Saturday, June 14, 2008


A clip from one of the first great postmodern auteurs Richard Linklater - Before Sunrise.

Jesse: "Well, I kind of see love as, uh, this escape for two people who don't know how to be alone, you know? Or, I mean, you know, it's funny. People always talk about how love is totally unselfish, giving thing, but if you think about it, there's nothing more selfish."

Indeed. What can be more self-reflexive than falling in love? Is there some truth to those theories in psychology that say we are attracted to people whose qualities we admire? That is, qualities we value in ourselves. Subconsciously we fall in love with people who mirror us. If not, we are attracted to people who are our exact opposite - in which case we chose them because they complement us. They have something we covet, something we wish to have by simple proximity. Who was it who said that there is an instantaneous kindling of 'interest' in someone whom we know is attracted to us? We grow attracted because the notion that someone finds us desirable makes us feel good - a valuation of self .

Even the kind of love that is not romantic - the attachment we feel for friends and family for example, are susceptible to marketisation. How many parents see their children as embodiment of their lives' investments? Don't our parents expect a 'return' from us once they retire and once we finally join the labour force? Increasingly as we grow older, don't we see friends and acquaintances as potential networks with which we may advance ourselves in some way? Are we today constantly making rational calculations as we relate to other people?

I would like to go back to my youth. When my parents were sources of unconditional love, when friends were snot-nosed playmates interested only in a loud and rambunctious game of patintero and when romantic love was, well, felt more in the gut rather than the head. I can only think of one example of an irrational, totally innocent kind of love these days - that of and for my dog.

See also:
Of Postmodern Sex

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