Book Reviews, Love, Philosophy, Sociocultural Phenomena

Roland Barthes (1915–1980): Fragments d’un discours amoureux (1977)

Roland Barthes’s texts on love are incredibly beautiful, profound, and always radically to the point. With love for detail and relentless analytic precision, he unveils all our joys and fears, as well as our sophisticated systematics of self-deception that we develop on the way to love faute de mieux.

“Roland Barthes (1915–1980): Fragments d’un discours amoureux (1977)”

Love, Note


«I tell you now that everyone should honor Eros, that I myself do honor to all matters of love with special devotion; and I encourage others to do the same. Now, and for all time, I praise the power and vigor of Eros, to the limits of my ability. (Socrates to Phaedrus, in: Symposium, c. 380 BC)

Love, Sociocultural Phenomena

Online Dating: The Future of Love?

At first, I was ashamed when I started to use dating apps for my erotic encounters a few years ago. To approach potential lovers or partners in this way seemed too undignified and anonymous to me. In addition, the required self-promotion reminded me too overtly of the lonely-hearts ads in newspapers and magazines of my youth, which were always a welcome target of our ridicule.

“Online Dating: The Future of Love?”

Love, Sociocultural Phenomena

Love as antidote to our compulsive individualism

«Modern man has a personality problem. Because our modern everyday life is such a big role play, people can never bring their whole individuality into society, always only parts of it. In nearly all areas of society, the modern individual is forced to play certain parts, be it as a hot dog vendor or as a superstar. Only this disguise gives them access to society. ‹Whole› people, by contrast, are usually asked to ‹wait outside›. In a way, split personalities are the norm nowadays. Except in love, where the whole person gets a chance. This promise of wholeness makes love a modern agency of meaning-making.» (Christian Schuldt, Der Code des Herzens. Liebe und Sex in den Zeiten maximaler Möglichkeiten («The Code of the Heart. Love and Sex in Times of Maximum Opportunities»), Eichborn Verlag, Frankfurt 2004, Chapter IV, Ich liebe, also bin ich («I love, therefore I am»)

“Love as antidote to our compulsive individualism”

Book Reviews, Love

Erich Fromm: The Art of Loving

«This attitude—that nothing is easier than to love—has continued to be the prevalent idea about love in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love. If this were the case with any other activity, people would be eager to know the reasons for the  failure, and to learn how one could do better—or they would give up the activity. Since the latter is impossible in the case of love, there seems to be only one adequate way to overcome the failure of love—to examine the reasons for this failure, and to proceed to study the meaning of love.» (Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving, Ruth Nanda Anshen, ed., Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, 1956, Chapter I, pp. 4–5)

“Erich Fromm: The Art of Loving”


Love. Going once…

For Germans, there is ultimately no way around quoting Goethe, who had something to say about everything and everyone. And in this case, good old Goethe is positively inevitable, having provided us with what became immediately upon publication in 1774 one of the greatest hits of world literature on love: «The Sorrows of Young Werther». Among many other things, Goethe says in this work:

«What is the world to our hearts without love? What is a magic lantern without light? You have but to kindle the flame within, and the brightest figures shine on the white wall. And if love only shows us fleeting shadows, still it always makes us happy when we stand there like children enraptured by the wondrous phantoms.»

“Love. Going once…”