A timeless image: Eros & Psykhe, 3rd century AD, Mosaic, From Samandağı, House of the Drinking Contest. (www.theoi.com)
When people say the old religions worshipped Mother Nature as an all-powerful female deity through whom life came about, no one told me what they meant was that she, woman, is a void. Because life starts with the birth of man who is a god named Eros whose creativity was boundless, he represents life. They also say he was born out of chaos: chaos being like a void, is senseless like a woman. If she is zero (0), nothing, Eros's assigned number is one (1), life. The next number logically would then be two (2), representing woman (Strife), not a part but an aspect of life/himself. She is not real but like a dream. In a simplistic, dualist world, it's only logical then that woman must be the opposite of man and therefore she must represent stagnant energy. Stagnant isn't good, for when a person is lifeless, it means just that to me. It's not a pretty image when you think about a woman in complete stillness--unless, of course, you're a misogynist.
Take this theory now and think about it: What if we applied a scientific theory and apply it to human life so "life" (everyone's) will have more meaning? Take the notion that life is always flashing like an atom: here one moment, gone the next, coming and going, alive and dead, ebb and flow, all in the blink of an eye...in other words, matter (which they thought they created by thinking hard) isn't really here all the time as we think we see (so now reality isn't reality--neat little paradigm shift there!). Imagine then, that man is the living state of human life and woman is the void, the absence of human life. That would also connect to how female deity is usually the cruel bringer of death, the grim reaper herself who allows crops to wither and die, starving her children. Such cruelty could only be that of woman--thinks the misogynist.
Enter, Eros. Eros is our guy who stabs our hearts with love at first sight: he is the serpent who's also known to us as a lion, a ram, a bull, Kama of Kama Sutra fame (Sanskrit Discipline of Sex. Do you love disciplined classical perfumes? You ought to get at least as much pleasure out of this) and a fertility deity aka Cupid. Why him? Well, we've perfected everything so far, so why not perfect sex? Surely we could all use more excitement. What can we use to heighten passion by restricting it, to perfect it so that it has more "meaning"? We have observed that everybody likes the jocks. Here's a formula that should work: Desire = love + FEAR. Desire desires his own equal, a rival he can feel threatened by and compete against. The problem here is that Eros is ONLY a MAN, a bottomless pit when it comes to wanting what he wants. With this one myth, men can justify away their so-called promiscuous "nature" among a myriad of sins they "try" to avoid. Love is blind, as they say, so it takes no responsibility which makes desire causeless for the desirer (and the cause rests with the desired--Passion is born and it cries, "it made me--I had no control. I am innocent!").
Eros's dual nature has given him a wife of sorts (but it's more like he made her by willing her into his life in his image) named Psyche, aka Strife. This strife can be interpreted as being part of one person's psyche, to have desire and strife side by side in the game of life and love. But Strife can also represent a woman's life, if her role in this life (if you could call it that) is to serve man, keep house, take on all the blame, then die. Better yet, she may even love him enough to DIE for HIM. The perfect love story can't exist in such a cruel world, but this is just the way things ARE--this is Nature according to men--timeless, permanent ideals man can leave behind when he dies. I guess Nature is proof that true love can't exist, so we should all live for lust now. Lust IS Love, the "action speaks" kind, the only thing that's real, and the classical discipline on how to love like gods has made lust all the MORE REAL (how numb were these men?) for our "pleasure", Pleasure being another name for the "offspring" between lust and pain--yikes! Clearly, one can play the dualist game till we're clinically insane.
Read more about Eros on Wikipedia.
Link here to read more about Eros and Strife.