(THE SECOND FORM OF METAPHYSICAL EROTICISM)
The craving for infinitude is latent in love; its essence is the longing to reach beyond the attainable, to find the meaning of the world in ecstasy. The great erotic is a man whose inward being rests on emotion, who must bring this emotion to its climax—and who is wrecked on the incompleteness of human feeling. We recognise in him one of the tragic figures at the confines of humanity. For it is the final tragedy of a soul impelled by the inexorable will to self-realisation, to be broken on the wheel of human limitations.
The tragedy of the great man of action is less conditioned by principle than the tragedy of other types of greatness, because he is not limited by the universal restrictions of humanity, but by individual and accidental ones. He recognises, partly because of his unmetaphysical constitution, no limits to human activity, and in gaining his individual object, he reaches a relative end. It is otherwise with the thinker, the artist, the religious enthusiast and the lover. The thinker possesses the highest intellectual endowments; he represents cognisant humanity, and his portion is the anguish of realising that the essence of being cannot be grasped by the intellect. The great artist creates a masterpiece; his heart is aglow with the ideal of perfect beauty beheld by none but him, but his ideal eternally eludes him; the saint has achieved perfection as far as perfection is possible to humanity, and stands aghast at the burden of insufficiency which weighs down mankind; the great erotic is the hero in the world of feeling, his soul yearns for the consummation of his love—and already he has reached the confines of life.
There are various paths by which the erotic may travel towards perfection; they correspond to the principal erotic types. I have devoted a special chapter to the seeker of love, or the Don Juan; the woman-worshipper who cannot find satisfaction on earth has been dealt with already. The great and rare lover, however, the exponent of the final form of love, who loves a woman of flesh and blood with every fibre of his