Love is not that qualify us to be human beings, a loveless man can be still be a man. Man is described as rational animal. Love doesn’t often coincide with rationality. Love escapes us when we try to think! Love thrives on irrationality.
Philosopher Sartre mistrusted Love in order to trust in freedom. In Love, he saw the danger of losing freedom. Sartre’s acumen sense found out the conflict in love: Love is a struggle to enslave another without becoming enslaved yourself. “yet the lover does not simply want to possess but wants to be desired and so wants the beloved to be free.” According to Sartre all our desire to possess the other ends up in masochism. Sartre’s pessimistic view somehow brings home the deceptiveness of love which lovers confuse as love. This poem illustrates what sartre would tell about love:
“The securing of your love has rendered me fatherless
the gift of your love has made me bastard
the testimony of your love has impoverished me
the song of your love has made me voiceless
I shall think no more
I am no more
you have loved me to oblivion.”
It is what goes on in some people’s love. They rob each others identity and authenticity and make them a pale shadow of their own self. The language of their love is a degradation. The real love destroys the inherent masochism of self-satisfaction and self loathing. The genuine love doesn’t kill what one loves but it ruins one who dares to love.
Now I am going to explore British philosopher Simon Critchley’s understanding of love.
In the first instance, Simon repudiates the definition of love given by Hegel that love is a relationship of dependent between two independent beings. He opposes it because this definition undermines the excessive and transgressive nature of love and reduces it into marital relationship. We can find this excessive and transgressive nature of love in the writings of mystics where the love exceeds the order of knowledge. A sort of ‘beyondness’fills up their hearts and breaks down all the languages and reduces them into a murmur of ecstasy. Ann Carson expresses this secret of the mystical union: “so love is an act of absolute spiritual daring that eviscerates the old self in order that something new can come into being.” It means that we should undergo a process where we are impoverished in order that our self may have had larger space to contain love. Simon Quotes Ann Carson:”love dares the self to leave itself behind, to enter into a kind of poverty, to engage with its own annihilation.”
To prove this point Simon falls back to one of the legends of psychoanalysis, Lacan who said that “to love is to give one does not have to someone who does not want it.” Love cancels all our expectations and places us under a blazing sun which melts our egoistic wax wings so that we may be transported away by a wind that comes from nowhere. Oscar Wilde pinpointed this fact when he defined love as the capacity to receive that over which one has no power.” In love it is not we who orchestrate our ways but a powerful summoning of life.
Love is not possible without daring and risk. We must be daring to lose what we have so that we may get what we don’t have. We must take risk to jump without safety nets because “the act of love is an act of absolute spiritual daring and risk that opens itself to a transgressive dimension of subjectivity.” In love two does not become one but one becomes two with the other “when I pledge myself in an act of love” an event takes me over and I reinvent myself.
We are not born with all the mysteries of love. Love is something we learn every day. That’s why we fall when we try to love. But fall in love does not mean to love. In this sense love is not a fall but an “act of committing oneself, pledging oneself, in an act of daring, in an act of becoming something more.” In this act one cannot demand more love which lovers often do, rather they should allow themselves to be more in love.
Woody Allen said “Love is like a shark, if it doesn’t move it will die.” This move itself is a transgression, Love moves to where it has not been. When it move to an un-marked territory what waits for us is not a comforting scenario but trials and struggles. Love places upon us an infinite demand for which we are not capable. so we go in pieces. Then “the only love that is worthy of the name is a love that does not know itself.”
We cannot love without our vulnerabilities, love feeds upon weaknesses. It is not a healthy man that ran fast in love but sick. When in love the we jump higher with our wounded leg. It’s a kind of going beyond or overstepping oneself. Thats’s why “love does’t produce a subjective effect of well-being or the experience of an oceanic feeling” but a torturing sense of failure “and a painful experience of not being equal to the demand that love makes.” Love is an invitation to failure and nothing is beautiful as that failure. Because in this failure we are transcending ourselves. So there is no contentment in love because “Contentment is a self obsessional structure into which one slips back, and love is a counter move to that.”
When we speak about love we speak about possessiveness. There is no equal possessiveness, when one try to possess the other he or she steps back because of our tendency to resist all aggressive taking over. Simon thinks that love is to be possessed but not to possess. Love is an annihilation that you take upon yourself so that you may be remade. Simon puts in another frame work “love is an act of alienation: I alienate myself, from myself, in relationship to the alien that I love.”