Womb Dance

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pourquoi / why

Even as he obsessively asks himself why he is not loved, the amorous subject lives in the belief that the loved object does love him but does not tell him so.

1. There is a “higher value” for me: my love. I never say to myself: “What is the use?” I am not nihilistic. I do not ask myself the question of ends.[1]  Never a “why” in my monotonous discourse, except for one, always the same: But why is it that you don’t love me? How can one not love this me whom love renders perfect (who gives so much, who confers happiness, etc.)? A question whose insistence survives the amorous episode: “Why didn’t you love me?; or again: O sprich, mein herzallerliebstes Lieb, warum verliessest du mich? – O tell, love of my heart, why have you abandoned me? [2]

2. Soon (or simultaneously) the question is no longer “Why don’t you love me?” but “Why do you only love me a little?” How do you manage to love a little? What does that mean, loving “a little”? I live under the regime of too much or not enough; greedy for coincidence as I am, everything which is not total seems parsimonious; what I want is to occupy a site from which quantities are no longer perceived, and from which all accounts are banished.

Or again – for I am a nominalist: Why don’t you tell me that you love me? 

3. The truth of the matter is that – by an exorbitant paradox – I never stop believing that I am loved. I hallucinate what I desire. [3]  Each wound proceeds less from a doubt than from a betrayal: for only the one who loves can betray, only the one who believes himself loved can be jealous: that the other, episodically, should fail in his being, which is to love me – that is the orgin of all my woes. A delirium, however, does not exist unless one wakens from it (there are only retrospective deliriums): one day, I realize what has happened to me: I thought I was suffering from not being loved, and yet it is because I thought I was loved that I was suffering; I lived in the complication of supposing myself simultaneously loved and abandoned. Anyone hearing my intimate language would have had to exclaim, as of a difficult child: But after all, what does he want?

(I love you becomes you love me. One day, X receives some orchids, anonymously: he immediately hallucinates their source: they could only come from the person who loves him; and the person who loves him could only be the person he loves. It is only after a long period of investigation that he manages to dissociate the two inferences: the person who loves him is not necessarily the person he loves.)

Roland Barthes

A Lover’s Discourse (1977)

 1 NIETZSCHE: “What does nihilism signify? That the higher values are losing their value.The ends are lacking, there is no answer to this question ‘What’s the use?’ “

 2 HEINE: “Lyrisches Intermezzo.”

 3 FREUD: “We must take into account the fact that the hallucinatory psychosis of desire not only…brings concealed or repressed desires to consciousness but, further, represents them in all good faith as realized.”

Related: Love Means the End of Happiness

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