The Luminosity of Love
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Author: Predrag Cicovacki
We long for love and to be loved. We also fear love because we risk betrayal by those we love, or we betray them. Predrag Cicovacki's thought-provoking book, The Luminosity of Love, uses the extraordinary love story of the great unconventional Serbian poet, Laza Kostic, and the vivacious aristocratic young woman, Lenka Dundjerski, as a starting point for a wide-ranging discussion of the nature of love, its importance in the Western cultural tradition, and its relevance for living a meaningful life in our high-tech materialistic world of the 21st century.
By combining love stories and philosophical reflections on them, the author focuses on the moments of betrayal that bring us to point at which we may choose to retreat from loving, and instead satisfy ourselves with substitutes for love.
Alternatively, we may realize that our fear and sense of betrayal need not get the last word when it comes to love and that we can aspire to transform ourselves into more caring and radiating personalities. Our struggle to realize this aspiration is a love story-the ultimate love story that should concern us.
This book is superb philosophical essay about the transformative power of love.
Number of pages: 167, softbound
In this book, the philosopher Predrag Cicovacki thoughtfully explores the nature, character, and potential of human love through the lens of a famous and tragic relationship between the cultured and brilliant middle-aged Serbian poet Laza Kostic and his beautiful, wealthy, and young admirer Lenka. In doing so, the author gleefully violates the integrity of the often excessively air-tight bulkheads separating philosophy, history, biography, and literary criticism to deliver a most unlikely appreciation, in this most unromantic century, of the priceless ability of love - even failed love - to transform, illumine, and enoble human lives, and to explore the ways that, through such lives, human love can contribute to society at large by encouraging the creation and preservation of literature, art, and culture.
To be honest, I have never read anything quite like it. If, as Nicolai Hartmann once suggested, all true philosophy begins in wonder and ends in love - then this book is that rarest of things - a genuine exploratory work of philosophy about human love, rather like some long delayed addendum to Plato's _Symposium_. What is more, the book is written in lucid and accessible prose, well within the reading capacities of most reasonably educated readers.
In the weeks since I first read the book, I have found myself returning again and again to the treasures and insights that it has left behind in my memory, as I have begun to integrate them into my own thinking on many related topics. As a priest, and as a person academically and professionally engaged with philosophy and theology, I really cannot recommend Cicovacki's wise book enough - and my wife, who is a poet and literary scholar - wholeheartedly agrees. We spent days delightedly reading snippets of the book back and forth to one another. A genuine delight!
This small book is an excellent way to fan the embers of love no matter how faint they may be burning. While anyone may benefit, it seems those outside of the faith may stand to benefit most, given our culture's pervasive nihilism. In our time, our notion of love has been so distorted, in addition to carrying some of the philosophical baggage associated with language itself, that many people struggle to love in a profound sense envisaged initially by the ancient Greeks, and then even more fully by our own Orthodox tradition. In gentle ways the author surveys a bit of history and philosophy, while dialoguing with a famous Serbian love story, to begin to open up another way of seeing...all it takes is a small opening for light to shine through and for someone's journey to begin anew.