The Evangelical Universalist Forum

My Second Favorite Book - The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

This is probably my favorite book next to “Purpose Driven Life”, and “Celebrate Recovery”. I’m not trying to learn how to seduce people. I like the book because of the psychological dynamics in the book of falling in love. Whether it’s getting one person to fall in love with you large groups of people to fall in love with you. The psychology in the book is outstanding. I will share a few quotes. Here’s one in the book from Francesco Alberoni.

No one can fall in love if he is even partially satisfied with what he has or who he is. The experience of falling in love originates in an extreme depression, an inability to find something that has value in everyday life. The “symptom” of the predisposition to fall in love is not the conscious desire to do so, the intense desire to enrich our lives, it is the profound sense of being worthless and of having nothing that is valuable and the shame of not having it. This is the sign that we are prepared for the experience - the feeling of nothingness and shame over our own nothingness. For this reason, falling in love occurs more frequently among young people, since they are profoundly uncertain, unsure of their worth, and often ashamed of themselves. The same thing applies to people of other ages when they lose something in their lives - when their youth ends or when they start to grow old. There is an irreparable loss of something in the self, a feeling that we will inevitably become devoid of value or degraded, compared with what we have been.

Here’s the book that the quote from Francesco Alberoni is taken:

I tried to capture Alberoni’s insights in another thread but I will repeat it here.

We choose God because he has opened our eyes to see his beauty; we love him because he first loved us. ~~ R.C. Sproul

Unredeemed man has no desire for God. The Holy Eros isn’t there in the heart. It’s smothered under layers of ego. That is to say, unredeemed man doesn’t want God. When God opens the eyes of the heart to see His beauty by ego puncturing we then come to God. He draws us to Himself with His beauty by planting the Holy Eros of desire within the heart of man and then brings it to fruition. We choose God because we want God. We not only want God but we want Him more than anything. This is the essence of true freedom. We lose ourselves to find ourselves. The false self is the ego deflated as God’s arrow pierces the heart creating the passionate desire for Him. When we make it to heaven all desire for sin is forever removed. We will therefore be like God in that it will be impossible for us to sin. We will still choose what we most want or desire = God. We will be in that Holy Union of perfection with the Divine Eros or Holy Desire.

I want You
I thirst for You
To be with You
Forever in Your glory
My dear love
Most beautiful
In all perfections
Burn away all lust
Unite me to holiness
Purify me with
Burning fire and
Be my passion
That sweet flame
Of love

Union

In union with you upon the cross
As love’s arrow pierces my heart
I die to myself and suffer loss
Then given a new life and start

Buried to my old self I then rise
Vision is now clear as I can see
New self reflects in Your eyes
The person I am and want to be

Looking deeper into Your face
Beauty becomes brighter inside
With no more wrath only grace
In union with You I now confide

God’s arrow pierces the heart deflating the ego and creating a passionate love for Him. God doesn’t force us against our will. No, we come to Christ because we want to. When the falling in love is fully developed we want Christ more than anything. This is the essence of true freedom. The definition from Wikipedia says it perfectly:

Eros (/ˈɪrɒs/ or /ˈɛrɒs/; Ancient Greek: ἔρως érōs “love” or “desire”) is one of the four ancient Greco-Christian terms which can be rendered into English as “love”. The other three are storge, philia, and agape. Eros refers to “passionate love” or romantic love; storge to familial love; philia to friendship as a kind of love; and agape refers to “selfless love”, or “charity” as it is translated in the Christian scriptures (from the Latin caritas, dearness).

The term erotic is derived from eros. Eros has also been used in philosophy and psychology in a much wider sense, almost as an equivalent to “life energy”.

In the classical world, erotic love was generally referred to as a kind of madness or theia mania (“madness from the gods”). This love passion was described through an elaborate metaphoric and mythological schema involving “love’s arrows” or “love darts”, the source of which was often the personified figure of Eros (or his Latin counterpart, Cupid), or another deity (such as Rumor). At times the source of the arrows was said to be the image of the beautiful love object itself. If these arrows were to arrive at the lover’s eyes, they would then travel to and ‘pierce’ or ‘wound’ his or her heart and overwhelm him/her with desire and longing (lovesickness). The image of the “arrow’s wound” was sometimes used to create oxymorons and rhetorical antithesis concerning its pleasure and pain.

I also dealt with shame and anxiety here:

I discussed shame spirals leading to psychoses here:

On Falling in Love with God here:

On self-forgetfulness here:

Here’s another quote from “The Art of Seduction”. When we get lost in the present moment we fall in love. God is in the present moment. In the present moment the bride falls in love with the bridegroom.

When the mind focuses on one thing it relaxes, all the little paranoid that we are prone to vanish from the surface. Remember: it all starts with you. Be undistracted, present in the moment, and the target will follow suit. The intense gaze of the hypnotist creates a similar reaction in the patient. Once the targets overactive mind starts to slow down, their senses will come to life…The French libertines of the eighteenth century called this “the moment”. The seducer leads the target to a point where he or she reveals involuntary signs of physical excitation that can be read in various symptoms. Once the signs are detected, the seducer must work quickly, applying pressure on the target to get lost in the moment - the past, the future vanishing in air. Once your target loses themselves in the moment, it’s all over - their mind, their conscience no longer holds them.

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Rumi says it perfectly in this video:

Here’s another quote from “The Art Of Seduction”

Once people are aware of your presence, and perhaps vaguely intrigued, you need to stir their interest before it settles on someone else. What is obvious and striking may attract their attention at first, but that attention is often short lived; in the long run, ambiguity is much more potent. Most of us are much too obvious - instead, be hard to figure out. Send mixed signals: both tough and tender, both spiritual and earthly, both innocent and cunning. A mix of qualities suggests depth, which fascinates even as it confuses. An elusive, enigmatic aura will make people want to know more, drawing them into your circle. Create such a power by hinting at something contradictory within you.

To capture and hold attention you need to show attributes that go against your physical appearance, creating depth and mystery. If you have sweet face and an innocent air, let out hints of something dark…The strategy, though, is only powerful when the under quality is merely hinted at; if the mix is to obvious or striking it will seem bizarre or even threatening.

I wrote a poem that speaks of paradox and mystery:

Duality

Morning clashes with the night
Creating a mystery with delight
Duality fuses and holds together
As opposites balance I feel better
Paradox and wonder lift me high
Love is sprinkled throughout the sky
Beauty now flows through my dark soul
With the warmth of Your Spirit I now glow

Christ (Ultimate Reality) is the very template of total paradox: human yet Divine, heavenly yet earthly, physical yet spiritual, powerless yet powerful, victim yet victor. Indeed, we admire him for his glory, but even more because his glory is mingled with humility; we admire him for his transcendence, but even more because his transcendence is accompanied by condescension; we admire him for his uncompromising justice, but even more because it is tempered with mercy; we admire him for his majesty, but even more because it is a majesty in meekness; we admire him because of his equality with God, but even more because as God’s equal he nevertheless has a deep reverence for God. We were meant to stand in awe of such Paradox. The purest and most exalted image of Christ is the fused together of opposites. This is the highest expression of the Beautiful. It is a splendor arising out of unity in diversity. The greater the diversity the more profound the unity and the more extraordinary the Beauty.

To Read more see: Jonathan Edwards: The Excellencies Of Christ

A.A. Paradoxes

God teaches by means of opposites so that we will have two wings to fly - not one. - Rumi

•from weakness (adversity) comes strength
•we forgive to be forgiven
•we give it away to keep it
•we suffer to get well
•we surrender to win
•we die to live
•from darkness comes light
•from dependence we found independence.

Another quote from “The Art of Seduction”

Everyone has doubts and insecurities about their body, their self worth, their sexuality. If your seduction appeals exclusively to the physical, you will stir up these doubts and make your targets self-conscious. Instead, lure them out of their insecurities by making them focus on something sublime and spiritual: a religious experience, a lofty work of art, the occult. Play up your divine qualities; affect an air of discontent with worldly things; speak of the stars, destiny, the hidden threads that unite you and the object of the seduction. Lost in a spiritual mist, the target will feel light and uninhibited. Deepen the effect of your seduction by making its sexual culmination seem like the spiritual union of two souls.

Religion is the most seductive system that mankind has created. Death is our greatest fear, and religion offers us the illusion that we are immortal, that something about us will live on. The idea that we are the infinitesimal part of a vast and indifferent universe is terrifying; religion humanizes this universe, makes us feel important and loved…Anything that feeds a desire or wished for illusion is seductive, and nothing can match religion in this arena.

In death to self you come into union with Christ. Ego is crucified and deflated. Christ chooses those who the world despises. He chooses the sick, the weak. The ones who need Him. Those who are broken. He came for the sick. Those who admit their need for Him. The powerless. The outsiders.

It Must Be Fate

I know that our union is surely fate
Predestined to be Your soul mate
For I am complete in union with You
A love so pure and a love so true
Forever in this holy love Divine
Your heart beats lovely with mine
Bringing me joy from love’s holy fire
You satisfy my heart’s longing desire

What you want is to make them lose themselves in the moment, experiencing the timeless depth of your feelings in the present tense. Religious ecstasy is about intensity ~~ Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction.

Death To Self

Honey warms the fires of passion
Of the throbbing of my heart
Your heart pumps beauty apart
Of a flaming blaze in like fashion

Your gentleness warms my skin
As I pant for your loving embrace
Soul to soul and face to face
As I open myself up You enter in

Ego is crucified; painfully deflated
An empty vessel I now let go
Wind of the spirit gently blow
Death to self I am annihilated

Penetrating through the spirit’s core
Love is infused deeply and melting
Entering the wounds and helping
An ecstatic union forever more

In union with Christ on the cross (we are crucified with Christ as we die to self and resurrected to new life) God’s love arrow pierces the heart creating the need or desire for Himself. He fills the emptiness with Himself. He’s the answer to our problems. From “The Art of seduction” by Robert Greene:

Create a need - stir anxiety and discontent:

A perfectly satisfied person cannot be seduced. Tension and disharmony must be instilled in your targets minds. Stir within them feelings of discontent, an unhappiness with their circumstances and with themselves: their life lacks adventure, they have strayed from the ideals of their youth, they have become boring. The feelings of inadequacy that you create will give you space to insinuate yourself, to make them see you as the answer to their problems. Pain and anxiety are the proper precursors to pleasure. Learn to manufacture a need that you can fill.

God fills the void with Himself causing us to fall in love with Himself. We surrender and abandon ourselves to Him in total Trust. To go into more detail I’ve written about this here:

Inside A New World

Kisses drip from the fingertips
In God’s warm heart of mystery
Circles of love dance in ships
Sailing the oceans through history

Worlds collide bringing joy & rain
A mixed blessing of high ecstasy
No more sorrow of blackened pain
Just a paradox of what is to be

Forever with you in a love so true
A new place of bright glistening
With a sky that is blue to be with you
We sing a tune with stars listening

In love forever we’ve reached our goal
Wonder has taken ahold of both of us
United in spirit as soft beauty unfolds
We dance the ring of love’s binding trust

From the book “Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem Making”:

Poem making helps put your attention in the present moment. Line by Line, breath by breath, moment by moment, you allow creative rhythms, sounds, feelings and insights to come. You learn to distinguish between fresh insight and an old conclusion when considering an answer to a problem you face. The openness to the moment which poem-making encourages can help you discover answers you had no idea were there. ~~ pages 261-262

Another good book is called "The Power of Divine Eros. Here’s a review:

Most spiritual teachings take the position that desire, wanting, and passion are opposed to the spiritual path. The concern is that engaging in desire will take you more into the world, into the mundane, into the physical, and into egoic life. And for most people, that is exactly what happens. We naturally tend to experience wanting in a self-centered way. In their book The Power of Divine Eros, Johnson and Almaas explore how to be passionate and to feel a strong wanting without that desire being in conflict with selfless love. They also show how relationships with others are an important part of the human journey — an opportunity to express oneself authentically and be present with someone else. Through understanding the energy of eros, each of us can learn to be fully real and alive in all our interactions.

What is meant by ‘divine eros’? According to the book, “Divine eros refers to a particular quality, a particular energy, a particular way of experiencing the nature of our consciousness. At the same time, it is a way of experiencing, feeling, and knowing our consciousness that becomes significant for being open to the depth of our nature. (…) So if we want to be ourselves completely—to know our nature at its depth and be fully in the world—this requires being alive and being in touch with that energy. And that brings the erotic into love. In other words, to be able to experience divine eros, we need the purity of love, the ground of lovingness and goodness, the experience of the presence of love, plus this scintillating, erupting, explosive quality that has an energy to it. Such energetic dynamic love can be very, very fine—like very gentle bubbles or a gentle vibration—or it can be explosive. This love has an erotic quality to it, and we can feel it draw us toward the divine, toward the truth, toward our inner nature. We can have the experience of desiring to penetrate the mystery, to know the spirit. A deep understanding of reality can follow from such a realization of desire. We can see that dualism arises when we are separated from our nature, for it is then that we experience the desire to fill ourselves. We believe there is something external that we need to have, and we deeply believe that we don’t have that something. However, with the energy of desire, when we feel it as the blissful wanting of another—but with a sense a sufficiency, not from lack—we don’t feel the same kind of otherness we do when we have a dualistic perspective. We feel that the other is arising from same ground as we are. There is a sharing of a blissful communion, and that communion is a recognition that both of you are one reality.”

Through guided exercises, the authors invite you to connect to the pure energy behind their desire. When we allow ourselves to fully experience our wanting, and we trust that the wanting itself has the intelligence to reveal the pure energy of desire that underlies it, we get a taste of what it’s like to feel love and desire as a unified force. Being in the world in a way that does not separate us from spirit, while also feeling the pleasure of our energy, our erotic nature, our aliveness and love, makes life complete. We want to experience our humanness, but we don’t want to divide ourselves to do it. We want to know more about both the spiritual and the worldly reality and how the two interrelate, because they are naturally a part of what it means to be human.

In the words of Johnson and Almaas: “Any spiritual work involves the element of love, whether explicitly or implicitly. What we want to explore is how the energy and quality of love explicitly open the door to reality and to our deeper nature. The portal is there for every human being to open; each of us can be fully real and alive in all our interactions. And the erotic, as it is felt and experienced in the body, is a part of that openness, whether it becomes sexual or not. For many reasons, eros has become separated from the pure and the holy, and as a result, it is usually relegated to the domain of the gross and unrefined. But eros is the energy of the divine. As such, it is always divine and pure.”

Here’s the link to the book:

Alvin Plantinga recognizes this and captures this experience in Warranted Christian Belief. It’s Divine Eros (desire, wanting). It can be found in sex but isn’t limited to sex. It’s a passionate longing. A desire for closeness and intimacy with God without sex. It’s an ecstasy of wonder found in hope and compassion. It’s like the love a mother has for her baby.

It is a longing filled with desire and yearning…It is erotic, and one of the closest analogues would be with sexual eros. There is a powerful desire for union with God, the oneness Christ refers to in John 17. Another perhaps equally close analogue would be love between parent and small child; and this kind of love too is often employed in scripture as a figure for love of God - both God’s love for us and our love for Him. Here too there is longing, yearning, desire for closeness ~~ Alvin Plantinga

In the AA world services book (conference approved) “Pass it On” the psychologist Dr. Carl Jung wrote Bill Wilson (before his ecstatic spiritual experience), stating that the highest religious experience could be described as “the union with God.” Jung quoted psalm 42:1: "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Pass It On, pp. 384-385

Here’s Dr. Jung’s letter

http://barefootsworld.org/jungletter.html

From the Orthodox Church in America:

The Greatest Virtue is Love

God is Love

oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox- … od-is-love

The second definition of love as eros is love for the sake of union with the other. Erotic love is no sin when it is free from sinful passions. It can be the utterly pure desire for communion with the other, including God. All spiritual writers have insisted that such love should exist between God and man as the pattern for all erotic love in the world between husband and wife (See Sexuality, Marriage, and Family). Thus the mystical writers and spiritual fathers have used the Old Testament’s Song of Songs as the poetic image of God’s love for man and man’s love for God (Philo the Jew, Gregory of Nyssa, Bernard of Clairvaux, John of the Cross, Richard Rolle in England, et al.). Indeed the prophets have used the image of erotic love in explaining the Lord’s relation with Israel (Is 54; Jer 2–3,31; Ezek 16; Hos). And Saint Paul uses this image for Christ’s love of the Church (Eph 6). In the scriptures, the union of man with the Lord in the Kingdom of God is primarily revealed in the image of eros (Mt 22, Rev 19–22).

Holy eros is a passionately wanting God. It came to refer to physical sex and can be found there but it’s not limited there. It’s also found in hope and compassion. From the Greek Orthodox Church:

The psyche of man, who is created in the image and likeness of God, yearns for God and desires union with Him. No matter how moral, how good man may be, no matter how many good deeds he may perform, if he does not find God, if he does not unite with Him, he finds no rest. Because holy God Himself placed within him this holy thirst, the divine eros, the desire for union with Him, for deification (gr. theosis). He has in himself the erotic power, which he receives from his Creator, in order to love truly, strongly, selflessly, just as his holy Creator falls in love with His world, with His creatures. This is so that with this holy erotic impetus and loving power, he falls in love with God. If man did not have the image of God in himself, he would not be able to seek its prototype. Each of us is an image of God, and God is our prototype. The image seeks the prototype, and only when it finds it does it find rest.

Link

greekorthodoxchurch.org/theosis_how.html

Moreover falling in love has a sense of fate and destiny. This is more so with God who satisfies the longing of our souls. We were meant to be together. We see this in Romans:

For those God foreknew , He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined He also called, those He called He also justified, those He justified He also glorified.…

God fore loves the bride of Christ that is predestined. The word “know” when applied to relationships in the Bible is a deep intimate “knowing” of loving. Here’s an example from Genesis:

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain - KJV

Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” - NIV

Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain - NASB

Kath meditation centers on the belly or breathing in the belly. It’s the grounding center which is related to the energies of the life force or Divine Eros. When the belly centers become more developed as you also become more present to the moment you become more in touch with the raw energies of your life force. You connect the paradox of the divine with the eros (or passionate desires of wanting) maintaining and egoless or selfless love. Wanting, passion, or desire is mixed together with love to develop the Divine Eros. You can explore the paradox and bring them together by going through your life and seeing how you have experienced selfless giving of love and the experience of passionate wanting. Selfishness seeks it’s own private pleasures at the expense of others. Love is different in that it seeks joy in doing good. Love rejoices in the truth and in doing good. When I do good for someone and they say “Thank you” it’s not selfish for me to respond by saying, “It’s my pleasure”. We love doing good. That is, we should want to do good with a passion for God. Our joy is found in God. From the Orthodox church in America:

So it is that love as goodness (agape), love as union (eros), love as friendship (phila) are all to be found in God and man, between God and man, and between human beings. There is no form of true love which lays outside the realm of the spiritual life.

The Greatest Virtue is Love

God is Love

oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/spirituality/the-greatest-virtue-is-love/god-is-love

Not only does the Eastern Orthodox church and Alvin Plantinga teach this but it is the type of love in John Piper’s “Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.” The love is an admixture of agape and eros. Again, Alvin Plantinga recognizes this and captures this experience in Warranted Christian Belief. It’s Divine Eros (desire, wanting). It can be found in sex but isn’t limited to sex. It’s a passionate longing. A desire for closeness and intimacy with God without sex. It’s an ecstasy of wonder found in hope and compassion. It’s like the love a mother has for her baby.

It is a longing filled with desire and yearning…It is erotic, and one of the closest analogues would be with sexual eros. There is a powerful desire for union with God, the oneness Christ refers to in John 17. Another perhaps equally close analogue would be love between parent and small child; and this kind of love too is often employed in scripture as a figure for love of God - both God’s love for us and our love for Him. Here too there is longing, yearning, desire for closeness ~~ Alvin Plantinga

From Desiring God, the footnote on page 124:

Historically, ethicists have tended to distinguish these two forms of love as agape and eros, or benevolence and complacency. Not only is their no linguistic basis for such a distinction, but conceptually both resolve into one kind of love at the root.

God’s agape does not transcend His eros, but expresses it. God’s redeeming, sacrificial love for His sinful people is described in Hosea in erotic terms…God’s eros longs for and delights in the eternal and holy joy of His people.

Experience the Lifelong Pleasures of Knowing God!

Satisfaction…Happiness…Joy. According to John Piper, the pursuit of pleasure in God is not only permissible, it’s essential .

Desiring God is a paradigm-shattering work that dramatically alters common perspectives on relating to God. Piper reveals that there really is no need to choose between duty and delight in the Christian life. In fact, for the follower of Jesus, delight is the duty as Christ is most magnified in His people when they are most satisfied in Him.

Constantly drawing on Scripture to build his case, Piper shows why pursuing maximum joy is essential to glorifying God. He discusses the implications of this for conversion, worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering.

Piper beckons us to approach God with the hedonist’s abandon. Finally, we are freed to enjoy Jesus—not only as our Lord and Savior, but also as our all-surpassing, soul-satisfying Treasure.

Desiring God may turn your Christian world upside down. And that will be a good thing, for the glory of God, and for your deepest joy.

Two excellent quotes from Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen that speak this truth:

Don’t just love Him. Be in love with Him ~~ Joyce Meyer