Contemplation

An Accumulation of Random Thoughts Upon Random Thoughts #3

Here are some more brain dump where I offer my thoughts on German philosophy, law, justice, forgiveness, passion, love, photography, along with other stories. I kind of like writing these due to how casual they are. They can be read in any order at your own pace.

Have a nice day 🙂

* * *

The Influences of 19th-20th Century German Philosophy

German philosophy had always been dominant and influential throughout 19th and 20th century continental European philosophy. Much of German phil continues to influence many scholars today in unimaginable ways. Let me quickly show you why and how they all came into being.

In 18th century, Immanuel Kant was really influential in founding what most scholars refer as “German Idealism” and Kant’s own school of thought known as “Transcendental idealism”. Following Kant (also known as “Post-Kantian philosophy”), Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel wrote one of the world’s most influential book called the Phenomenology of Spirit. Despite that this text is consistently ranked as one of the most difficult books to read in the world, Hegel is a key thinker that anyone interested in European philosophy must understand (I’ve only read three chapters of this book—it is extremely hard to read). Hegel was famous for inventing a type of dialectical-idealist thinking that occurs between the conscious subject and the world around them and how knowledge is produced through their dialectical relationships.

It wasn’t until later where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would invert Hegel’s ideas into a socio-political framework towards a materialist philosophy (the opposite of idealism is materialism). As a result, this led to the (in)famous political ideas known as “communism” and “socialism” (unlike what most people think, contemporary China is not communist; economically, they fall closer to state capitalism; though one can argue that China has communist values). Marx and Engels were really influenced by Hegel’s famous writings called “Master-Slave dialectics”. In today’s world, we can roughly translate its title as proletariat and bourgeoise AKA the poor (slave) and the rich (master); the latter who controls and exploits labour (“Let me pay you minimum wage while I make bank!”). Marx and Engels founded a new type of thinking known as “dialectical materialism”. They were also famous for their super influential critique on capitalist economy from a three volume book called, Capital, where they provided the foundations for labour theory (edit: I misremembered and realized it is actually a three volume book).

Existentialism also began to take form in 19th century by German (and Danish) thinkers—largely as complete or partial rejection to Kantian and Post-Kantian philosophies. There was Arthur Schopenhauer who was incredibly influential and renown for his nihilism and pessimism (a great writer, who wasn’t exactly an existentialist, but was sometimes at the brink of being seen as one). Then there is the legendary Friedrich Nietzsche who was famously influential for his aphoristic writings and his philosophy on perspectivism (he was influenced by Schopenhauer among others; and Chinese philosophy). If I remember correctly, Nietzsche was one of the first to conceive of the idea that humans are thinking when they do not think they are thinking. In late 19th – early 20th century, this idea influenced the renown Austrian neurologist and inventor of psychoanalysis named Sigmund Freud, who discovered the unconscious mind.

Phenomenology (the study of phenomena, intuition, temporality, intentionality, and experience) also came into existence in mid-late 19th century by a bunch of mathematicians turned philosophers (mostly from Germany and Italy if I remember correctly). Two famous figures came into play: Gottlob Frege and Edmund Husserl; the latter who formed a school of phenomenology that laid out the intellectual landscape of 20th century German, French, and a good chunk of other European philosophies. I believe Husserl did not write his most influential work until he was in his 70s—a book called Logical Investigations (it is hard to read; I recommend Cartesian Meditations where Husserl introduces phenomenology through his inspirations of the French-Dutch philosopher, Rene Descartes). Husserl was Jewish and lived under the Nazi regime that banned him from publishing. They also tried to burn his books. During World War II, his works were saved by a philosopher named Herman van Breda who smuggled his manuscripts into a Catholic library in Belgium which later became a university. One of Husserl’s students at the time was Martin Heidegger, who ended up dominating 20th century thought. Heidegger—influenced by Husserl and Nietzsche—combined phenomenology and existentialism together which in turn, influenced a ton of French philosophers in 20th century such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Giles Deleuze and many more (tragic fact: Deleuze jumped out the window of his apartment and killed himself due to his respiratory health problems).

In early 20th century, Freud’s work on the unconscious mind and human nature also took center stage (there was also Carl Jung who was Freud’s student that Freud disagreed with; unfortunately, Jung wasn’t as influential in the philosophy circle as Freud). Freud was also well known for his encounter of Albert Einstein where they exchanged letters and spoke about war and human conflicts.

In France, a Russian-Hegelian philosopher named Alexandre Kojeve taught a very small class of students on Hegel where most of them became renown intellectuals: Jacques Lacan, Jean-Paul Sartre, Georges Bataille, Maurice-Merleau Ponty, and a few others. Like Marx and Engels, Lacanian psychoanalysis was influenced by Hegel’s “Master-Slave dialectics” (and Freud). One can perhaps, think of the relationship between the unconscious mind (master) that controls our conscious thoughts (slave) as a dialectical relationship. This is why Lacan’s writings—especially his lectures—are full of Hegelian allusions which makes him really hard to understand. Then there is German philosopher Hannah Arendt (a student of Heidegger and also his lover) who was renown for her political philosophy on totalitarianism. There was also the novelist and short story writer Franz Kafka who was influential among the philosophy circle (I think he was Czech or Bohemian). Kafka was also famous for his love letters that he wrote to a woman named Jesenka Milena that he only met once or twice (now published as epistolary literature called Letters to Milena).

Influenced by Hegel, Marx, along with other thinkers like Freud, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, and Georg Lukacs, 20th century Germany developed a famous school of thought known as the “Frankfurt school” (part of the Goethe University Frankfurt). It remains incredibly influential in its social theories on linguistic subjectivity, social communication, modernity, advanced/late capitalism, and other branches of critical theory. In it, there was Theodor Adorno who was famous for his philosophy on aesthetics. Walter Benjamin known for literary and art criticism (another tragic fact: Benjamin killed himself to avoid getting captured by Nazis; there is a really cool memorial art made for him where he took his life at the border of Spain and France). There is Hans-Georg Gadamer (a student of Heidegger) who is well known for his works on hermeneutics (the study of interpretation). There is Erich Fromm who is known for psychoanalysis and social theory; Max Horkheimer known for his works in authoritarianism; and Herbert Marcuse known for his criticism of technology. Marcuse was one of the first few thinkers to conceive of technology as a form of social control. Then there is Juergen Habermas (who is still alive?) renown for his works on communication and rationalism. Habermas and Derrida had really famous heated debates in the past where they eventually became friends later on.

Ultimately, Frankfurt school formed what some people today refer as “Cultural Marxism”. The term “Freudo Marxism” also came into existence via Frankfurt school, where scholars use Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis to analyze modern society. The most famous contemporary thinkers to do this are the Slovenian scholars Slavoj Zizek, Alenka Zupancic, and Mladen Dolar. Together, they formed a new school of psychoanalysis that is now known as the Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis.

I missed some stuff here and there, but this covers a good chunk of the influences of German philosophy.

Gute Nacht

* * *

Those who reads this blog…

Probably learns a lot about me. Truth is, I am stuck in my head 80% of the time when I am alone. It’s nice to have a random stranger or friend to come up and say hi when I am in public because it shakes my mind up a bit. But I think some people are intimidated when they talk to me where I have to be extra nice so they know I mean no harm Lol. My brain is always buzzing through a billion thoughts at once. It moves so fast that I can’t even tell you what I am thinking about if you ask me in person. It is only after a certain amount of time where these ideas and thoughts slowly gather where they start to appear on here in fragmented form. This usually happens at night when my brain explodes where I go on a writing spree.

* * *

“There is something really different about you”

When I first officially met my MA supervisor back in 2019 at his office, the first thing he said to me was, “There is something really different about you from all the other students I taught”. I looked at him in shock going, “Huh? Really? Lol” (that’s a lot of students). I honestly didn’t know whether it was a good thing or not, but it was something that I always remembered him saying. I also remember how he used to read my blog and told me how he likes the way I explain things in my posts on deconstruction and psychoanalysis. And if he reads this, Hi. 🙂

* * *

On reading philosophy and mental health

Reading these big difficult texts that continuously throw hard truths at you about how messed up our world is can take on a mental toll. Sometimes, it is better to stay away or take a break from certain books because ignorance truly is bliss LOL. I think the truth about our world can be really scary the deeper we dive into it. Knowing and thinking too much can be a curse.

When I was in my mid-twenties, philosophy destroyed me. I realized our world runs on taking advantage of others and making a profit off of them. The most depressing thing is that there is not much I can do other than sharing with you the things I’ve learned (I don’t advertise this blog—only those who knows where to find it will know). I still remember when I was 25 where I cried to my dad telling him that I really wanted to change this world and make it a better place, but there is nothing I can do. In order to make this world better, we actually have to reinvent the entire structure of society and the ways we think. And it wasn’t until I got older where I made peace with it and tried to focus on smaller things.

On bad days, this still gets to me because my current job is not very meaningful to me. Work can be grindy, but I think that’s just life in general Lol. It’s true that I often find myself disappointed in humanity and society (my dad sometimes tells me that I was born in the wrong time Lol). When my social energy is topped off, I can be happy and chill with most people. Yet deep down, I have this otherworldly, hyper gravitational core inside me where I have a tendency to ruminate very deeply about life, humanity, love, knowledge, space, and time. As I got older, I learned how to think less about these things because ignorance is bliss Lol. Nowadays, I am reluctant to tell people about the things I know because they would likely get intimidated or think I am crazy.

Just like love, where it is much better to have failed and lost than to never have loved. I think it is better to know the truths about our world than to not know—even if it hurts. It is much better for us have passion for something (or someone) than to feel nothing at all. In a way, it can be liberating to understand and see the world for what it really is. Being human is not always fun. It often involves suffering, struggling, and fighting (and of course there are good things as well, such as joy, etc.). Whether this battle is something personal, a social cause or for someone you love, it is these battles that makes us who we are, giving us our unique character.

* * *

Disc golf is peaceful…but it is also ghetto

I was solo disc golfing some weekend ago and joined some random girl who was also playing solo. She was new to the sport and told me how peaceful disc golf makes her feel. I totally agreed with her. So we played a few holes together peacefully where I taught her how to putt and parted ways.

But disc golf can also be pretty ghetto. There is this course located in this high crime rate community that my friend and I abbreviate as “FL”. The course is quite popular due to how beginner friendly it is. Every time my friend and I go there, we would always hear police sirens every 10 minutes. The course obstacles are different every time because homeless people always sets up their camps in different places. The most FL energy thing I’ve seen was a woman snorting what I assumed to be cocaine on a picnic table. She even cheered for our drives as we tried not to dome her with our discs while we teed off. Getting hit by a moving disc at full speed can send you to the emergency.

* * *

Facebook

I got a brand new Facebook after permanently deleting my old one 2 years ago. I got it so I can go on local disc golf groups and keep myself updated with the news that goes on in my area. The platform changed quite a bit since the last time I used it. I don’t even scroll through my Facebook feed. But it’s not like I scroll through my other social media feeds either LOL. I will look at the first few posts at most and get off.

Facebook is kind of like feudalism. The king gives you some land (your FB profile) and tells you that it is yours and you are free to do whatever you want (communicate with others, post stupid stuff, etc.). But at the end, they have the authority to take all of it from you, collect all your data, spy on you, and make money off you. The same can be said for most social platforms these days. Luckily my Facebook is just a wasteland of nothingness. It’s blank. I don’t post and use it for anything outside of disc golf and maybe talk to a few old friends every now and then.

* * *

Why does capitalism strive for perpetual growth and endless consumerism?
I am no expert, but I would explain it like this:

Imagine a society with only 10 people in it and no money has been injected into its system. If each person wanted to buy a house and apply for a loan, the bank or government would have to conjure money out of thin air and lend it to them (or they print them). So lets say that it costs 10 dollars to buy a house. Each person borrows 10 dollars from the lender which pays for the house (the 10 dollars pays for the cost of building the house, workers, etc. which are money that gets injected into the economy). In return, the bank or government asks you to pay them back 11 dollars total which includes a 1 dollar interest rate. How would anyone be able to pay back that extra dollar when the system only has 100 dollars injected into it? The system would need an extra 10 dollars in order for the ten people to pay back their interest rate. So the -10 becomes debt and people would end up trying to earn it from each other with never ending debt (this is why almost every country is in debt). Essentially, everyone ends up trying to pay back 1 dollar that does not exist in the system.

To “solve” this problem, the system would need to rely on producing “future money” or loans (credit) from people who joins the society in order to inject more money into the system which would produce more debt. In this sense, we can say that interest rate is money that does not (yet) exist in the system until more money is injected into the economy. And this is not accounting for things like greed, labour exploitation, third-world wage, and people lending their borrowed money to others and asking for even more interest in return. Then there are also people who defaults on their debt which forces interest rates to rise. All of this is one of the reasons why when inflation rises, countries will increase interest rates and lend out less (future money) so to level out exchange rates, control inflation, and try to not turn your 100 dollars into 1 dollar.

Meanwhile people pay their taxes or invest in some government retirement plan where they take all your money and spend it all on infrastructure or something much worse like killing people in other countries. As a result, the money generates even more debt (the government owes the person who gave them money to spend). This mounting debt that countries have will continue to grow until no one can pay anything back where the system resets through some miracle or by going to war (just kidding, governments can pay you back by producing more debt of course! Duhhhh). Meanwhile, politicians accuses each other going like “This monkey is spending too much money, vote for me instead!”. The bottom line is that in order for capitalism to thrive, people must constantly work (or volunteer to be slaves; whichever you prefer), consume, borrow money, and produce so to generate capital and pay back interests that never really existed in the first place.

Damn, this sounds dumber than I thought LOL.

* * *

Law, Justice, and Forgiveness

Saying this kind of makes me sound like a criminal, but it is true that I am often critical of authority and laws. Obviously, I am not saying that we should walk around harming, murdering or kidnapping people. What I am trying to get at is how many of our written and unwritten laws today functions as a form of social control. This idea was famously presented in Michel Foucault’s book called Discipline and Punish where he traces how modern prisons came into existence. He argues that prisons are essentially everywhere, from schools, factories, hospitals, military, and even psychological institutions that seeks to liberate other people (it’s true that I like to make dirty jokes with the title of this book LOL). These prisons seek to discipline us and create controlled bodies and minds. For those who studied psychoanalysis, this sounds really similar to the function of the Other who imposes laws on the conscious subject that makes them obey.

When one speaks of laws, we also imply some form of justice. Does the law bring justice to our world? Is justice what we need—especially after generations of conflict, colonialism, war, and other forms of violence? Can justice be served by punishing someone or a group of people? Could there really be peace by serving justice?

What if justice is just another word for revenge? If so, history is a never ending cycle of generational revenge and violence. Such theme can even be witnessed as a norm in films where some protagonist wants revenge for their loss of something or someone (or the loss of their dog). Is it possible to talk about justice without revenge and punishment? What if the origins of justice is not founded on such terms but by something that radically exist beyond all laws? What if justice is founded on forgiveness?

I think forgiveness is a very important theme that must be addressed and considered in our world today. It is something that isn’t talked much about because people are too indoctrinated to think outside of their ideologies. This reminds me of Jacques Derrida’s famous public lectures on forgiveness (called, On Forgiveness). In it, he points out how real forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetfulness, juridical law, amnesty (government pardon), and any forms of authorities. Forgiveness is a “madness of the impossible” because it exceeds all the conditions established by law and justice. It is madness of the impossible because true forgiveness is nearly impossible to achieve. Can we for example, forgive someone who killed one of our loved ones? To truly forgive is to forgive the unforgivable.

Near the end of his lectures, Derrida points out how—quite the contrary to the juridical which punish others either out of revenge or discipline—forgiveness is what lies at the origins of laws and justice. Similar to the ways I spoke about love in the past, Derrida asserts how forgiveness is like an event that arrives before us like a surprise or an unexpected revolution that challenges all institutions, laws, and authorities. He writes some really beautiful and humane passages on forgiveness:

“Must one not maintain that an act of forgiveness is worthy of its name, if there ever is such a thing, must forgive the unforgivable and without condition? And that such unconditionality is also inscribed, like its contrary, namely the condition of repentance, in ‘our’ heritage? Even if this radical purity can seem excessive, hyperbolic, mad? Because if I say, as I think, that forgiveness is mad, and that it must remain a madness of the impossible, this is certainly not to exclude or disqualify it. It is even perhaps the only thing that arrives, that surprises, like a revolution, the ordinary course of history, politics, and law. Because that means that it remains heterogeneous to the order of politics or of the juridical as they are ordinarily understood. […]

Yet, despite all the confusions which reduce forgiveness to amnesty or to amnesia, to acquittal or prescription of the work of mourning or some political therapy of reconciliation, in short to some historical ecology, it must never be forgotten, nevertheless, that all of that refers to a certain idea of pure and unconditional forgiveness, without which this discourse would not have the least meaning. What complicates the question of ‘meaning’ is again what I suggested a moment ago: pure and unconditional forgiveness, in order to have its own meaning, must have no ‘meaning’, no finality, even no intelligibility. It is a madness of the impossible. […]

Must we not accept that, in the heart or in reason, above all when it is a question of ‘forgiveness’, something arrives which exceeds all institution, all power, all juridical-political authority? We can imagine that someone, a victim of the worst, himself, a member of his family, in his generation of the preceding, demands that justice to be done, that the criminals appear before a court, be judged and condemned by a court—and yet in his heart, forgives.”

* * *

When people talk about you

A friend brought up this topic awhile ago. Honestly, I’m probably the last person people come to for people stuff unless they want some deep philosophical and psychoanalytic insights LOL. I am quite good at analyzing people, but most everyday person don’t really concern me. If you hang out with me, you may notice that I don’t talk about other people very much. I almost never gossip. But I understand this is how some people bond and have conversations, so I usually don’t mind when it is brought up. In general, I think people likes to talk about others without any underlying reason—so it doesn’t always mean anything. There is also not much you can do when others talk about you.

It’s weird because I am someone who often tries to avoid attention from others. Despite the fact that I am pretty good at being invisible, I sometimes draw unwanted attention. I was kind of famous back in my undergraduate days where people who met me would openly tell me how they talk about me with others. Thinking about it, I also got a sense that people talked about me in grad school. I remember I once met with a prof for the first time because I couldn’t take her course (but really wanted to). I told her I came from a design background where she gasped and gave me this surprised look as if she discovered who I really was (I assume someone told her about me). My supervisor told me how profs who were on the grad school admission committee kept asking him who I was (he wrote one of my reference letters). I am Bobby…I guess. Hah!

* * *

Fashion photography and art

When I was in my early to mid 20s, I was very much a fashion photography guru. Not only that, I also understood the economical, sociological, historical, and art theories that surrounded the discipline. Back then, I was really into photographers like Guy Bourdin, Helmet Newton, Corrine Day, Juergen Teller, Tim Walker, Nick Knight, Steven Meisel, and a few others that I can’t immediately recall. My main fascination lies in its intersection between fashion as a capitalist product and anti-consumerist art.

There are photographers and artists in fashion industry who took up to the challenge of critiquing consumerist and elitist aspect of fashion. Many of their works weren’t simply pictures of some pretty lady in some beautiful dress, they were photographs that made you think. Through their works, they became challengers of the system that reflected varies states and aspects of society—something that I really liked. In many ways, they were pretty rebellious, just like me Lol.

At the time, I realized that being a photographer was about learning how to see the world. This way of seeing lead to studying big difficult disciplines like philosophy which eventually took me to graduate school (i.e. my studies of deconstruction and psychoanalysis). During my undergrad, I had a reputation where people knew me as a guru in all sorts of art theories. It is true that my interest in philosophy and cultural theory outgrew my interest in fashion and photography—even if I maintain the thought that it was photography and art which taught me how to see the world differently. Even when in reality, it was my passion and love for these things that took me beyond them in all sorts of ways (to have infinite thoughts about them, precisely).

That was when I met a teacher (and later became a mentor) who showed me the intersections between philosophy, art, and fashion. She recommended me a book called All for Nothing by Rachel K. Ward, who was a student of the renown thinker Jean Baudrillard from the European Graduate School. The book was Ward’s PhD dissertation that talks about the ethics of desire and how it leads to decadence. It was the very first book that introduced me to other French and German thinkers. I spent the entire summer close reading Ward’s book where she changed my life. I should write about her one day. I think she is brilliant.

With all this said, I still have a ton of fashion magazines and books sitting around. I have a huge collection of the French fashion magazine called Numero that I got shipped directly to me in Canada from France. I also have various small collections of different Vogue magazines (Italia, Germany, and others).

* * *

What is passion?

Just like love, passion is difficult to describe with words because it involves really intense emotions and feelings. It is important we understand that passion is not a description of feelings. Passion is a form of tension that is produced beneath the surface of our words, thoughts, and actions. You can for example, experience passion being produced through the narrations of a great novel, poem, art, film, or the melody/lyrics of a great song (passion is a manifestation of love). You can experience it being produced by someone who knows how to make use of the flow of their words, tone, and punctuation. Passion is always produced underneath the surface of everyday experiences that requires a certain form of concealment. Passion is an intense and powerful movement of the human heart. And for some people, it can be a frightening experience that they actively avoid.

As a result, and as paradoxical it may seem, it is much easier to turn passion into something simple and consumable like happiness and light hearted fun. I sometimes think people intentionally dilute their most intense passions that they have for someone (or something). As such, people will try to hide passion which ironically makes it naturally play itself out like an unescapable destiny. People hide their passion without realizing that passion is always made to be seen. To hide our passion from someone is to say, “I want you to know that I am hiding something from you”. Passion can be seen because the act of hiding can be seen. For here lies the secret to the greatest passions of humanity: the more someone tries to hide their passion, the more you can see its tensions tucked beneath its surface. For passion is always there where you are not where it triumphs over all our attempts at neutralizing it. —This is seduction at its highest order.

* * *

On love, commitment, and infinity

It is very hard to talk about love while also be original without reciting clichés. This was one of the things that made my writings on psychoanalysis and love really difficult (you can find it hyperlinked here). I think the underlying reason why some people are commitment phobes is because society offers too many distractions and choices for them (there is this handsome guy, that pretty gal etc.). Perhaps this might be a protruding symptom of our consumer society that unconsciously made us this way. For is it not society that teaches us to maximize our options in life like we are running our own business? Are we not made to choose and pick the person who can best satisfy our desires? In turn, love becomes some commercial exchange of satisfying our own desires which is—in my view—very degrading in the name of love. And if there is a desire that love makes us want to satisfy, it would be the other’s desire; i.e. to want them to be safe and happy (I will get to this).

You can sometimes see this in the dating world where some people likes to casually date 10 people at once or those who likes to bounce around for casual sex (but it is as Lacan would say: when one loves, it has nothing to do with sex). On the surface, they will often say they just want to figure out what they like or don’t like, even when this is their desires talking (a wishful projection). But doesn’t this also sound similar to your average consumer who wants to purchase the right product that best suits their own desires and needs?

Regardless of whether love has anything to do with the nurtures of consumer society, love often arrives when we least expect it. This is to say that, love has nothing to do with our desires and needs. And love is certainly not a product or commodity to be consumed. Just ask parents who I hope loves their children, and they will all say the same thing: it is about their children’s needs. They want their children to grow up to be happy and healthy. Love that is catered to our needs (or desires) is narcissism (I simplified it here). And the funny thing is that I often see “self-help” posts like this all the time on social media where people tell others that everything should be about themselves. Don’t get me wrong, it is important that we take care of ourselves and love ourselves to a certain extent. But I think there are boundaries that must be understood.

Perhaps some of you are familiar with the famous Greek mythology of Narcissus who looked into the fount of water and fell in love with himself—sort of like people’s obsessions with looking at themselves in the mirror or their own photographs (many mythologies and religions are symptoms of the human psyche). Quite the contrary, love is not about the reflection of ourselves. It is about the reflection of the other person. Real love is not a contract between two narcissists who loves themselves more than they love the other person. Love is not simply feelings of euphoria or sadness that we consume. Love is not a mutual exchange of selfish desires (money, objects, sex, fun, etc.). When love is produced through the declaration of our words (“I love you”), it is no longer about these words alone. Love transforms into selfless acts for the other where we love them more than we love ourselves; where we care for them, protect them, fight for them, and die for them. To love someone is to put their needs above our own—to love them more than we love ourselves in the reflection. Therefore, love often involves struggling, compromise, and sacrifice. Or to put it light heartedly, love is about who cleans the toilet and does the dishes. Thus, we can say that, love is determination, commitment and faith, where it has the ability to overcome some of the greatest differences and obstacles between two people. And it is only through this faithful commitment to the other where love can become eternal and infinite.

“To love is to struggle, beyond solitude, with everything in the world that can animate existence. This world where I see for myself the fount of happiness my being with someone else brings. ‘I love you’ becomes: in this world there is the fount you are for my life. In the water from this fount, I see our bliss, yours first. As in Mallarme’s poem, I see:

In the wave you become
Your naked ecstasy.”

—Alain Badiou, In Praise of Love.

Standard