In The Beginning, There Was Eros.

“These things declare to me from the beginning, you Muses who dwell in the house of Olympus, [115] and tell me which of them first came to be. In truth at first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundation of all1the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, [120] and Eros (Love), fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them.

— Hesiod, “Theogony,” 7th century BCE, (lines 114-138)

“Sing, Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill [ 10 ]
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s Brook that flow’d
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian Mount, while it pursues [ 15 ]
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
And chiefly Thou O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all Temples th’ upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou know’st; Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread [ 20 ]
Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss
And mad’st it pregnant…”
—  John Milton, 1667, “Paradise Lost”, Book 1, (lines 17-22)

      “IMMORTAL LOVE! who ere the morn of Time,
On wings outstretch’d, o’er Chaos hung sublime;
Warm’d into life the bursting egg of Night,
And gave young Nature to admiring Light!—
YOU! whose wide arms, in soft embraces hurl’d
Round the vast frame, connect the whirling world!
Whether immers’d in day, the Sun your throne,
You gird the planets in your silver zone;
Or warm, descending on ethereal wing,
The Earth’s cold bosom with the beams of spring;
Press drop to drop, to atom atom bind,
Link sex to sex, or rivet mind to mind;
Attend my song!—With rosy lips rehearse,
And with your polish’d arrows write my verse!—

— Erasmus Darwin, 1802, “The Temple of Nature,” Book 1, (lines 15-28)

“EDITOR’S NOTE: l. 15. This address to Immortal Love conflates many different ideas. It alludes to the opening of Genesis, by way of Milton’s invocation of the Holy Spirit, which “with mighty wings outspread / Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast abyss / And mad’st it pregnant” (Paradise Lost, I, 20-22); but it also echoes the invocation to the love-goddess Venus which opens Lucretius’s materialist poem De Rerum Natura (I, 1-49). For “the egg of Night” (17), see III, 178n, where Darwin quotes from Aristophanes’s The Birds: “sable-winged night produced an egg, from whence sprung up like a blossom Eros, the lovely, the desirable, with glossy golden wings.” Darwin distinguishes this “celestial” creative Eros (who reappears as the god of “Sentimental Love” in Canto III) from the “terrestrial” god of sexual love Cupid (the dominant deity of Canto II, on Reproduction). Early drafts make this identification clearer by addressing the present passage to “Celestial Love.” Darwin had already explored these ideas in notes toThe Economy of Vegetation, discussing the Aristophanes quote more fully (I, 413n), and (in The Economy of Vegetation, I, 101n) linking the image of “the egg of Night” (17) to the idea of evolution, in single organisms, in the formation of the earth and finally between species: “From having observed the gradual evolution of the young animal or plant from its egg or seed . . . , philosophers of all ages seem to have imagined, that the great world itself had likewise its infancy and gradual progress to maturity; this seems to have given origin to the very ancient and sublime allegory of Eros, or Divine Love, producing the world from the egg of Night, as it floated in Chaos.” Darwin goes on to link this idea to evidence that the earth’s crust has built up slowly, and that many plants and animals display “useless or incomplete appendages,” suggesting development from or towards other species.”

For more on Eros, its grip on our psyche and the consequences of unrestrained “terrestrial” Eros, download a PDF of my Senior Thesis: Marketing Magicians of the Shopocalypse: Eros, Advertising and… the End of the World? 

ABSTRACT: The modern marketing profession is not merely the child of 20th century capitalism. It is also an heir to the theories and traditions of Renaissance magic. In particular, Giordano Bruno’s techniques of “bonding” and his special version of the classical “art of memory” provide the basis for especially effective forms of integrated brand promotion which combine the raw power of human desire with an appeal to the archetypal nature of the human psyche. This article examines the Classical origins of Bruno’s theories and techniques as well as some of their modern marketing usages in an attempt to ascertain how they have brought humanity to the brink of extinction through the stimulation of consumer frenzy, and how they might help us survive.

From the Conclusion: Both lover and beloved, then, have together succumbed to the incessant whinnying of the corporeal horse (the lower Eros), exercising little to no self-restraint. The consumer/beloved engages in self destructive behavior at the behest of the manufacturer/lover, and the cycle of dysfunctional codependence perpetuates itself to the brink of annihilation. This is precisely the kind of self destructive greed which caused Wall Street to crumble at the expense of taxpayers and which lurks in the trash-strewn epicenter of the Shopocalypse.

This “hubris,” as Plato calls it “when desire rules in us and drags us toward pleasure in a manner contrary to reason,” has its remedy in its opposite, or “judiciousness,” which occurs “when judgment guides us by reason toward what is best and is strong enough to prevail.” Given how undisciplined it has become, regaining control over the ornery horse will not be easy. However, the task of bringing the two horses back into balance under the rational authority of the charioteer is crucial to human development, as it constitutes the process whereby the soul regains its wings. Once desires have been tempered and the wings regrown, the soul may once again partake in the procession of Zeus, gazing out once more over the rim of heaven to look upon the “things which are.”

‎”Because of Eros, and through it, all of Nature is turned into a great Sorceress.”

— Iaon P. Couliano, Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, p. 87

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Berthon, Pierre; Holbrook, Morris; Hulbert, James. (2003). “Understanding and Managing the Brand Space.” MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 44, No 2, 50-51

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Woodside, Arch, G.; Sood, Suresh; Miller, Kenneth, E. (2008). “When Consumers and Brands Talk: Storytelling Theory and Research in Psychology and Marketing.” Psychology and Marketing, Vol.25, No. 2, 97-145.

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1992 World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity

Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.


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