But what I want to point back to is the Axis Mundi which, to my mind, is the crux (pun, Latin crux = "cross") of the matter. The tree of Life and (its shadow) The Tree of Knowledge "of good and evil" that stood in the midst of the garden and from whom Eve took that beguiling apple from the Serpent (Phallic, of time, Chronos > chronology [thus history, 'his+story']), offering it to the body of the man from whom she had been taken as he slept, is none other than this Axis Mundi.
Lets see if I can even begin to pull this somewhat together. The erect penis is a biological representation of this very Axis Mundi. This is much more clear in some Hindu representations:
Lord Shiva lingam:
According to the Hindu mythology:
‘During the great mythical churning of the ocean called Samudra Manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. The gods and the demons were terrified as it could destroy the entire world. When they ran to Shiva for help, he in order to protect the world, drank the deadly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it….
The phallus symbol representing Shiva is called the lingam. It is usually made of granite, soapstone, quartz, marble or metal, and has a ‘yoni’ or vagina as its base representing the union of organs.
From here on it may help if I refrain from referring to "sex" (separation) and refer, rather, to the act of union, reuniting, "becoming one with" -- which is, in fact, what the activity we call "sex" actually is
. The search for our "lost half" (which is as much psychological metaphor as romantic) is the desire for "reunion," of becoming "one with" and thus made whole. This is the worship of Eros spoken of before.
You've brought up "love" as being the focal point rather than sex and you're right to do so. What I'm trying to point toward is that the problem underlying Western civilization's attitude toward *union* isn't simply a semantic issue. True, the words we choose to explain ourselves to ourselves and one another, do matter. However it is also true that our languages evolve out of concepts and *perceptions* that have, in some instances, *ancient* historical precedent.
Using some mixture of quasi-religious terminologies, human history is a 'fall' into separation (loss of wholeness) and one of the *symptoms* of this loss of integrity shows up in, for example, "shame and guilt" (Adam and Eve hid their nakedness, something they didn't know they were, nor cared, prior to their little revolution of the mind).
*Union* is a very powerful psychological force, *especially* if it is denied, subverted, and one might as well say "perverted" into a total lack of understanding of what *union* is and possibly can be
. So perverted, *union* is denied and replaced with substitutes which is what "sex" (Western, diminutive, the act of physical gratification for its own sake) is. Denied our wholeness we seek solace in, well, most anything "civilization" (especially commercialized civilization) tosses in our path. We want the beefiest hottest, shiniest, meanest, bad ass hot mother fucker we can find to fill that big black void of emptiness we all experience (more or less) since we all became houses divided against ourselves.
Put differently, there is no "shame and guilt" in *union* properly understood. *Union* won't sell Cigarettes and Chryslers or anything else. *Union* is the 'eternal love' you're speaking about realized within one's self and one's relation to the whole matrix (there's that 'x' again… late 14c., "uterus, womb," from Old French matrice "womb, uterus," from Latin matrix (genitive matricis) "pregnant animal," in Late Latin "womb," also "source, origin," from mater (genitive matris) "mother" (see mother (n.1)). Sense of "place or medium where something is developed"
), which is none other than that proverbial garden within which the Axis Mundi stands, casting its shadow into history and time, the very "dark ages of human understanding" you speak of.
We're a long, long way from home and, although you're quite right so far as it goes, re-uniting the fragments of the human soul into a state of grace is going to require a bit more than mere semantic substitutions. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just saying.