You know how in the book there is an ongoing courtly debate about which is the greater in love, desire and fulfillment? This argument, though played as a game by the Queen and her admirers, goes to the core of the story. Desire is the emotion that gets so many of the characters in trouble… actually, it gets all of them in trouble! But isn’t this how it is in life for all of us? We are driven by craving for something — for love, for attention, for success, for a family, whatever. We desire, and if we are fulfilled, we then desire something new. I keep this quote by Leonardo da Vinci handy:
“…Man who with perpetual longing always looks forward with joy to each new spring and each new summer, and to the new months and the new years, deeming that the things he longs for are too slow in coming; and who does not perceive that he is longing for his own destruction. But this longing is in its quintessence the spirit of the elements, which finding itself imprisoned within the life of the human body desires continually to return to its source. And I would have you to know that this same longing is in its quintessence inherent in nature, and that man is a type of the world.”
To me, this sums up the nature of our existence completely. I wonder if k.d. lang knew of Leonardo’s words when she wrote the song “Constant Craving”, one of my all-time favorites.
But what fun we have in our craving, (when it’s not painful!) and without it, what would ever be accomplished?