A few counter-intuitive musings about love on this most saccharine of holidays:
If one considers that this means nothing less than excluding the whole world from a precious good, from happiness and enjoyment; if one considers that the lover aims at the impoverishment and deprivation of all competitors and would like to become the dragon guarding his golden hoard as the most inconsiderate and selfish of all “conquerors” and exploiters; if one considers, finally, that to the lover himself, the whole rest of the world appears indifferent, pale, and worthless, and he is prepared to make any sacrifice, to disturb any order, to subordinate all other interests – then one comes to feel genuine amazement that this wild avarice and injustice of sexual love has been glorified and deified so much in all ages – indeed, that this love has furnished the concept of love as the opposite of egoism while it may actually be the most ingenuous expression of egoism.
Love for me is an extremely violent act. Love is not “I love you all.” Love means: I pick out something; it’s again the structure of imbalance. Even if this something is just a small detail, a fragile individual person. I say, “I love you more than anything else”: In this quite formal sense, love is evil.
Romantic Love: I do not need to have experienced this myself to give a fairly accurate description, since for centuries the notion has been one of the main obsessions of Western Culture. Could I imagine its counter-notion – Romantic Hate? What would be its conventions? Its vocabulary? What would a culture be like in which this notion was a much an obsession as that of Romantic Love is in our own? Supposing I were to experience it myself, should I be able to recognize it as Romantic Hate?