The sense of merger and transcendence
Lovers may go beyond a sense of joint identity, may feel that they have in fact merged. The impulse to merge is often expressed by the metaphors of bodily incorporation,” “I could eat you up.” “He inhaled her presence,” “She drank him with her eyes.” The lover feels the beloved so much a part of them that they have a fantasy of taking the beloved into themselves. Making love is experienced as a merging of souls, feelings of timelessness and a loss of orientation in space occur.
Sex informed by love results in heightened sexuality. In the act of making love, in pleasing both the lover and the beloved, the lover comes to feel a unique intimacy with the beloved. The lover often feels a sense of merging. The boundaries of the self are temporarily dissolved though paradoxically the self is neither lost not diminished. Rather, the self is affirmed and enriched. Catherine in the novel “Wuthering Heights” speaks of her fondness for her friend Linton versus her passion for her beloved Heathcliff.
Catherine: I cannot express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is, or should be an existence of yours beyond you. What would be the use of creation if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning; my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the Universe would turn into a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton, on the other hand, is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees — my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath — a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff — he’s always, always in my mind — not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself — but as my own being — so, don’t talk of our separation again — it is impracticable.
Catherine Earnshaw (Ch. IX)
Emily Bronte; Wuthering Heights
Catherine is deeply identified with Heathcliff.
John Denver wrote “Annie’s Song.” “Annie’s Song” expresses the lover’s wish to merge with the beloved. Longings to merge with the beloved are often accompanied by longings to merge with nature.
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