Love Events

There is the love event. One does not wait for it to happen, it already happened. Two lovers become custodians of that event. Alain Badiou, in his In Praise of Love, claims that when the world is experienced from the point of “two” instead of “one,” from the point of view of “difference” rather than “identity,” then love exists. Love exists as communism for two. But it can not exist when there is only one.

As usual for Lacanians, the number “one” is something to be avoided. You must keep your eye on the number “one.” There are no solitary individuals, there are only individuals who open themselves up to the other that has already in so many ways intruded into them. The number two is the default number. There is one only because there was already two. This means that turning one’s back on love is what permits one to think oneself as “one,” as independent, as isolated, as alone. The truth is that one is more alone – more honestly alone – when one is responsible for the underlying “couple.”

If one gives up on two then the love event no longer exists. There is only two atomic people who think they stand outside of the gravity of the love event. Truthfully, they do not – and they will suffer for it in ways unimaginable. They do not know that they will suffer precisely because they do not know that they continue to be two.

But there are new love events, and they are every bit as contingent or random as the others. Badiou argues that “love encompasses the experience of the possible transition from the pure randomness of chance to a state that has universal value. Starting out form something that is simply an encounter, a trifle, you learn that you can experience the world on the basis of difference [the ‘two’] and not only in terms of identity [the ‘one’]. And you can even be tested and suffer in the process.”

Unexpectedly, a new chance event occurred in my life this week. We shall see if it has the potential to become communism for two.


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