The Hermeneutics of Eroticism in the Poetry of Rumi
VARIORUM, Duke University Press Vol. 25, No. 3, (2005)
Michel Foucault writes that in societies that made use of ars erotica, secrecy served the purpose of amplifying the truth that is drawn from pleasure and the importance of a master in transmitting it in an esoteric manner. He writes that the need for secrecy in sexuality was “not because of an element of infamy . . . but because of the need to hold it in the greatest reserve, since, according to tradition, it would lose its effectiveness and its virtue by being divulged.” It is no surprise, then, that secretive traditions often find in eroticism an apt metaphor for the expression of their esoteric concepts. In the same vein as ars erotica, secrecy enhances the mystical enterprise and elevates it to the level of esotericism. It is imperative that something of the secret be revealed, because secrecy is not the same as concealment. A secret that is fully concealed might as well not exist. However, a total revelation would make the secret meaningless, just as in eroticism consummation equates with termination, for eroticism is the deferral of consummation. Thus the constitutive element of secrecy and eroticism is the communicative interplay of disclosure and concealment.