In The Double Flame, Octavio Paz writes about the five elements of love 1. Exclusivity 2. Obstacles/Transgression 3. Domination/Submission 4. Freedom/Fate/Attraction 5. Body and soul What...

In The Double Flame, Octavio Paz writes about the five elements of love

1. Exclusivity

2. Obstacles/Transgression

3. Domination/Submission

4. Freedom/Fate/Attraction

5. Body and soul

What does Paz mean Freedom/Fate/Attraction also Body and soul?

 

 

Expert Answers
teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the book, Paz hypothesizes that the five elements of love can be simplified to three of primary importance. These three are exclusivity, attraction, and the body/soul.

Freedom/fate/attraction.

In his book, Paz presents love as a reciprocal arrangement. The lover has the freedom to choose his lady, just as the lady has the freedom to accept or reject her suitor. Once either party makes a choice to love each other, both are fated to be bound to each other. The quote below explains the dichotomy of freedom and fate in attraction. Bolded words are my own.

Love is the involuntary attraction toward a person (fate) and the voluntary acceptance of that attraction (freedom to choose).

The lover is then bound in voluntary servitude to the lady. Paz refers to this as the 'knot made of two intertwined freedoms,' where both choose to enter a union based on the tenets of love. Again, bolded words are my own.

The giving up of personal sovereignty (by the lover) and the voluntary acceptance of servitude (by the lady) involves a genuine change of nature: by way of the bridge of mutual desire, the object (the lady) becomes desiring subject and the subject (the lover) becomes desired object.

In essence, Paz says that 'love is born of a free decision, the voluntary acceptance of fate.' The voluntary adoration and relinquishing of personal autonomy on the lover's part gains the lady's desire, who in response, willingly subjects/submits herself to his sacrifice and love. It sounds like the relationship between a lord and his vassal, doesn't it? In fact, this is what Paz equates love to, on page 150, in the chapter on The Solar System.

Body/Soul.

In his book, Paz draws on medieval concepts of the body and soul to explain our predisposition to love a certain person. He cites the Renaissance and Baroque 'theory of passion.' Accordingly, the individual soul is a part of the universal Soul. The Stoics, for example, believed that each individual soul was subject to the influence of the planets; this was the basis of the humors each person was prone to.

Paz argues that, as Moderns, we must not reject the indissoluble union between body and soul that the Ancients so believed in.

Without the belief in an immortal soul inseparable from a mortal body, neither the exclusive nature of love nor its consequence- the transformation of desired object into desiring object- could have arisen. In short, love demands as its prerequisite the concept of the person, and the concept of the person requires a soul incarnated in a body.

In essence, a shallow union hinges on bodily attraction alone. Genuine love, as Paz argues, is a union of both body and soul. When a lover proclaims his eternal love (and lives it), he confers immortality and immutability (permanence) on a finite being (his lady). Even though the 'flesh undergoes corruption, and our days are numbered,' this eternal nature of love allows us to face impending death courageously.

Hope this has helped you understand Paz's elements of freedom/fate/attraction and body/soul in his theory of love.

 

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The Double Flame

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