Crisis of Love

We seem to be facing crises of love. It has come due to the erosion of the otherness of the other. Byug-Chul Han says that erosion of the self has occurred in all spheres along with narcissification of the self. He argues that capitalism has reduced otherness into consumable difference. We have to escape this condition, otherwise, we will land into what Jean Baudrillard calls hell of the same. Byug-Chul warns us that the hell of the same will lead our society on the path of depression. How are we liberating ourselves from this narcissistic captivity? How do we cope with the neoliberal dictum of freedom of unlimited possibilities? Byug-Chul Han says that neoliberal freedom is a freedom of auto-exploitation and a will to achieve where the achieving subject wears out in the short run.

Love is beyond achievements. We can do(s) as well as can’t do(s) cannot be conditions of love. Love is a relationship with the other. Although we try to create proximity to the other, the conversion of otherness into consumable differences leads to the disappearance of the other. This is why love has begun to wound us and incite passions and ends up injuring the lovers. Modern-day lovers prefer good health over ancient freedom and adventure. Wives in several instances have begun to monitor the health of their husbands becoming ever more protective about their pleasure indulgements . They seem to have become joy killers. The same is true of husbands too in some cases. We seem to have changed. We no longer fall in love and risk madness. Thus, love is a relationship of mutual consent in which we are allowed to be the same by seeking confirmation of oneself with the other. It is like Facebook where there is no dislike button. Love, therefore, is not about dying for others. It is about living for others. It is about narcissistic consuming of the otherness tamed as difference.

Modern lover can consume heterotopic otherness but cannot deal with atopic otherness. Atopic otherness is radical alterity. It has a placeless dimension to it. Love stays beyond achievement and performance as well as belongings. Love accepts the bare life of others. Acceptance of the bare life of the other is the best response to the fight commodification of love. The otherness of the beloved does not have to be reduced to the sameness of the lover nor it has to reduce the otherness into consumable difference. To let true love rise, we have to sacrifice the narcissistic self nurtured by neoliberal freedom. The beloved is not another-I and by that logic is not the same as I . Love to Emmanuel is a call to de-subjectification. It is a call where the lover becomes oneself for the other. The otherness of the beloved calls the other to a response of love and care.

We have the challenge to recover real love to fight neoliberalism. Byung-Chul Han says that capitalism under neoliberalism is copulating with its other by rendering the individual into its genital organ. This kind of capitalism does not just exploit our labour, but also our feelings, our play as well as our communication. Big Data has become a machine that converts our intimate information collected from the platforms of the internet into economic resources in a neoliberal economy. While we are busy with projects of shaping ourselves, we self-exploitatively fill the coffers of the capitalist. We, therefore, have become cogs in the wheel of neoliberal capitalism. In order to free ourselves from this end of enslavement, we have to return to true love. Otherwise, nothing may save us from devouring otherness that is framed as consumable difference. Consumables difference is reduced to sameness by assimilation or by annihilation. Love that is tamed by market forces assimilates otherness as a consumable difference while hate eliminates otherness when it is reduced to a consumable difference. Thus, hate politics consumes otherness as the difference while love assimilates difference and renders it into same. We, therefore, need genuine love that will affirm the otherness of the other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao