We find a certain happiness in the self-forgetfulness of sex, and so we use it as a means to achieve what we desire. Happiness through something must invariably beget conflict, for then the means is vastly more significant and important than happiness itself. If I get happiness through the beauty of that chair, then the chair becomes all-important to me and I must guard it against others. In this struggle, the happiness which I once felt in the beauty of the chair is utterly forgotten, lost, and I am left with the chair. In itself, the chair has little value; but I have given it an extraordinary value, for it is the means of my happiness. So the means becomes a substitute for happiness.
When the means of my happiness is a living person, then the conflict and confusion, the antagonism and pain are far greater. If relationship is based on mere usage, is there any relationship, except the most superficial, between the user and the used? If I use you for my happiness, am I really related to you? Relationship implies communion with another on different levels; and is there communion with another when he is only a tool, a means of my happiness? In thus using another, am I not really seeking self-isolation, in which I think I shall be happy? This self-isolation I call relationship; but actually there is no communion in this process. Communion can exist only where there is no fear; and there is gnawing fear and pain where there is usage and so dependence. As nothing can live in isolation, the attempts of the mind to isolate itself lead to its own frustration and misery. To escape from this sense of incompleteness, we seek completeness in ideals, in people, in things; and so we are back again where we started, in the search for substitutes.
Commentaries on Living Series I
Chapter 41 `Awareness'