The Neurosis of Pothos


 “And many there were hurt by that strong boy,
His name, they said, was Pleasure,…”

Cupid or Eros, the god of love, is as much an instinct as he is a god, a demiurge–the secondary cause of things– as well. And as such he’s more a personification of a faculty of nature than one of a supervisory being. He used to be seen as a sex-mad adolescent, but these days he’s been regressed to the “terrible twos.” in either guise–equally wild–he represents the uncontrollable in us, be it instinct or god.

In spite of the all-encompassing heading, “love,” this faculty of nature is compound and at times contradictory, so it makes sense that at one time Cupid was plural, Eros was divided by the Greeks into three gods–the Erotes–personifying three states of love, roughly: reciprocated (Anteros), unrequited (Himeros) and missing-but-desired (Pothos). Other cultures have split “him” up into manageable parts as well. In the culture I find myself in those subgroups are altruistic, reciprocal and physical.

On to the drawing; what you see is Cupid twice restrained, by both cage and leash. On the surface these are both the similar means of control, but if you look a bit deeper you can notice some differences. The leash is to keep it close enough to sublimate and the cage is to keep it far enough away to safely project. Were it so simple. The metaphor only shows the absurdity of this suspenders-and-belt solution to the neurosis of Pothos, not a cure.

“…Seeking, like a panting hare,
Refuge in the lynx’s lair,
Love, Desire, Hope, and Fear,
Ever will be near.”

–Percy Bysshe Shelley