Daemon in the Sanctuary: The Enigma of Homespace Violence

Daemon in the Sanctuary: The Enigma of Homespace Violence

Daemon in the Sanctuary: The Enigma of Homespace Violence

Daemon in the Sanctuary: The Enigma of Homespace Violence

Excerpt

Plato’s Symposium offers a broad range of poetic and mythical accounts of love, but the dialogue has the overall effect of tearing the god Eros from the heavenly post traditionally assigned him by his eulogists and disciples and resituating him in between the gods and human beings. Eros becomes a daemon. Many might be tempted to interpret love’s newly assigned in-between status the same way that Socrates does—as an indication of the mediatory function of love and its elevating power for humans. In this work, however, I propose we take very seriously the demotion of the god from his traditional, highly eulogized status, and explore the less-than-heavenly effects of love that come to be played out and witnessed as violence at the homespace. How can a mediating, connecting force, such as love, be implicated in the pain and tragedy of intimate violence?

Moving from the Symposium’s syrupy tributes of the god to the subject of domestic violence appears to be a giant leap, but I will claim here that embroidered romantic ideas about love prepare the initiate poorly for the reality of intimate connection. Poets and philosophers who lead us to believe that love is heaven sent can leave us craving an extreme experience. We crave an earthshaking, life-altering intrusion on our tranquility as evidence that love is real. Thus the naïve initiate can easily mistake the . . .

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