Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fighting For Love

I’m a lover, not a fighter. I often like this phrase. I often think of myself in this way. But the bottom line is that you have to fight for love. You’ve got to battle yourself and you’ve got to battle the world if you really want to love something and yourself.

The question: what came first, love or war? love or hate? Not the best question, because these things have likely always existed together in the same time and space. Whenever I write phrases like ‘time and space’ I feel so Modern and Western. Not in a good way. Just in the way of being enslaved to certain forms of rhetoric, certain phrases and concepts that serve as the ground for everything else I think. I’m not a physicist. Sometimes I wish I was. But that is enough of that digression. It is just a desire to escape the rhetoric of my time.

My main concern here is that there is a connection, a relationship, an affinity between love and struggle. Zizek talks about this. From what I hear, Plato also talked about it. A few moments ago I finished Mark Lilla’s book The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics. He closed the book by talking about ‘philotyranny’, by which he means that philosophers are inclined to support tyranny. He thinks this is so because the type of mind that is drawn to philosophical work is one that can fall victim to a tyranny within their own mind.

See, with Plato and some of the Greek philosophers, moderation and self-control were the most important things to struggle with. A philosopher’s mind is one that is likely to get carried away with itself. Because philosopher’s are so in love with the truth and with ideas, they have the potential to be carried away by their own ideas. But the thing with Plato is to have a ‘supreme self-awareness’ that prevents you from falling in love and being carried away by your own ideas.

But Mark Lilla seems to be suggesting that all the intellectuals he wrote about fell in love with their own ideas, gave in to the dangers of personal tyranny, and thus supported philosophical tyranny.

So then, if philosophers are those who love love, and love truth, then what do you have to fight for love? You guessed it: yourself. You have to fight your own love of truth and love of love so that you don’t become hateful.

Moderation is such an important lesson that I have yet to really actualize in my own life. But maybe I’m trying? I think I am. But it is hard.

Love and struggle are not dichotomous. They seem to be things that need each other and lead to one another. You’ve gotta fight for love, and struggle so that you don’t hate.

I don’t know if I really believe any of this, or if I really think any of this. But I do have such a curiosity about struggle and love that I want them to be compatible. And Lilla and his writing on Plato, and all of The Reckless Mind, leads me to think that perhaps they are compatible.

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