Hermeneutics of Love

We love our life and we are trying hard to preserve it against the novel coronavirus. Our life is no stranger to death but when it comes to pandemic death becomes omnipresent and we have to fight for life. This is why we try to police the virus and preserve our life. This preservation of life emerges from our love of life. Therefore, it is important to ponder on the dynamism of love that is so central to us. We know that love is perfomative. It is not exactly in the words but also not free from it entirely. It is life of love that affirms the words that declare love. This means love is less something that one says than something that one does. Being in love is to feel being addressed by the other. The adressivity of love is expressed from both ends of the relationships of love. It means the persons in love feel the other that she/she loves has touched him/her. The other of one’s love has subjected him/her to become a new subject that receives as well as gives love. In some way love deconstructs the subject (the person in love) and puts him/her in a mode of being perpetually addressed by the other that one loves. The call or sense of being addressed by the other that one loves is singular and unique to each person who lives in this suspended but animated relation of love. This means love is in a mode of arrival. It cannot be fully expressed but has to be lived. Love grows / pours out continuously like a spring. This is why some people look at love with the imagery of fire. It burns and there is danger of being burnt. This means love lives on an edge of being broken. It is fragile as well as strong. It can break any time. Just like we can die anytime, so also love can cease to be. It is always in the mode of coming to be. It carries its undoing within it. There is its other within it. Our love is othered love.

When I say ‘I love….’ there is always the sense of being pulled or addressed by the other. Love is an intense imperative of the other. This means performative nature of love is not just in the address of the other but in the response that one offers to that call of the other. The response carries my own manner of loving or being in love. This means there is singularity not only in the address of the love but also singularity in the response of love. There is othereness in all love relations as much as there is uniqueness and hence cannot be thought without making room for this unique and singular otherness. This is why love is othered in a profound sense. It is the way we deal with this otherness that vivifies love that makes love successful. Love cannot be totalized. It cannot be fully present in a logocentric manner. It is always on the verge of arrival. It is always in the mode of coming to be. Love is a pefromative force. Love cannot fully be present as well as represented that is why it needs symbols. Only Gods love can be pure. We need a rose to express love. Our love cannot be fully present in the rose. Love is both present and absent in the rose. This is because love is always on the arrival. Hence, we have a waiting dimension of love. We are waiting for the love to arrive. Once it arrives we are consumed and yet our thirst is not quenched, we are want more. We are always waiting for love that is deferral. There is this unsettling dimension to all love. All this is because love cannot be exhausted. It remains in a limitless overflow that cannot be caught by our words and our symbolic systems. Love in this life can be lived only within this fractured way. Perhaps, it is on the other side of the grave that we will fully love and be loved.

There is a radical side to love. Love as a response to the addressivity of the other / beloved. When one loves or gives love, one simultaneously receives love. The economy of love has a close relation to the economy of gifting. Derrida teaches that to every giving there is a simultaneous taking. This is why loving is not pure giving. There is taking along with loving. This means there is this dynamics of give and take to love. Every gift opens us a new world. Derrida says that gift is another name of the impossible. It is not just that there is no pure gifting. It is also means that the receiver cannot fully grasps the world the gift opens. One cannot totally grasp the world opened by the gift means there is always otherness in the gift. Gifts like love are also othered. Love also opens a new world to the beloved. Now that love is already othered , the other world that is opened to us by love can only be experienced sip by sip. This is why love has to be performative and as such has to continuously affirm itself so that the singular world that it opens can be seen as having room for both the partners in love. The singularity of this world opened by love is a place where lovers live their intimacy. But because of the singular dynamism of each person in love, there is always undoing condition of the interruption of the bond prowling in the sphere of intimacy. This also means that intimacy is both enabled and disabled by otherness that is brought by the singularity of every person in love. Indeed, this singular otherness of every person in love introduces a gap that is being filled but it always grows inviting the lovers to continuously bridge the same. This means what Peter Berger calls heretical imperative marks every bond of love. Love is an inexhaustible project on this side of the grave. This is why most religions look for fuller and perfect love as human after-life.

Leave a Reply

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


If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product.

That's Big Data Analytics.

- Fr Victor Ferrao