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The Pain With No Name II (The Assurance)

The lover then can only be assured by the certainty of his decision, by the surety of his every step in his approach towards the other. And the assurance of loving, of obtaining the status of being a lover, can only be ratified with the continuous decision to love and love still; my advance to the lover only remains certain if I continue to take leave of every moment and every present location in which I find myself, and thus approach and bear the distance to where and when she is. In more vulgar terms, I can only say I truly love by always loving anew; I have to re-start by taking a new step, even if by taking another step means fumbling anew, just as anytime I walk I lift my feet in order to fall on the ground, knowing well that in my pursuit I may at anytime hurt myself. By re-starting love, by making it ever new, I continue projecting myself toward her, as if I never tried to reach her already just a moment ago, and by promising that I shall still go near her later, tomorrow, or forever. Forever? What do I mean when I say that I shall love her forever? Ordinarily and logically, it means that I shall never fail in my advance and in my decision to love; that I promise to love infinitely--whatever this means--from now on, from the moment of my decision up to an indefinite definite (because I promised) future, and once and for all. Forever becomes possible only because I promised; forever suddenly bursts open as a horizon where my love can be played out, finally and freely, and without measure, that is, infinitely. The unreachable distance of the lover that my infinite love always apporaches but always misses is finally compounded, or doubled, by a temporal polarization of love the moment the possibilty of eternity, heretofore unexperienced by a temporal being, for the first time is revealed as a possibility alone by a love which is able to paradoxically promise what it in actuality does not have. For the lover cannot be content with the passing assurance of a passing love; if I ever come up with the courage to utter "I love you," even if I do not understand the meaning of those words completely and what they signify, or, even if I just casually express the whirlwind of emotions I can undeniably feel, by saying so, I can never only mean that I love you for the moment, for the time being, or for a certain period of time, without betraying myself, or without knowing full well that I contradict myself. Even the slightest, imagined, view into eternity, nary a glimpse into it, would be enough for me to say without lying that I love the other. The promise of love finally grants me what I have been lacking all my life even as possibility--a future becomes opened up for me where I may never "run out" of time of assuring myself of my status of a lover for as long, and this is what matters, as I continue to decide to love and as long as I actually love. Whether or not I do in fact love matters little compared to the possibility opened up for me, that of a possible future or a future possibility, or, which comes to the same thing, a possibility of eternity and, finally, of wholeness. Like a death anticipated, a promised love gives me a view of my life as a whole, the whole of my life, hitherto outside the data of my particular experiences. The possibility of love gives me the promise of the possibility of being whole. I am granted, in my promising love, my self. But absurdly: it is this same self, newly found whole, which I in turn and succesively promise to offer to the other who also, in her distance, afforded me to receive myself. This sums up the paradox of being able to give what you do not have, because, mysteriously--because gracefully--I receive my self when I give myself, and in this reception, if I truly love, I cannot but be grateful for this gift; and because the grace of this gift outflanks me who only wanted to give so as to love, I cannot but, in gratitude, give back myself, as a new gift--a gift renewed--to the other whom I love. This continuous reception and surrender of the gift of self, never diminished but always renewed in each attempt to accomplish a perfect love; this grace that the lover receives which he never deserves but nonetheless feels grateful for; this insistence on continuing to love and love even more as there is more of myself that I am able to give; all of these are made possible and guranteed by the inifinte space and eternal time which only an inifinite and eternal love can open up.

In loving, I henceforth individuate myself as this lover that no one else can substitute, as this and only this--a lover. I no longer just remain an existing being like all the other beings in the world as I am elevated to the rank of this lover who finally is bestowed a name (as a thou to the other), a face (who the other sees), a place (as an "Here I am") and a time (as "now and forever"). I love, therefore--and finally--I am. I am not because the other necessarily loves me (she may do so but it does not matter, I can only be certain of my decisions and actions) but precisely because I love and no other. I do not love because she loves me (reciprocity, economy) but because of my decision to take the initiative to love first without remainder and without condition. To ask the beloved to love me: how could I ask for something that is outside of me, something that precisely comes from her very own alterity? To receive myself, my individuated self--a finally gathered self--heretofore scattered by my own fragmented desires and passions, is enough for me who never asked anything in return. And I can only be assured of this gathered self as long as I continue to love infinitely and eternally. I can only be certain of my wholeness not because the other completes me by her own love but because I completely love her without remainder. In other words, I can only be certain that I am for as long as I love.

To be continued.


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