The World of Silence

Love and Silence

   There is more silence than language in love.
Aphrodite, the goddess of love, came out of the sea,
the sea of silence. Aphrodite is also the goddess of the
moon, which catches the silence of night in the net of the
golden threads it lowers to the earth.
   The words of lovers increase the silence. They only
serve to make the silence audible. Only love can increase
the silence by speaking. All other phenomena take some-
thing from silence; only loves gives of its own self to
   Lovers are the conspirators of silence. When a man
speaks to his beloved, she listens more to the silence than
to the spoken words of her lover. "Be silent", she seems
to whisper. "Be silent that I may hear thee!"

   Past, present, future, are in a unity in silence. Lovers
are therefore raised above the relentless continuity of
time. Everything can begin again. The future and the
past are both enclosed in the eternal present. Time stands
still for lovers. The clairvoyance and premonitions of
lovers come from the unity in which past, present, and
future are present in love.
   Nothing interrupts the normal flow of ordinary life so
much as love. Nothing takes the world back into silence
more than love. 
   Through the silence that is in love, language is taken out of
the world of verbal noise and bustle and led back to its origin
in silence. Lovers are close to the beginning of all things,
when language was still uncreated, when language could
emerge at any moment from the creative fullness of silence.
   Not only language but lovers themselves are redeemed
by love from the world "of derived phenomena" (Goethe),
and led to the primary underived phenomena. Love itself
is a primary phenomenon and that is why lovers are
solitary among other men. For they live in a world of
primary phenomena, in a world where the static is more
important than the dynamic, the symbol more important
than the explanation, silence more important than speech.
   The reticence that is in love is the reticence that is in
all beginnings. Lovers hesitate to move away into the 
noisy bustle of the world from the world of beginnings in
which they dwell in love.
   All the transformation that a man or a woman can under-
go in the experience of love comes from the new beginning
that is the gift of all primary, underived phenomena. And
the strength they receive from love comes from the power
that love enjoys as one of the primary phenomena.

   The faces of lovers shine with the radiance of the original
light of love. That is why faces become more beautiful
in love.
   All the mystery of lovers comes from the nearness of
the mysterious origins of love. The closer they live to
this original mystery the firmer and the more enduring
will be their love.
   Lovers are restless, it is true. But it is the restlessness
of the mystery of love shrinking back from appearing in
reality, trembling as it hovers on the brink of the external
   Yet it yearns for self-realization, and no other primary
phenomenon ventures out so far into the world of the
external as love. In no other outward reality is a primary
phenomenon so clearly visible as in the outward reality
of love. Nowhere else are the original mystery and the
outward reality so near to each other as in love.

   We have said there is more silence than language in
love. The fullness of silence that is in love reaches to the
silence that is in death: love and death belong together.
Every thought and every deed in love reaches out through
silence to death. But the miracle of love is that where
death might be, the beloved appears.

   In love there is more silence than speech.

          It is incomparably easier to love when one is silent than
          when one speaks. The seeking after words is harmful to
          the motions of the heart in love. If in life one loses nothing
          but love the loss is great, if one knows the true value of
          love. (Hamon, quoted in Brémond, Mysticism and Poetry)

   It is easier to love when silent. It is easier because in
the silence love can reach out into the remotest corners of
space. But there is also a danger in this silence: this space
ranging out into the remotest corners is unrestrained and
uncontrolled; there is room in it for everything, even for
the things that do not belong to love.
   It is language that first makes love clear and well-
defined, that gives it only what belongs to it. It is lan-
guage that first makes love concrete and sets it firmly on
the solid ground of truth. Only through language can
love become the true love of man and woman.

          Love is a simple spring which has left its flower-surround-
          ed bed of pebbles and which now as stream or river
          changes its nature and appearance with every wave and
          finally pours itself out into an immeasurable ocean, which
          seems to be full of monotony to imperfectly developed
          minds but on the shores of which the great souls become
          absorbed in infinite contemplation. (Balzac)