RSS Feed

Blog Break. And a Conversation on Love over at Richardus’ Londinium Pub

Posted on
Pastry shop Bernasconi

Enjoy a Roman everyday's scene. "The family-run kosher pastry shop Bernasconi, on Via dei Giubbonari, has only one table outside. Actually one table, period." Picture (and text) by Eleonora Baldwin, from her "Roma every day". Click to enlarge.

This blog is taking a vacation. A one month vacation.

Above you can see a Roman scene as taken by Eleonora Baldwin’s camera. Eleonora is a Roman, but her father is Irish American.


Here is a conversation occurred over at Richardus.

It is about Love.

I paste, as usual, what I deem relevant to my blog themes.

Wow, Love! [Readers will think]

Wrong. No easy stuff … but fun, none the less.


“Aristophanes may search for his other half, but I search for my whole self.

Thrust into a hostile world, I trudge towards my inevitable grave in utter isolation, seeking an impossible solace, never knowing who I am.

Suddenly, I peer into the eyes of another and see myself. Here is my peace, my consolation, my defence.

I claim those eyes to be always with me as I am always with myself. Perhaps I procreate, but only incidentally.

Selfless caring for another is true love. With practice it may become as universal as its source.

Lev Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana", 1908, the first color photo portrait in Russia

Geraldine: I hear Tolstoy in this post and I’m not surprised.

Richardus: How would you unravel Christianity from Anna Karenin, Geraldine? I haven’t read War and Peace.

Geraldine: Your post reminded me more of how Tolstoy thought. For example you said:

“Suddenly, I peer into the eyes of another and see myself. Here is my peace, my consolation, my defence.”

Tostoy was conscious that the soul is godlike and unites all of us [italic by MoR]. The same soul lives in all of us. Emerson also refers to this in “The Over Soul.” The Hindu religion refers to this with the hands in prayer and the bow to each other: The God in me recognizes the God in you. Is this not what you mean?

To answer your question, I unravel Christianity in the novel in a simple way. Even though Toystoy had a profound insight into human suffering and behaviour his writing is morally severe. There is punishment and it is binary. I believe Levin is modeled after Tolstoy.

Anna defies or flaunts the rules of her society and receives a tragic end. Levin achieves fulfillment as a committed landowner and is involved in society. One protagonist lives outside of himself (if this sounds right) the other follows her own needs. Values, sacrifice, self-possession or self-control are scrutinized to the core.

In this work love is not light. It all suggest judgment.

Note I didn’t say that the love is not right. I do not know.


True love is so hard to find and to keep. You paint a lovely picture Richard, of an ideal. Beautifully expressed.

Man of Roma:

What is true love? Everybody is in search for Love, in his /her own way.

Plato, Magister

While I am studying for my Manius soap I now think of this:

1) on one hand we have sapientiae voluptas (or wisdom’s, knowledge hedonism, since real knowledge implies passion, joy, love, it implies trying to probe – with poetry? sacred books? philosophy? science? – the big mysteries of the universe: death, God etc.

But on the other hand we also have 2) corporis volutpas, ie bodily pleasure, not necessarily vile: at its best it is love for a human being; at its worst banal lust.

A man (don’t know about women, they are more mysterious to me the more I age) is imo torn between 1 and 2.

Plato's chariot in Phaedrus: the Charioteer is our Reason, 1 horse is soul's positive passionate nature; the other horse our soul's concupiscent nature.

1) is the white horse in Plato’s Phedrus chariot (Plato influenced the Jews and the Christians), and 2) is the black horse, especially as for non-spiritual love. Who is riding the two-horsed chariot? It is our Reason.

Now men, I don’t know about women, are badly torn between 1 and 2. If they are not, throw stones at me because I am.

Torn between being a monk (of wisdom, at least tentative) and a libertine? Between ‘the Being’ & Love for a person in flesh? Hard to say.

At times the Woman, for a Man, may take us to God, to the Spirit, to the Being, like Beatrice did with Dante, or Polia with Polyphilo (ie, lover of Polia, in Francesco Colonna’a palatial neoplatonical Renaissance Comedy (Poliphilo’s Strife of Love in a Dream) – the anti-Dante – since the 2 lovers finally get united in their love – thanks to Polia – before the Cosmic Venus; yes, no Madonna there, but Venus at her highest level of purity).

Dante meets Beatrice at Ponte Santa Trinità

Dante meets Beatrice at Ponte Santa Trinità, by Henry Holiday, 1883. Click to enlarge

Now our flight in such chariot towards Platonic Good, the Ideas (or the Christian God, or the neoplatonic cosmic Venus etc.) goes up when reason and the white horse prevail. It tends to flap flap flap down to bodily vile stuff when corporis voluptas, bodily desire, is stronger.

As for myself, num 2 is very powerful. My flight is often low, non-spiritual, my quest vile, although my desire for num 1 – for Good, God and so forth – is never ending, and is bugging me all the time, and each time I flap flap flap a bit higher, I do feel better.

Ok. I am very confused (plus verbose). Asta la vista babies


Well, now Roma, since you seek to distinguish hormonal and spiritual love, I must re-read the Symposium to see what is said there on the subject.

You raise also the matter of Christianity, for which love is the beginning the middle and the end.

Then we have love by love by internet, whose progenitor is love by letter-writing, yet less considered, or maybe less the product of reason.

There is a common thread which I must seek. I may be a little while. :D


You remind me, MoR, of a blond Adonis I knew at school into whose arms a succession of beauties fell, unregretting.

We mortals listened to him in awe. It was a boys’ school, so our knowledge of female anatomy was rudimentary and, shall we say, of a more academic nature. We envied the time he spent on his special study and the joy and adoration he left in his wake.

He went on to become a doctor, the better to develop his talents.


Man of Roma:

I’ll be verbose as usual.

Dear Richardus, sweet Celtic Geraldine:

I was in a boys’ school too, for the reason that, in my Liceo Classico, the headmaster, an absolute moron, decided to create, right on that darn year, one class of just girls and another of just boys (us, alas). So, our knowledge of women was also very academical. And, among us, we also had a brown-haired green-eyed Adonis. So beautiful he was, Tommaso, that he made our ‘female vacuum’ (if one can say that) even more painful: since, each time a girl approached our buddies’ group he quickly seduced her – she was powerless before Him, so she knelt down, and was lost in love – and nothing was left to us.

This occurred again and again.

Oh boy, what absolute starvation for a couple of (very formative btw) years, ie btw 15 and 17. It made us ALL very shallow for a long while as for the other gender: id est, when we met ANYTHING that faintly reminded us of the human female (in an age range btw 13 to 98), she, to us, was just flesh, flesh, flesh. Well, at that age, hormones were active. I, for example, couldn’t easily conceive a girl-friend in the sense of a real ‘friend’. Then I evolved I guess (and hope lol).

Bust of Pythagoras

Pythagoras. Roman copy of a Greek original. Musei Capitolini, Roma. Via Wikipedia. Click for attribution

Yes, Richard, Plato is the Great Teacher of us Christians. Christ I guess did his part, but Plato is the supreme Magister of us all in the West. Forget Aristotle imo. But let us not neglect Pythagoras, Plato’s real mentor (even if dead long before Plato’s time) according to Plato himself and to many scholars, together with Socrates of course, of which little we know, and in any case Socrates was Pythagoras’ pupil also.

Now, what fascinates me [all readers here now taking a nap, I know] is the link Orpheus-Pythagoras. What a great theme!!

Which leads us into 2 sparkling directions: pre-Celtic North Europe, and India!

But that is a story I’ll try to unfold in the Manius plot.

Manius btw seems that it will be published – I was toasting yesterday with wifey – both in Italian (paper book) and in English (e-book: this version needs bigger editing, it is clear). I just have to finish it in 8 months time in a plausible and entertaining – and hopefully deep enough – way. Hard work, and contrary to my nature, whimsical & undisciplined. But in any case.

Blogger Love, you’ve mentioned.

The Love I developed for you Anglo-Saxons & similar, I guess I owe all to that,. To sweet Richard, Philippe, Mr C, Geraldine, and to ALL the American people, ALL of them etc. You people brought me -I forgot how – into discovering Ancient Britannia, fascinating to me to the extent that I now dream of it, like Giorgio in the plot (who in fact is me, obsessed by the theme).

This Love, dear dear Richard, gave me so much inspiration and happiness.

I read the elegance of you people’s words, I look at the pics you people publish (your houses, your windows so different from ours: they must allow more light, ours less) with so much Love (I now sound corny, I know). And well, yes, it is again the white and the black horse (hyperborea, the American & the British-isles type of Woman), and Reason, the Charioteer, sometimes (or often) faltering in its guide.

But this is the way we are, humans who are not only human, since perhaps there’s some extra sparkle (from somewhere where we came from and are bound to return).

As marvellous Geraldine so gently has told us – in her Irish Celtic, untouched-by-the-Romans, pure, Nordic Female’s words …

About Man of Roma

I am a man from Rome, Italy. I’m 60 and a Roman since many generations. In my blog,, I’m writing down my meditations. The idea behind it all is that something 'ancient' is still alive in the true Romans of today, of which few are left.

25 responses »

  1. I leave my comment (risky–but beautiful–as it is) over at Richard’s place. Have fun.

  2. Numbers one and two can be combined in a very satisfying way.
    Lust and then sex are in the mind first.
    Women believe in the unity of numbers one and two.
    Men begin to separate them after years of marriage and children. They drift.
    It takes amazing imagination and a higher level of consciousness to project number two onto number one.
    It can be done. But for a male, it’s work.
    Not sure if I am communicating, but take this from a married woman’s point of view.
    We love our husbands despite their focus on number two.
    But there is a point in which too much number two will destroy number one.
    It’s the risk men take of losing everything.
    It’s part of the control of passion to truly understand number one.
    Have a wonderful trip, Giovanni.

    • Grazie fata turchina.

      I am mesmerized dear num 1 hyperborean Chaeri. You are so right.

      Not that it makes things simpler. It probably doesn’t.

      I mean, understanding the married (matched etc.) woman’s view a bit better, helps a bit but does not change men who are assess and not well equipped as regards feelings.

      I see my daughters, women I observed from zero years up to the stage of adult women. They spent YEARS discussing love relationships, feelings, hues of the heart with their girlfriends, mother, aunties etc. and also thanks to movies, soaps, novels, chats, Internet, Facebook – you name it.

      Her male schoolmates spent instead ALL their time making rough sports, watching war movies, adoring Japanese huge robots and Iron Man (and admiring babes but falling in love also, since a man can deeply love a woman, immense being the woman’s power on man).

      I mean, things tend to remain the way they are imho.

      But you are right. And in fact this is often the role of The Woman: that of the Muse, of Beatrice, or of Polia: they bring Man upwards, up, up (also the anti-Beatrice can bring a Man down down: a society with deviating women breaks families and society apart imo).

      Only, not all men are Dante, or Poliphilio.

  3. It is the wanton physical and emotional sacrifice of a woman and their selfless dedication to humanity’s future that a man is incapable of.


    • A perfect comment. You have humbled me with your concinnity, Richardus, I am overwhelmed. Women, yes, build people, ie feed them, educate them etc. Much more interesting than reading Plato frankly. The problem being they also read Plato. Which corners us, totally.

    • When drones have performed their function, the female worker bees toss them out of the hive to perish.

      We may regard ourselves as supremely lucky!

    • Sez you. I have to crack open smelling salts every time some man gets all sentimental and colorful about how wonderful it is that women are sacrificing, selfless and all that.

      I believe I have proved that I am capable of love, but humanity’s future will %(*&#ing well have to do without me: I am not and have never been available for this particular form of plunder and despoilment.

      And I will be more than usually harsh and point out how very, very bitter I am that women who are willing to excrete infants and raise them get clothed and housed by men who want someone to provide them with posterity, while I’ll be working until my eyes cross for the rest of my life.

      Just to put this particular idealization of love and women into some kind of perspective.

      • I thought this might provoke you, Sled.

        Magnificent! There’s nothing like watching the birth pangs and delivery of womanly vituperation.

        • You think it’s funny. No doubt you would.

          You have made my point. Men, in the end, only have any real use for women who are willing to serve as genetic replicators, and if we don’t fall for the Madonna projection, out comes the nasty mockery.

          I had the stupid illusion when I was younger that simply being a fellow human being might be enough. Silly me.

          • Oh, Sled, of course it’s enough.
            Very little is as it seems. It must
            be wonderful to live life in a
            state of ‘enoughness’. Few do.

        • Oh dear – words, words, words.

        • Having got over the initial shock, Sled, I can assure you that I did not intend to mock – I just thought I was being clever, alas.

          I’m sorry that it came across wrong. My fault entirely.

      • @Sledpress

        Pls notice I am not mocking (and don’t think Richard was either).

        I love fight, and since I know you love it too, Manius and the witch are now fighting quite a lot :-)

        But, generally speaking, gender fight is in my opinion a bit ideological (what’s the point of fighting because clouds exist or because pears are not as round as apples – that type of thing: simplistic, perhaps, but try to see my point), a remnant of the 68 revolution (which did some good but also a lot of bad; loads of ‘faith’, basically, with very little science), and most of all a terrible waste of energy.

        I for example consider myself a VICTIM of women at times (the only man in a huge tribe of women). Ok, when I think like that I consider my intellect flapping VERY low.

  4. Enjoy your vacation! That is quite an interesting post on love you have left us with.

  5. I love being a woman: We’ve got the sex/love thing all figured out, we’re happy to make sacrifices for humanity, and, among ourselves, we’ve got this awesome sisterhood that unites us.

  6. When we got married, the priest told us:”You have read that in marriage two become one, but to do so two must remain two.” We have been meditating on that for the last almost 46 years now and have not gotten to the bottom of it.

  7. You just copied and pasted a whole post plus comments from another blog? Is this legal?

    • It is legal and, most importantly, everybody retains his / her copyright on the stuff he / she has written. Of course, if some of the people one cites wants his /her stuff to be edited or erased one has to do that.

  8. welcome back!

    happy to hear you had a well deserved break.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 162 other followers

%d bloggers like this: