First of all, love obviously requires two parties. With love itself, that makes three: lover, beloved, and love.
However, if the system is functioning as it should be, there will be two lovers and two beloveds united by one love, which makes five. But two lovers focused solely on each other is a kind of static situation; plus, it is as if the love only radiates "inward" instead of outward, in an essentially narcissistic manner.
Thus, I think real love can only flourish when the two are united by one love, but also focus their mutual love on a beloved "third." The most obvious or "natural" third is the child, but it doesn't have to be, especially after the children are grown. There are any number of "symbolic thirds" that can unite a couple in their exteriorized, or radiated, love.
Recall that we've been discussing the complementarity of individual <--> collective, with a particular focus on how the person is central to Christianity (i.e., infinitely precious and worthwhile in his own right; or let us just say loved by God), whereas in eastern religions the individual is essentially an obstacle to enlightenment or liberation.
I don't know about you, but if I ever achieve enlightenment or liberation, I want to be there when it happens. And of course, from a Christian perspective, it "happens" in love.
My favorite chapter in The Mystery of Individuality is the last one, which deals with love and marriage. It is full of wisdom that people need to know, and yet, are generally unaware of.
By way of contrast, think of "sex education," or indeed, the entire field of secular "human sexuality." Deprived of the type of quintessentially human wisdom discussed by Perry, these disciplines are not even "animal" or "primate" sexuality. A more accurate term would be subhuman sexuality, which is neither human nor animal, but a kind of rebellion against, or rejection of, our human nature.
Perry begins with the observation -- uncontroversial for 99.99% of human history, prior to the ascension of tenured stupidity -- that "the mystery of individuality must include an image of it seen through the prism of the masculine and female duality which divides the individual into two incomplete halves, as it were." He adds that the cosmos is "ruled by polarities," but I prefer to say "complementarities," since this latter term implies an underlying harmony.
And in fact, Perry adds that, "though divided, these polarities presuppose an underlying unity without which they could not oppose each other." In this case, male and female are united in their essential humanness. As Jung observed, within the male is the latent anima archetype, just as within the female is the latent animus archetype.
Perry writes of the need for a functioning cosmos to be characterized by complementarities such as positive and negative or attraction and repulsion. Without these, "the universe would collapse and be reabsorbed into Non-being..." It would be like a dead battery, or a lesbian marriage.
First and foremost -- or at the first degree of cosmic manifestation -- we might say that masculine and feminine are personifications of Absolute and Infinite, respectively (a subject we have discussed in a number of previous posts). These terms -- Absolute and Infinite -- may be "prolonged," so to speak, in various iterations.
For example, masculinity, writes Perry, achieves "its purest intensity as Truth and Strength," whereas femininity does so in the modes of Love and Beauty. But again, beneath the complementarity is the oneness of, say, beautiful truth or loving strength (the latter being the Good Father). Dualism implies a kind of battle, whereas complementarity is a dance.
Perry naturally says a lot of things that are politically and academically incorrect, which I suppose is a good gauge of their veracity. For example, "What woman loves in man is essentially his strength and intelligence, or his liberating objectivity, and in this respect man is equated with the motionless center or the static or axial principle..."
Conversely, "what man loves in woman is essentially her beauty and her love, her kindness and mercy, or the mystery of her liberating subjectivity..." It doesn't mean this is all he loves in her, but it is difficult to imagine being attracted to a woman in the first place if she lacked these things; or, conversely, if she were as rigid, severe, cruel, unmysterious, and unyielding as, say, Gloria Allred.
Elsewhere I remember Schuon saying something to the effect that (I'm paraphrasing here) woman finds her axis, or center, in man, whereas man finds his "space" in woman. I think this explains why women become more conservative when they marry, because their vulnerability to emotionalism and flightiness is disciplined by a masculine center (which is already in them, as animus, but is most often first encountered in projected form).
Likewise, this is why we see an Obama campaign specifically tailored to the emotionalism and flightiness of single women (not all of whom, obviously, respond to such childish, illogical, selfish, and generally Fluked up appeals).
There are also "pathologically masculine" appeals, but not so much in the mainstream. For example, there can be an element of this in dogmatic libertarianism, or perhaps in those irrelevant militia groups. Nazis and Islamic supremacists also come to mind.
An important point to bear in mind is that pathological masculinity almost always contains a background of pathological femininity, and vice versa. For example, the angry and dogmatic feminazi is a kind of perverse caricature of masculinity, whereas the aggressive statism of an Obama is bit like mommy with armed thugs.
This is why, as Perry observes, there is something unnatural about a man without courage, just as there is something unnatural about a woman "lacking in tenderness." It hardly means that a man can't be tender and a woman can't be courageous. In fact, in a life properly lived, we will develop and assimilate complementary virtues, in balance with the existing ones.
To be continued...