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The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley


by Emil Lucka



SINCE the triumphant days of the Mechanists some twenty-five years ago, the wedge of Pragmatism—a useful tool to be used and discarded—has been driven between materialism and idealism, and it appears that the whole tendency of philosophy is now in the latter direction. Even in England the influence of Bergson has led modern thought away from the pure materialism of the monists, and it seems probable that Benedetto Croce's Philosophy of the Spirit will carry the movement a step nearer towards the idealistic concept of reality. And among the latest signs of the new tendency must be counted the brilliant work of Emil Lucka, the young Austrian "poet-philosopher," whose conception of the development of love must rank with the most daring speculations in recent psychology.

In the great reaction of the last century, love, that most cogent motive of human thought and action, fell from its high estate and came to be regarded as an instinct not differing in any essential from hunger and thirst and existing, like them, from the beginning, eternal and immutable, manifesting itself with equal force in the heart of man and woman, and impelling them towards each other. But Emil Lucka, in his remarkable new book Eros or The Three Stages of Love (which created a sensation in literary circles abroad), leads us on to speculative heights from which we may look back upon the whole theory of evolution not as a bar but as a bridge. "My book is intended as a monograph on the emotional life of the human race," he says in the preface, and "I am prepared to meet with rejection rather than with approval." There has been abundance of criticism and controversy, but Lucka has stated his case and has drawn his conclusions with such admirable precision and logic, that his work has aroused admiration and appreciation even in the ranks of his opponents.

Love is a theme which at all times and in all countries has been of primary interest to men and women, and, therefore, this book, which throws an illuminating ray of light in many a dark place still wrapped in mystery and silence, not only impresses the psychologist but also fascinates the general reader with its wealth of interesting detail and charm of expression.

The three vitally important points which the author develops are as follow:

Love is not a primary instinct but has been gradually evolved in historical time.

Ernst Haeckel's biogenetic law is expanded into a psychogenetic law.

Only man's emotions have undergone evolution and therefore have a history, while those of woman have experienced no change.

Lucka's book will probably not please the advanced feminists, but the delicate, although perhaps involuntary homage to her sex which is implied in his theories, ought to rouse a feeling of gratification in the heart of every right-feeling woman. The very limitations and restrictions which he lays upon her raise and glorify her. For while man has been "the Odysseus wandering through heaven and hell, passing from the bestial to the divine to return again and become human, woman has always been the same, unchangeable and without problems. That which he has set up to-day as his highest erotic ideal, the blending of sexual and spiritual love, has been her natural endowment from the beginning. Never perfect, he falls into error and sin where she cannot err, for her instinct is Nature herself and she knows not the meaning of sin."

Schopenhauer's "instinct of philoprogenitiveness" has to-day become an article of faith with the learned and unlearned. This sub-conscious instinct for the service of the species which, in love is supposed to rise to consciousness, and whose purpose is the will to produce the best possible offspring, is conceded by scientists who reject not only Schopenhauer's metaphysic, but metaphysic in general. Even Nietzsche, that arch-individualist, has proved, by many of his pronouncements, and most strikingly by his well-known definition of marriage, that he has not escaped its fascinations. "Schopenhauer ignores all phenomena which are not in support of his myth," says Lucka, who denies this instinct of philoprogenitiveness and would substitute for it a "pairinginstinct." " The experience of others," he argues, "not our own instinct, has taught us that children may, not necessarily must, be the result of the union of the sexes. Propagation did not enter into the mediaeval ideal which reached its climax in metaphysical love. Moreover, the wish for children is frequently unaccompanied by any sexual desire, and therefore to manufacture an instinct of philoprogen'tiveness is fantastic metaphysic, entirely opposed to intellectual reality. This was well understood in the long period of antiquity which strictly separated the sexual impulse and the desire for children."

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