in praise of love

alain badiou, in praise of love

In effect I think that liberals and libertarians converge around the idea that love is a futile risk. And that, on the one hand, you can have a kind of well-planned marriage pursued with all the delights of consummation and, on the other, fun sexual arrangements full of pleasure. Seen from this perspective, I really do think that love, in today’s world, is caught in this bind, in this vicious circle and is consequently under threat. I think it is the task of philosophy, as well as other fields, to rally to its defence. And that probably means, as the poet Rimbaud said, that it also needs re-inventing. It cannot be a defensive action simply to maintain the status quo. The world is full of new developments and love must also be something that innovates. Risk and adventure must be re-invented against safety and comfort.


…love encompasses the experience of the possible transition from the pure randomness of chance to a state that has universal value. Starting out from something that is simply an encounter, a trifle, you learn that you can experience the world on the basis of difference and not only in terms of identity. And you can even be tested and suffer in the process. In today’s world, it is generally thought that individuals only pursue their own self-interest. Love is an antidote to that. Provided it isn’t conceived only as an exchange of mutual favours, or isn’t calculated way in advance as a profitable investment, love really is a unique trust placed in chance. It takes into key areas of the experience of what is difference and, essentially, leads to the idea that you can experience the world from the perspective of difference.

here’s the whole book, in praise of love

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