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The Pain With No Name IV (The Ignorance of Love)

That I am a lover can only reward me infinitely more than being just a being, an existing thing. And this assurance is the only certainty that the lover can grasp, which paradoxically remains in his hands as long as he gives it away continuously to the other. By loving, I receive my individuated, and thus, whole self in reference to the other who grants me the horizon of possibilities--in space and time, that I would have never on my own brought about being a finite and limited being. This spectrum of possibilities that I receive from the fact and act of being a lover comes solely from this side of the relation of loving, from my innermost conviction which gathers my otherwise bifurcated self into a wholeness, into an identity, into an actual person. I do not as yet count on the beloved's advance toward me, as this does not yet matter (and should it ever matter?), for I become a lover not by being loved but by deciding to be so, I love not because she loves me--loves me first or more or at all--but because I loved first, once and for all. I do not promise my love now and forever because she guarantees it by her own word, like a contract between two parties who agree through a mutual pact written on paper to ensure its formal and thus legal obligation, but, I promise because I am able to foresee a future yet to come wherein, for the first time, I am able to project myself to a future of love. I do not love her because of what I feel at the moment, passion or desire which quench themselves dry the moment love is consumed, but because what I desire surpasses any moment of consummation, a desire which yearns more that which it may have or not have as this does not matter for a heart which loves infinitely. In other words, in my assurance of being a lover, I do not as yet need to see the beloved love me back, I do not as yet know her as a lover, too, like me who loves an other (possibly me), but I know her only as the one that which I love-- as just such the beloved.

The beloved is known only insofar as she is loved, and before I profess and in fact love her, I cannot ever know her first. While it is true that I may know her as that face with these peculiarities or with such and such a taste, I cannot distinguish her from any old other without first gazing at her with eyes that finally stop short of her, with a gaze which fails to see her. For her to come to the fore, she must emerge from the world of beings (things or people) which I usually take for granted, things that are ready-to-hand, finally, obects of which I master under my gaze and comprehension. For the beloved to finally appear, I must first not see her--as a thing, a being, an object. The advent of the other: not being able to see the other who also sees, the other who is like me, the other as subject. Thus if I am to allow the lover to emerge, I must first have to suffer not seeing and withold myself from knowing, like Midas who has to stop touching any other thing in order to not destroy it. If I have any possible access to the other, I first have to do away with all knowledge of her--and first love her. For love does not know (as it does not see nor touch) the other as any other thing known. It does not love because it knows (knows what it loves or knows that it is loved). Love is ignorant: love does not need to know to love first and once and for all. But at the same time, this is the wisdom of love: that by first loving her without having to know her first, love frees up the horizon where the beloved may be able to emerge, separating itself from the army of beings, as no longer a just another being, but as the one and only other, an individuated other, as her and her alone above any other. In her advance in the clearing created by love, I come to know her not as I know any other being but only as that whom I love, as the beloved and no other. Now, because I lover her, she is able to come forward with a face. Now, because I love her, she acquires a name. Now--finally, because I love her, I may be able to start knowing her, as herself, as the unknowable other. Love does not first need to know in order to first love. Love is that which enables any possible real knowledge of the other, a knowledge that is fitting for a subject, an ego like me, a knowledge of the unknowable other. If she remained known as any other being known without first being exposed to the horizon of love, I would indeed have knowledge of her but only in the rank of an object known. But love, even if it has to expose itself to a twilight of ignorance, enables me to truly know the other as other. Very much, I could not know her if I did not love her first. Knowledge, if it is not first informed by love, can only lead me to vanity.

To be continued.


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