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Time and Love


My friend's remark last night struck me. He said that maybe in another lifetime the one he loved--from a distance and in silence--and who couldn't love him back, maybe in that other life, imagined and in no way certain, they could be what they could never be in this life: together.

"Maybe in another lifetime": this means a hope which doubles itself as it hopes for a chance and at the same time that chance is hoped against a possible time otherwise than the present present and the present future. The "maybe" hopes but at the same time consigns that it is still not certain that it could still be in another possible time. Or again, this means that one resigns himself in being given a chance to gamble in another possible game, knowing well that he cannot even attempt to play at this time.

The "maybe" here is ignorant on two counts: it hopes for a possible love and only in another possible life. And at bottom, it no longer points to a wish, and finally not even to a hope, as "maybe" marks the uncertainty of uncertainty, that is, this hope eventually fails to finally imagine the real at the end, and in doing so, disqualifies itself as hope. For hope always knows even when it is ignorant for what it is hoping for. But this "maybe in another lifetime" does not even know if it would still be able to have the chance--the time--to hope because it cannot even hope now. Thus it resigns itself to that most terrible of signs: I simply sigh, turn and walk away head bowed.

Yet the ignorant "maybe" still knows one thing: that it will gamble if it is given a chance to play the game that cannot be played at the moment and to the last. How can it know this? Because it knows with certainty what it loves, with a certainty which cannot be negated or forgotten even if it is a love which cannot be, even if it has no hope of becoming real in time. The "maybe" is only founded on a knowledge of knowing that it shall love, the knowledge of an imperative, even if such an imperative could not be done at the present and to the last.

"I must love you": this means that I will love you even if I couldn't love you now, that I will love you even if you couldn't love me now, that I will nevertheless love you even if we cannot love each other now or in our futures. This is what it means to hope against hope: that I shall nevertheless know by my absolute decision that I shall love you even if it is also absolutely impossible to love you.

It must be asked, however, why do I defer a certain love for the uncertain, other lifetime? Why must I defer a certain love, a love that was born here and now, to a place which is no place, or at least cannot be seen now? Why do I, finally, suspend my certain love to an uncertain future which is no longer a real future for me, that is, no longer a real possibility as it is already canceled from all the other possibilities of my real future before me? In a word, why cannot I just love you now in order to save myself from the future that is no future--from the "another lifetime"?

Simply because I cannot. The imperative which tells me to love you now and always is only formal; it does not tell me when my love should be deployed unto the real. Even if the "I must love you" says that I should love you always, it does not tell me when I could really love in any particular time. Finally, it merely tells me that I love you yesterday, today and tomorrow; or what comes to the same, a love which loves all the time, but by being so, it paradoxically becomes a love which does not have time, or more precisely, a love which dispenses with time. For love is--without needing a time when it could be.

What could a timeless love then possibly mean? It means a love which does not need a chance to gamble its stakes; a love, like a song, which does not even have to be played; a love which finally does not need to love.

What we initially and for the most part know of love is that it can only be temporal or in time: sometimes I love, sometimes I do not love. Yet this is already a reversed love for certain love does not need to decide when it should love. By that thundering decision to love once and for all, it already has decided that it shall still love even if it can never love, that it will love even in the never. For timelessness is precisely that which has no time, the never, which is precisely what the "another lifetime" announces and at the same time hides. Yet as love still loves even in the never, the "maybe" still gives birth to a miraculous blade of grass in the wasteland of eternity.



  1. Anonymous11/03/2008

    I could hold on for a hundred years
    When all else is gone
    I would still be here
    In a memory of things yet unseen
    I’d remember all that we’ve never been
    And I cannot wait to see
    What life has in store for me

    In another lifetime
    It would be forever
    In another world
    Where you and I
    Could be together
    In another set of chances
    I’d take the one’s I’d missed
    And make you mine
    If only for a time
    My life would matter
    In another life

    And I’d stay as strong and I’d stay as true
    And you’d have forever now to think it through
    Coz I believe what wasn’t meant to be
    Wasn’t meant for now and
    Someday you’ll see
    In a place and time we never know
    I’d be standing there waiting for you
    [Repeat Chorus]

    You would be mine
    But until that time is now
    I’d be holding on somehow
    [Repeat Chorus]

    But until that time
    I’ll be holding onto forever
    Until another life

    - Gary Valenciano


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