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In Praise of Love ~ Alain Badiou (2012)

Badiou remarks:

I think many people still cling to a romantic conception of love that in a way absorbs love in the encounter. Love is simultaneously ignited, consummated and consumed in the meeting in a magical moment outside the world as it really is. Something happens that is in the nature of a miracle, an existential intensity, an encounter leading to meltdown. (23)

When I lean on the shoulder of the woman I love, and can see, let’s say, the peace of twilight over a mountain landscape, gold-green fields, the shadow of trees, black-nosed sheep motionless behind hedges and the sun about to disappear behind craggy peaks, and know – not from the expression on her face, but from within the world as it is – that the woman I love is seeing the same world, and that this convergence is part of the world and that love constitutes precisely, at that very moment, the paradox of an identical difference, then love exists, and promises to continue to exist. The fact is she and I are now incorporated into this unique Subject, the Subject of love that views the panorama of the world through the prism of our difference, so this world can be conceived, be born, and not simply represent what fills my own individual gaze. Love is always the possibility of being present at the birth of the world. The birth of a child, if born from within love, is yet another example of this possibility. (26)

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Refracted Input

In Praise Of LoveIn Praise Of Love by Alain Badiou

My rating: ***

Badiou, Alain with Truong, Nicolas (2012) In Praise Of Love. Trans. Peter Bush, London: Serpent’s Tail

I approached this short essay interview about the notion of love (as it is enacted between lovers) with caution. I was not expecting a 75 year old male philosopher to have much to say that would resonate from a female point of view. There was however slightly more on the table than I expected and some of the discussion provided potential food for thought which crossed gender lines.

I was particularly interested by Badiou’s comments criticising the portrayal of love as something that exists in a moment outside of time. This is a view that pervades romantic literature. It is a love that cannot be enacted in the real world or survive through time. It is also reductive, fusing the difference of two…

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