It is clear to me, as Laura Kipnis clarified in Against L-ve, that l-ve serves to fill the space left by the death of God – it is something that still gives our lives meaning and purpose and fills us with hope and joy and excitement and aliveness. It (“love”) is, probably, a conceptual distinction created to mark out and map the territory of the raw phenomenological experience created within and by our bodies and minds when a cocktail of neurotransmitters – serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine – surges through our veins due to our having locked-in neuropsychologically on a fertile partner who we’re pre-programmed to pay special attention to and care for the safety and well-being of in an intense-enough way so that we can ensure the survival of the species through being together long enough to pay attention to and raise the offspring of our inevitable sexual union. But it has a historical valence – it has changed through time, based upon the vicissitudes of culture and person and place. Agape is not the same as Romeo and Juliet.
So I’m drawing attention to that: how l-ve dominates our discourse, our conceptual field, our existential sphere, as it were. Implicitly, I’m cutting it up, ripping it apart, doing battle with the idea that so threatened my safety and existence so many years ago. Here’s what “l-ve” does to one: it splits one apart, makes one two at the same time as it fully “en-ones” someone (compare Badiou’s idea of it in In Praise Of Love).
But yet, on another level, it does touch, move, inspire me. It does capture and lead my imagination and emotions. It is what I want, in my heart of hearts. To cuddle Mack’s Girl or come inside her or send her l-vesick text-messages the week after I break up with her…because I need to fight to have integrity with my agreements to live-into Narcissus, Neo, and Casanova…to snuggle J because the promise of unconditionally l-ving someone else is so much more satisfying, even if wrought with anguish, than not even trying…to let go fully into the arms and mind of R, briefly…To feel only her, only here, and nothing more…to give everything that I am to It here and now….it, remember a conquering echo?
I find that I often believe, myself, in this myth that is L-ve. It may remain to torture me and cause my teeth to grind as I speak the words and buy into the They-Self (see Heidegger) as I give voice to it…but it does something for me. I haven’t fully articulated a healthy relationship to this illusion that humans have created.
Saying “l-ve” aloud (pronouncing it “el dash vee ee”) short-circuits that word as it usually occurs, a trance-word (one that is a sign that someone has entered automatic-pilot and an hypnotic trance) that gets people buying into a concept just because they’ve heard it over and over and been acculturated to it and such. It prevents one from saying the word itself, and provokes one to stop and think.
In fact, while I may seem to be satirizing “l-ve” by playfully comparing it to what the Jews do to the Holy Name of God, in reality I am also doing it the greatest honor. It is left in the space of God because it is a force in human nature too powerful to let go of or to pass up or ignore or trivialize (as I’ve tried to do before, see Love and Sexuality class in 2010 or so, by arguing that it’s “just not real”). It is too powerful in my neurology to just shoo away or brush aside (though I can or could at any time return to that space created after the Landmark Forum in me in September 2012 and following, or after that first few weeks of meditation in 2011, where I “have invented the possibility of being happy without love and sex,” which of course needs to be phrased better but which captures the experience of it well-enough)…
It is, like the Name of the LORD, too Holy to speak.
I l-ve L-ve.