The Story of Love

Octavio Paz, who was 82 when he wrote this book, asks in his preface, "Wasn't it a little ridiculous, at the end of my days, to write a book about love?" The answer is a resounding "no." The text is densely rich with ideas, elegant in style, and the ruminations are very wise. Paz ends the short preface noting, "The original, primordial fire, sexuality, raises the red flame of eroticism, and this in turn raises and feeds another flame, tremulous and blue; the flame of love." His endeavor in 'The Double Flame is one of differentiation, and amplification.

Animals always copulate in the same way, whereas humans, though copulating, transform the act into something else besides. This transformation is effected through invention, variation, the imagination. Eroticism is exclusively human, which reflects another difference between our species and other animals: an insatiable sexual thirst. We do not have periods of rut followed by sexual dormancy. We are the only living creatures without an automatic regulator (although I might suggest investigators consider the headache or prolonged television watching). The insatiability of human sexual desire has its bad as well as its good aspects, since, while it leads to procreation and to the continuation of the species and society, it is also highly subversive in its effects. "It ignores classes and hierarchies, arts and sciences, day and night....

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