Owen Barfield writes (in an introduction of its own literary merit) that Vladimir Solovyov's approach to the meaning of sexual love is 'quietly scientific,' opening with 'a biological survey, which irresistibly refutes the age-old presumption. that the teleology of sexual attraction is the preservation of the species by multiplication.' Solovyov spends a chapter covering this simple and fascinating argument, using repeated instances in the genealogy of Christ as example of procreation without love. Shortly thereafter he (generally) defines the meaning of human love as 'the justification and salvation of individuality through the sacrifice of egoism' and (specifically) sets about explaining the meaning of sexual love within this larger paradigm. Hammering his thesis out, Solovyov explains why sexual love is so often feebly realized and shows in what way its full realization is possible. He writes directly and deeply to the point: 'The task of love consists in justifying in deed that meaning of love which at first is given only in feeling.' Yet Solovyov makes it clear that if the 'external union' of sexual love is set as the end in itself, it becomes an aberration. The salvation of the individual through unconditional completion in another is part of a larger work, namely, the mystical transfiguration of the world. 118 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
"Solovyov's book, I would dare say, IS the philosophy of love. Solovyov's arguments are engaging, to say the least: engaging the intellect, but also the depths of the reader's being. You can't say that about many books. The highest praise I can offer is that The Meaning of Love is the only modern book I know of that is worthy of its subject in every respect."-David Fiedler, Gnosis Magazine "The meaning and worth of love as a feeling is that it really forces us, with all our being, to acknowledge for another the same absolute significance that, because of the power of egoism, we are conscious of only in our own selves. Love is important, not only as one of our feelings but as the transfer of all our interest in life from ourselves to another, as the shifting of the very center of our lives...." "The meaning of human love, speaking generally, is the justification and salvation of individuality through the sacrifice of egoism. On this general basis we can also ... explain the meaning of sexual love" (Vladimir Solovyov) What is the meaning of love's intense emotion? Solovyov points to the spark of divinity that we see in another human being and shows how this "living ideal of Divine love, antecedent to our love, contains in itself the secret of the idealization of our love." According to Solovyov, love between men and women has a key role to play in the mystical transfiguration of the world. Love, which allows one person to find unconditional completion in another, becomes an evolutionary strategy for overcoming cosmic disintegration.