THE PRINCE WHO DIED OF LOVE

‘Lovers’ [1909] Egon Schiele

Passion cannot be understood by someone who does not experience it.”
- Dante

One should withdraw from love when passion has died. Passion motivates attraction, the approach, the rapport — without it there is no complicity. In general, passionate relationships are rare because so much emotion in a person’s life is disturbing. This must be why we find so many couples clinging to habit and calm.

Passion does not only refer to the romantic plane, but to the rest of the activities of human endeavour: the passion for art, for food, for birds, for work …

This reminds me of the belief that whoever is frustrated in love seeks its compensation in work.

Freud’s theory on Leonardo Da Vinci should not be forgotten. He said that due to the fact that Da Vinci did not give free rein to his sexuality, an energy was accumulated in him that he used in his artistic and scientific creations. I believe, however, that one performs better at work when emotionally satisfied.

Man depends on his state of mind. Solitude can be a friend in many moments but one needs human company, dialogue, surrender, to receive caresses and to give them. When this aspect of life is satisfied, the mood improves because there are new desires, the desire to produce.

The prince who died of love refers to the life of the brother of Doña Juana La Loca, the prince don Juan who married Archduchess Margarita. It happened in a conservative era. The duchess took a year to meet her betrothed, because the ship was delayed, and when she arrived they were given the order — by the prince’s mother — not to touch each other, even with their hands when they met.

So effective was this prohibition that once married they joined together with such eagerness and insistence that the prince’s doctors saw his health endangered. They advised him that the only remedy was temporary separation. Don Juan’s mother disagreed, claiming “Men should not separate what God has united.” Consumed in the physical excesses of love, the prince died within a few months. Of course, this was not the cause of death as instinct is exhausted by his own satiety before it can cause harm.

This event marked his father, Don Fernando. Before any marriage he would advise temperance, so as not to die like his son.

One should withdraw from love when passion has died — but also withdraw when passion leads to death: because there are passions that kill.

All this explains why passions do not last long: because they lead to extremes.

Psychiatrist & Writer — Writing and meditating at the intersection of psychiatry, philosophy, Buddhism and the arts. More information at www.lidaprypchan.com