John Donne’s The Ecstasy
The Ecstasy raises the question of a transpersonal dimension contingent in our interactions with one another. As the poet says,
This ecstasy doth unperplex,
We said, and tell us what we love
We see by this it was not sex;
We see we saw not what did move
while a spectator in the poem watches the souls of its ecstatic lovers “negotiate” without being able to determine “which soul spake.”
The ecstasy is a break, it is an ex-stasis, an uprooting; it breaks the eternal return of the fantasm; it breaks our karma, you might say, as the ecstasy subverts the I on which the fantasm rests. It is a break (from the past) that carries the promise of the future, of rewriting ourselves/our bodies in that the ecstasy “doth unperplex,” leaving us in the nakedness of unconcealment as we are thrown elsewhere, falling into being, into a future point in time.
The insights from “The Ecstasy” cannot be neglected: it points toward a transpersonal dimension at work in intersubjective relations; a dimension of which we can have no knowledge except through subjective experience.