Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

03 August 2011

Re-finding

From Leo Bersani, for this morning:

Every theory of love is, necessarily, a theory of object relations. Love is transitive; to conceptualize it is to address not only the question of how we choose objects to love, but also, more fundamentally, the very possibility of a subject loving an object. From the very start, psychoanalysis has been skeptical about that possibility.

"The finding of an object," Freud famously declared in the 1905 edition of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, "is in fact a re-finding of it." Love, which we like to think of as a discovery, is inseparable from memory.

Bersani means, I think, that not only is love completely intertwined with our own fantasies about love, but also with our memories of those fantasies, and indeed our memories of those we believe we have loved and our fantasies about those former love-objects, as well.

He suggests that the reason why falling in love makes sense, why it is immediately recognizable to us, is that to be in love is to remember, to encounter something that we, in fact, invented ourselves.