Eros and Thanatos: Passion and Death

“Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.

Jump into experience while you are alive!

Think… and think… while you are alive.”

Kabir translated by Robert Bly

Most of my adult life, both professionally and personally, has been devoted to a pursuit of Eros, which means “life instinct,” passion, purpose, and positivity. Eros is the drive to live fully.

My bouts with alcoholism over the decades were a movement towards death and away from Eros. Addiction is an unconscious relationship with Thanatos – the drive toward death and destruction. When I was younger, I used to drive my cars like death did not matter, but in reality, it was Thanatos behind the wheel.

Why am I writing about these two concepts – Eros and Thanatos? Because our country is drowning in the river Styx for many reasons, including a sore lack of life preserving and life-affirming leadership.

Many men and women are not wearing masks or social distancing and think they are acting out of the life instinct and a desire for freedom. “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,” according to Janis Joplin who courted Thanatos at a very young age. Freedom to die and kill others is not true freedom because it is in bondage to Thanatos.

The people who refuse to do what they can to stop the spread of Virus/Thanatos to others (especially the older generation which includes me and many of you reading this right now) don’t even know ,or perhaps do not care, they are participating in the drive towards death – not life.

How many more people, young and old, have to die before we as a society and individuals agree to worship the drive to Life and stop our reckless disregard for the lives of others? When will we become adults who feel passionate again and in love with Eros, in love with life?

Perhaps we should all agree to take the physician’s vow – “First do no harm” – while Thanatos is taking 150,000 lives.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…

I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,

Hoping to cease not till death…”

Walt Whitman

Published by

John Lee Books and Seminars

Bestselling author, public speaker, life coach, teacher, relationship coach, and anger management specialist.

One thought on “Eros and Thanatos: Passion and Death”

  1. Kris Kristofferson wrote that lyric; Janis used it. It may well be that many are running from their grief rather than facing and feeling it while alive. Facing & feeling open the door to healing. There is much our culture can do to assist in awareness of this!

Comments are closed.