Happy Valentine’s Day! No, really, I hope it’s happy.
In honor of this Hallmark excuse for a “holiday,” I have a few thoughts on love to share, inspired by the following quotation:
“In order that love lasts one has to reinvent oneself.”
The statement above comes from the contemporary French philosopher Alain Badiou. I encountered it in an article in the Guardian (which was excellent – I would highly recommend reading the whole thing) a few months ago, and subsequently saved it on a sticky note on my desktop. It’s one of my favorite quotations about love, since it balances perfectly between idealism and impossibility.
While I may not believe that there is no such thing as Love with a capital L – Love that begins at first sight, never encounters doubts, endures forever (and beyond!), and only exists between two pre-determined soul mates – I also don’t want to believe that love is solely a cultural construct, doomed to end after the first bloom of lust.
Badiou’s conception of love falls perfectly within these extremes, rendering it realistically attainable, but also acknowledging the amount of work compromise and it takes to make a relationship evolve and last. As someone who is currently very much in love but has only been in a relationship for a little more than a year and a half, I appreciate the “you can do it if you put the work in” sentiment of the statement.
I also found hope in another of Badiou’s statements in the article: “Fidelity [is] the randomness of an encounter defeated day after day through the invention of what will endure.” While he acknowledges that love may, after all, be an invention, he also does not deny that possibility that it can endure. This statement took on even more meaning for me after I read an article in the Atlantic titled There’s No Such Thing as Everlasting Love (According to Science). While enduring love may not exist on a purely physiological level, a series of loving micro-moments can be willfully bound together into something meaningful and lasting.
With that in mind, I would like to share a few words with my own love.
Joe: You are wonderful, and I am so happy with you. I want to put in the work to make what we have last, and to continue to reinvent myself with you (we’ve already done it, what, three times?). Even though what we have may be an invention, I know that we can make it endure.
I love you.