The Pharmacy of Desire

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An American success story: A college graduate gets a good job and marries. The couple drives a beautiful car, a consolation for their terrible commute. Work pays well but requires callous decisions. Expensive vacations and a lovely home recompense for the sacrifice not only of time, but also of ideals. Contentment, however, remains elusive; an underlying anger burns. The additional cocktail flames the anger into vindicating rage. Marriage lapses into emptiness; children become strangers; affairs end unpleasantly.

This is a pattern of addiction, but addiction to what? Each candidate seems as much a symptom as a cause: wealth, possessions, pleasure, rage, alcohol.

According to Augustine, “our hearts are restless until they rest in thee, O Lord.” In the Christian tradition, the soul is eros: a desire for luminous and uncreated Good. What marks this desire are interior peace (apatheia) and unconditional love (agape). The deeper into divine union one sinks, the more one is able to feel love, compassion, and joy. Read More