I haven’t read 75-year old Moroccan-born French Philosopher Alain Badiou much; but I have dipped appreciatively into one or two of his books over the years. I am however particularly looking forward to reading his latest book In Praise of Love, a nice little hardcover (this hardcover edition published 27/11/12 – 112 pages), which I see the Englewood Review of Books have recently reviewed. Here’s an excerpt from Brett Beasley’s review:
“…If Badiou shuns zero-risk, preplanned forms love, it isn’t because he thinks that love is based on excitement. Rather, a central part of entering into the risk of love is the decision lovers make to stay together. He emphasizes that real love has “tenacity.” He writes, “to give up at the first hurdle, the first serious disagreement, the first quarrel, is only to distort love. Real love is one that triumphs lastingly, sometimes painfully, over the hurdles erected by time, space and the world” (31). Later he writes that, “To love is to struggle, beyond solitude, with everything in the world that can animate existence” (104).
If this all sounds a bit heady, make no mistake: this book is for everyone. It is surprisingly practical at times. It can teach you about everyday experiences like jealousy, which Badiou, unlike the French novelist Marcel Proust, does not see as a constitutive element of love. He emphasizes that “my love’s main enemy, the one I must defeat is not the other, it is myself, the ‘myself’ that prefers identity to difference, that prefers to impose its world against the world reconstructed through the filter of difference (60).”
You can read the full review here.
The back cover ends with these words: Badiou “urges us not to fear love, but to see it as an adventure, a magnificent quest that ultimately leads us away from an obsession with the self.”
In our narcissism-utilitarian-fueled Western culture, this feels like and needful and important quest to be on – humanizing one; a real adventure in becoming more fully alive, free, and authentically human.