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The Pain With No Name III (Self-Gathering)

This gift of an assurance of being and (more importantly) remaining a lover can only exceed any other certainty that I may ever receive. Not that this assurance is the originary reason for loving first, for as we have said, love loves because of love--it is its own ratio sui. But this assurance, initiated by my self and aimed at the other, far outweighs any other certainty that I can muster up on my own or receive from the outside. That I am able to think, and that this establishes my right and place in the realm of being or in the metaphysics of existence, can never compare to the assurance that the certainty of my love can give me. I can forget to think, or that I exist, as I lose myself to the ways and workings of the world; ordinary experience shows me being lost in the world, forgetting myself, losing myself in the constant transactions that the workaday world requires of me. Lost, alone and buried in the world--how can I still say without betraying myself that I still truly am or that I exist? But my advance to the other, whether or not she loves me, assures me of an elsewhere which situates my place, opens up a spectrum of time wherein or within I have a chance to love. In fact, no other experience than loving--wanting to or actually making it--can make me feel that I am, that I am truly alive, not merely as an existing being like the mineral or the animal, but a being which no longer delights in its own fact of existence, but enjoys the possibilities that the other who is elsewhere and whom I love brings. This can be verified with the ordinary experiences that the lover undergoes: the lover finds a meaning which is outside himself around which every other contingent thing takes as reference and signification ("Now things seem to fall into place"); the lover sees new reason to face a day as every new sunrise brings with it the possibility of loving anew and more ("I can't wait for tomorrow"); he suddenly but unexpectedly feels beside himself (his old ugly, solitary self), able to once again see a new face on the mirror--a renewed face--one that is now newly presented and made presentable, if not only for the fact that this face experiences itself finally seen by an other, which makes him become self-conscious--aware of himself--and thus, now made worthy of a beauty heretofore unimagined, transformed into a more beautiful self ("I feel handsome" or "I feel beautiful"). That I exist: this no longer can satisy me if existing means being a being in the same manner that the plant or a god has being. For this existence to become meaningful, for this wanderer to finally have sense and direction, for this being to become rescued from the pesky question that the vanity of existence asks ("So what if you exist?"), I would thus have to elevate myself to the rank of a lover who loves because anything short of that would leave me uncertain if this life is worth living. "To be or not to be" is thus no longer the question; it is whether I love or do not love which decides everything--most of all, it decides my own self. That I exist only certifies me of being; that I love assures me of meaning.

And, when the thick haze of darkness sets upon a man who faces the possibility of death by his own hands, which, if asked, would assure him against the assault of the absurdity of the world: that he exists?--but this is exactly what he wants to end--or is there still a possibility to love (and perhaps be loved)? Which, I ask, when it comes down to the bottom of it, when it is a question of settling the accounts, would allow me to hold on to life or let go of it? That I live? Or that I love?

To be continued.


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