Real Love is Radical


L’Armoire à Glace, Walter Sickert, 1924

by Masha Tupitsyn

No one can love anymore because of an overabundance of reaction formation. No one wants to owe anything to their desire(s); to other people’s desires. Hence why Žižek (who I normally can’t stand) warned, “Don’t be afraid to really want what you desire” at an Occupy Wall Street rally in the fall of 2011. Melancholy is being/becoming used to things not working. Mourning fights against resignation.

Suzanne Scanlon in Promising Young Women:

Roger called it reaction formation. That there was an earlier time and we’d reacted. That it all came own to adaptation and reaction. It was desire and its opposite. It was the anxiety of desire. He said that some of us had chosen unhealthy reactions. We’d become used to this. It became comfortable. You push someone away when you’d rather be close. You stop trying to please when all you want is to please.

‘This worked for a time,’ Roger explained. ‘This protected you. And then it stopped working.’

He went on: ‘Fear and sadness can be comforting, protecting us from attack or attracting sympathy and assistance. Happiness is dangerous; love and joy are risky.’

Roger was direct.

In Love Dog I wrote about my mother telling me the same thing during one of our long Skype calls — how real love (and happiness) is radical which is why so few really want it.

Piece crossposted with Love Dog.