This is part 1 of a longer excerpt of the groundbreaking new book A Return to Eros that you can buy here.
To live an erotic life is to know that you are part of a cosmo-erotic universe. We live in a cosmos driven by Eros. Eros is not an aberration but the natural pulse of reality. Our purpose in this chapter is to enter into some depth in describing the cosmo-erotic nature of our universe. This is what theologian and mystic Meister Eckhardt understood when he allegedly wrote, “We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
To get a sense of the Eros of the cosmos, we need to go back to how it all began. Let’s first recap what we have learned so far. The innate design of the cosmos is one of attraction and allurement. The interior face of the cosmos is Eros—the motivational force of evolution itself, participating in the yearning force of being. Written in lowercase, Eros is sex; written as a proper noun, Eros is the cosmic pulse of reality. The sexual models the erotic. Reality is Eros and God is Eros are precisely the same thing. For what is reality if not God, and what is God if not reality?
What evolution teaches us is that reality is not a fact, but a story. A story has a beginning. It has a plotline. The action has direction and is driven by underlying forces. Scientists say that it appears there really was a beginning known as the big bang. The cosmos was birthed through a great flaring forth of light and matter, animated and driven by a force of wild attraction, emerging from a single point that expanded and is still expanding. This is the radical beginning of the most outrageous love story ever told.
The universe is not a fact, but a story. A story means that reality is not static. It is going somewhere. Reality has direction and purpose. But it is not an ordinary story; it is a love story. And it is not an ordinary love story; it is an outrageous love story. Outrageous love, as we have seen, is but another descriptor of Eros. Based on our deepest scientific and mystical understanding of reality, it is entirely accurate to say that the purpose of existence is fulfilled through ever-deeper manifestations of outrageous love. Outrageous love, or Eros, is the force that drives what scientists have taken to calling the self-organizing universe.
Cosmologists at the Santa Fe Institute like to call this self-organizing property, which moves reality to ever-higher levels of order and love, the fifth force of the universe. Besides the electromagnetic, the nuclear, the strong, and the weak, there is a fifth force that drives the whole story. This fifth force is an inherent, ceaseless, creative force of attraction, Eros by any other name. The gravitational and nuclear events that shape and mold the universe come from the power of allurement. Everywhere we look, we see examples of this urge to merge and emerge, from the vast galaxies to the smallest particles, across the animal kingdom and into humankind. Eros is the most powerful force in the cosmos, binding us and everything else together. It is both the currency of connection between human beings and the essential force that drives the evolutionary process as a whole.