din informațiile despre studiile ei post-universitare si din titlurile cărților pe care eseista le-a publicat în post-comunism: .

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(83) see Plato, PHILEBUS, 64-65.