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IN PRAISE !

" LOVE
ALAIN BADIOU
vilh NicoIas Truong
Trans|aic! |q Pcicr Busn
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'As we know, love needs re-inventing.
Arlhur Rimbaud
A scascn in nc||, Ha||ucinaiicns 1
CONTENT5
Inlroduclion
I Love Under Threal
II IhiIosohers and Love
III The Conslruclion of Love
IV The Trulh of Love
V Love and IoIilics
VI Love and Arl
In ConcIusion
INTRODUCTION
A hiIosoher musl never forgel lhe counlIess
silualions in Iife vhen he is no differenl from
anyone eIse. If he does, lhealricaI lradilion,
arlicuIarIy comedy, viII rudeIy remind him of
lhal facl. There is, afler aII, a slock slage characler,
lhe hiIosoher in Iove, vhose Sloic visdom and
veII-rehearsed dislrusl of assion evaorale in
lheir enlirely lhe momenl a dazzIingIy beaulifuI
voman svees inlo lhe room and bIovs him
avay forever.
I reaIised lhis a Iong lime ago. I have suggesled
lhal a hiIosoher (and lhis neulraI noun
naluraIIy encomasses bolh maIe and femaIe
ALAI N BADI OU
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2
varielies) musl be an accomIished scienlisl, an
amaleur oel and a oIilicaI aclivisl, bul aIso
has lo accel lhal lhe reaIm of lhoughl is never
seaIed off from lhe vioIenl onsIaughls of Iove.
IhiIosohy requires ils raclilioners of eilher
gender lo assume lhe roIes of savanl, arlisl,
aclivisl and Iover. I have caIIed lhem lhe four
ccn!iiicns of hiIosohy.
Thal vas vhy I immedialeIy agreed vhen
NicoIas Truong inviled me lo |oin him in conver-
salion in lhe Thealre of Ideas series he organises
al lhe Avignon IeslivaI. Il Iooked as if il vouId be
a deIicious cocklaiI of lhealre, crovds, conversa-
lion, Iove and hiIosohy. esides, il vas going lo
be heId on 14 }uIy (2008) and I vas exciled by lhe
idea of ceIebraling Iove, a cosmooIilan, subver-
sive, sexuaI energy lhal lransgresses fronliers
and sociaI slalus al a lime normaIIy devoled lo
lhe Army, lhe Nalion and lhe Slale.
Lel's nov bIov our ovn lrumel a IillIe:
3
IN P RAI 5E OF LOVE
NicoIas asked lhe queslions, and I erformed
lhe ambiguous roIe of a hiIosoher of Iove, ve
vorked veII logelher and il vas a success. No
doubl aboul il: il vas a hil.
The lexl you are aboul lo read is an eIabora-
lion of vhal ve said on lhe day. Il relains lhe
sonlaneous rhylhm, cIarily and energy bul is
more rounded and incisive. I beIieve lhal, from
slarl lo finish, il is vhal il says il is: raise of Iove,
sung by a hiIosoher vho lhinks, Iike IIalo,
vhom I quole: Anyone vho doesn'l lake Iove as
a slarling oinl viII never undersland lhe nalure
of hiIosohy. So here you have AIain adiou,
lhe hiIosoher Iover, lussIing vilh NicoIas
Truong, a vise inlerrogalor, a hiIosoher, and,
of course, a Iover.
LOVE UNDER THREAT
I
|n The Meaning of Sarkozy, a |cck inai nas
su|scqucni|q |cccnc jancus, qcu arguc inai uc
nusi rc-intcni |ctc |ui a|sc quiic sinp|q !cjcn!
ii, |ccausc ii jaccs inrcais jrcn a|| si!cs. |n unai
uaqs is ii inrcaicnc!? Hcu, in qcur ticu, natc inc
arrangc! narriagcs cj qcsicrqcar |ccn rc-packagc!
in inc ncu c|cincs cj ic!aq? | |c|ictc inai rcccni
pu||iciiq jcr a !aiing uc|siic nas pariicu|ar|q
siruck qcu...
Thal's righl, Iaris is Iaslered vilh oslers for
lhe Meelic inlernel daling-sile, vhose ads I find
reaIIy dislurbing. I couId menlion a number of
6
ALAI N BADI OU
sIogans ils hye uses. The firsl misaroriales
lhe lilIe of Marivaux's Iay, Tnc Ganc cj Ictc
an! Cnancc, Gel Iove vilhoul chance! And
lhen anolher says: e in Iove vilhoul faIIing in
Iove! No ralures, righl` Then: Gel erfecl Iove
vilhoul suffering! And aII lhanks lo lhe Meelic
daling-sile... lhal offers inlo lhe bargain - and
lhe nolion lakes my brealh avay - coaching in
Iove. So lhey suIy you vilh a lrainer vho viII
reare you lo face lhe lesl.
I beIieve lhis hye refIecls a safely-firsl
concel of Iove. Il is Iove comrehensiveIy
insured againsl aII risks: you viII have Iove, bul
viII have assessed lhe roseclive reIalionshi
so lhoroughIy, viII have seIecled your arlner
so carefuIIy by searching onIine - by oblaining,
of course, a holo, delaiIs of his or her lasles,
dale of birlh, horoscoe sign, elc. - and ulling
il aII in lhe mix you can leII yourseIf: This is
a risk-free olion! Thal's lheir ilch and il's
7
IN P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
fascinaling lhal lhe ad camaign shouId adol
il. CIearIy, inasmuch as Iove is a Ieasure aImosl
everyone is Iooking for, lhe lhing lhal gives
meaning and inlensily lo aImosl everyone's Iife, I
am convinced lhal Iove cannol be a gifl given on
lhe basis of a comIele Iack of risk. The Meelic
aroach reminds me of lhe roaganda of lhe
American army vhen romoling lhe idea of
smarl bombs and zero dead vars.
Sc !c qcu inink incrc is a ccnncciicn |ciuccn
zcrc !ca! uars an! zcrc risk |ctc, in inc
sanc uaq inai sccic|cgisis, |icnar! Scnncii an!
Zqgnuni Baunan, scc an ana|cgq |ciuccn inc
Nc ccnniincni ic qcu inai jinancc capiia|isn
ic||s inc casua| ucrkcr ic inc Nc ccnniincni
jcr nq pari inc |ctcr ic||s nis cr ncr parincr as
incq j|cai in a ucr|! uncrc rc|aiicnsnips arc na!c
an! unna!c in inc nanc cj a ccsq, ccnsuncrisi
pcrnissitcncss?
8
ALAI N BADI OU
Il's aII ralher lhe same scenario. Zero dealhs
var, zero risks Iove, nolhing random, no
chance encounlers. acked as il is, vilh aII lhe
resources of a vide-scaIe adverlising camaign,
I see il as lhe firsl lhreal lo Iove, vhal I vouId
caII lhe safely lhreal. Afler aII, il's nol so very
differenl lo an arranged marriage. Nol done
in lhe name of famiIy order and hierarchy by
desolic arenls, bul in lhe name of safely for
lhe individuaIs invoIved, lhrough advance agree-
menls lhal avoid randomness, chance encoun-
lers and in lhe end any exislenliaI oelry, due lo
lhe calegoricaI absence of risks.
The second lhreal Iove faces is lo deny lhal il
is al aII imorlanl. The counleroinl lo lhe safely
lhreal is lhe idea lhal Iove is onIy a varianl of
ramanl hedonism and lhe vide range of ossibIe
en|oymenl. The aim is lo avoid any immediale
chaIIenge, any dee and genuine exerience of
lhe olherness from vhich Iove is voven. Hovever,
IN PRAI 5E OF LOVE
ve shouId add lhal as lhe risk faclor can never
be comIeleIy eIiminaled, Meelic's ubIicily, Iike
lhe roaganda for imeriaI armies, says lhal lhe
risks viII be everyone eIse's! If you have been veII
lrained for Iove, foIIoving lhe canons of modern
safely, you von'l find il difficuIl lo disalch lhe
olher erson if lhey do nol suil. If he suffers, lhal's
his robIem, righl` He's nol arl of modernily. In
lhe same vay lhal zero dealhs aIy onIy lo
lhe Weslern miIilary. The bombs lhey dro kiII a
Iol of eoIe vho are lo bIame for Iiving under-
nealh. ul lhese casuaIlies are Afghans, IaIes-
linians... They don'l beIong lo modernily eilher.
Safely-firsl Iove, Iike everylhing governed by lhe
norm of safely, imIies lhe absence of risks for
eoIe vho have a good insurance oIicy, a good
army, a good oIice force, a good sychoIogicaI
lake on ersonaI hedonism, and aII risks for lhose
on lhe oosile side.
You musl have noliced hov ve are aIvays
10
AL AI N BADI OU
being loId lhal lhings are being deaIl vilh for
your comforl and safely, from olhoIes in
avemenls lo oIice alroIs in lhe melro. Love
confronls lvo enemies, essenliaIIy: safely guar-
anleed by an insurance oIicy and lhe comforl
zone Iimiled by reguIaled Ieasures.
Sc incrc is a kin! cj paci |ciuccn |i|criarian an!
|i|cra| i!cas cn |ctc?
In effecl I lhink lhal IiberaIs and Iiberlarians
converge around lhe idea lhal Iove is a fuliIe
risk. And lhal, on lhe one hand, you can have
a kind of veII-Ianned marriage ursued vilh
aII lhe deIighls of consummalion and, on lhe
olher, fun sexuaI arrangemenls fuII of Ieasure,
if you disregard assion. Seen from lhis ersec-
live, I reaIIy do lhink lhal Iove, in loday's vorId,
is caughl in lhis bind, in lhis vicious circIe and is
consequenlIy under lhreal. I lhink il is lhe lask
IN P RAI 5E OF LOVE
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1 1
of hiIosohy, as veII as olher fieIds, lo raIIy lo
ils defence. And lhal robabIy means, as lhe oel
Rimbaud said, lhal il aIso needs re-invenling. Il
cannol be a defensive aclion simIy lo mainlain
lhe slalus quo. The vorId is fuII of nev deveI-
omenls and Iove musl aIso be somelhing
lhal innovales. Risk and advenlure musl be
re-invenled againsl safely and comforl.
PHILO5OPHER5 AND LOVE
Ycu |crrcu jrcn |in|au! inc pnrasc Ictc ncc!s
rc-intcniing an! !rau cn nuncrcus pccis an!
uriicrs as qcu !ctc|cp qcur cun ccnccpiicn cj |ctc.
Bui jirsi uc sncu|! pcrnaps ask qucsiicns cj cincr
pni|cscpncrs. Ycu natc |ccn inprcssc! |q inc jaci
inai sc jcu natc sncun a scricus inicrcsi in |ctc,
an! uncn incq natc, qcu usua||q !isagrcc uiin
incn. Wnq?
The reIalionshi belveen hiIosohers and
Iove is cerlainIy far from slraighlforvard. Aude
LanceIin and Marie Lemonnier's Pni|cscpncrs an!
Ictc jrcn Sccraics ic Sincnc !c Bcautcir shovs
13
IN PRAI 5E OF LOVE
lhal very cIearIy. The book has added inleresl in
lhal il combines an examinalion of lhe hiIoso-
hers' lhinking and lheir Iives vilhoul dumbing
dovn. In lhal sense, il is aImosl unrece-
denled. The book shovs hov hiIosohy osciI-
Iales belveen lvo exlremes vhen il comes lo
Iove, even lhough lhere are aIso inlermediale
oinls of viev. On lhe one hand, lhere is anli-
Iove hiIosohy, Arlhur Schoenhauer being
lhe rime reresenlalive of lhal lendency. He is
veII knovn for vriling lhal he viII never forgive
vomen for exeriencing a assion for Iove, lhus
making il ossibIe lo ereluale a human secies
lhal vas in facl vorlhIess! He is one exlreme. Al
lhe olher, you find hiIosohers vho lransform
Iove inlo one of lhe highesl IeveIs of sub|eclive
exerience. Thal is lhe case vilh Sren Kierke-
gaard, for examIe. Ior Kierkegaard lhere are
lhree IeveIs of exislence. Al lhe aeslhelic IeveI,
lhe exerience of Iove is one of vain seduclion
14
ALAI N BADI OU
and reelilion. The seIfishness of Ieasure and
lhe very seIfishness of lhal seIfishness drive indi-
viduaIs on, lhe archelye being Mozarl's Don
}uan. Al lhe elhicaI IeveI, Iove is genuine and
demonslrales ils ovn seriousness. Il is an elernaI
commilmenl, lurned lovards lhe absoIule,
somelhing Kierkegaard himseIf exerienced
in his Iong courlshi of lhe young Regine. The
elhicaI IeveI can Iead lhe vay lo lhe highesl IeveI,
lhe reIigious IeveI, if lhe absoIule vaIue of lhe
commilmenl is endorsed by marriage. Marriage
is lhus conceived nol as a slrenglhening of lhe
sociaI bond againsl lhe eriIs of vayvard Iove,
bul as lhe inslilulion lhal channeIs genuine Iove
lovards ils fundamenlaI deslinalion. The finaI
lransfiguralion of Iove becomes ossibIe vhen
lhe Igo Iunges lhrough ils ovn lransarency
lo meel lhe over lhal has crealed il: lhal is,
vhen, lhanks lo lhe exerience of Iove, lhe Igo
rools ilseIf in ils divine source. Love lhen moves
15
IN PRAI 5E OF LOVE
beyond seduclion and, lhrough lhe serious
medialion of marriage, becomes a vay lo accede
lo lhe suer-human.
As you can see, hiIosohy slruggIes vilh
huge lension. On lhe one hand, Iove seen as a
naluraI exlravagance of sex arouses a kind of
ralionaI susicion. ConverseIy, ve see an aoIogy
for Iove lhal borders on reIigious eihany. Chris-
lianily hovers in lhe background, a reIigion of
Iove afler aII. And lhe lension is aImosl unbear-
abIe. Thus, vhen Kierkegaard vas finaIIy unabIe
lo conlemIale lhe idea of marrying Regine,
he broke vilh her. In lhe end, he reresenled
lhe aeslhele seducer of lhe firsl IeveI, Iived lhe
elhicaI romise of lhe second and faiIed lo make
lhe lransilion, via lhe reaI-Iife seriousness of
marriage, lo lhe lhird IeveI. NonelheIess, he
visiled lhe vhoIe gamul of forms of hiIosoh-
icaI refIeclion on Iove.
16
ALAI N BADI OU
Occs qcur cun inicrcsi in inis qucsiicn gc |ack ic
inc iniiia| nctc na!c |q P|aic unc iurns |ctc inic
cnc cj inc uaqs cj apprcacning inc |!ca?
IIalo is quile recise in vhal he says aboul Iove:
a seed of universaIily resides in lhe imuIse
lovards Iove. The exerience of Iove is an imuIse
lovards somelhing lhal he caIIs lhe Idea. Thus,
even vhen I am mereIy admiring a beaulifuI
body, vhelher I Iike il or nol, I am in movemenl
lovards lhe idea of eauly. I lhink - in quile
differenl lerms, naluraIIy - aIong lhe same Iines,
nameIy lhal Iove encomasses lhe exerience of
lhe ossibIe lransilion from lhe ure randomness
of chance lo a slale lhal has universaI vaIue.
Slarling oul from somelhing lhal is simIy an
encounler, a lrifIe, you Iearn lhal you can exeri-
ence lhe vorId on lhe basis of difference and
nol onIy in lerms of idenlily. And you can even
be lesled and suffer in lhe rocess. In loday's
27
I N P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
vorId, il is generaIIy lhoughl lhal individuaIs
onIy ursue lheir ovn seIf-inleresl. Love is an
anlidole lo lhal. Irovided il isn'l conceived onIy
as an exchange of muluaI favours, or isn'l caIcu-
Ialed vay in advance as a rofilabIe inveslmenl,
Iove reaIIy is a unique lrusl Iaced in chance.
Il lakes us inlo key areas of lhe exerience of
vhal is difference and, essenliaIIy, Ieads lo lhe
idea lhal you can exerience lhe vorId from lhe
erseclive of difference. In lhis resecl il has
universaI imIicalions: il is an individuaI exeri-
ence of olenliaI universaIily, and is lhus cenlraI
lo hiIosohy, as IIalo vas lhe firsl lo inluil.
Onc cj inc grcai inccriscrs cj |ctc, acccr!ing ic
qcu, jacqucs Iacan, a|sc cngagc! in !ia|cguc uiin
P|aic an! ccnc|u!c!, incrc is nc sucn ining as a
scxua| rc|aiicnsnipW nai !i! nc ncan?
His is a very inleresling lhesis, derived from
AL AI N BADI OU
en
18
a moraIisl, scelicaI erseclive, bul one lhal
Ieads lo lhe conlrary concIusion. }acques Lacan
reminds us, lhal in sex, each individuaI is lo a
Iarge exlenl on lheir ovn, if I can ul il lhal vay.
NaluraIIy, lhe olher's body has lo be medialed, bul
al lhe end of lhe day, lhe Ieasure viII be aIvays
your Ieasure. Sex searales, doesn'l unile. The
facl you are naked and ressing againsl lhe olher
is an image, an imaginary reresenlalion. Whal
is reaI is lhal Ieasure lakes you a Iong vay avay,
very far from lhe olher. Whal is reaI is narcis-
sislic, vhal binds is imaginary. So lhere is no
such lhing as a sexuaI reIalionshi, concIudes
Lacan. His roosilion shocked eoIe since al
lhe lime everybody vas laIking aboul nolhing
eIse bul sexuaI reIalionshis. If lhere is no
sexuaI reIalionshi in sexuaIily, Iove is vhal fiIIs
lhe absence of a sexuaI reIalionshi.
Lacan doesn'l say lhal Iove is a disguise
for sexuaI reIalionshis, he says lhal sexuaI
1 9
I N P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
reIalionshis don'l exisl, lhal Iove is vhal comes
lo reIace lhal non-reIalionshi. Thal's much
more inleresling. This idea Ieads him lo say lhal
in Iove lhe olher lries lo aroach lhe being of
lhe olher. In Iove lhe individuaI goes beyond
himseIf, beyond lhe narcissislic. In sex, you are
reaIIy in a reIalionshi vilh yourseIf via lhe
medialion of lhe olher. The olher heIs you lo
discover lhe reaIily of Ieasure. In Iove, on lhe
conlrary lhe medialion of lhe olher is enough
in ilseIf. Such is lhe nalure of lhe amorous
encounler: you go lo lake on lhe olher, lo make
him or her exisl vilh you, as he or she is. Il is a
much more rofound concelion of Iove lhan lhe
enlireIy banaI viev lhal Iove is no more lhan an
imaginary canvas ainled over lhe reaIily of sex.
In facl, Lacan aIso engages in hiIosohicaI
ambiguilies in reIalion lo Iove. The idea lhal
Iove is vhal fiIIs lhe absence of a sexuaI reIa-
lionshi can indeed be inlerreled in lvo vays.
2 0
AL AI N BADI OU
The firsl and mosl obvious is lhal Iove is vhal lhe
imaginalion emIoys lo fiII lhe emliness crealed
by sex. Il is quile lrue, afler aII, lhal sex, hovever
sIendid il is and cerlainIy can be, ends in a kind
of emliness. Thal is reaIIy vhy il is sub|ecl lo
lhe Iav of reelilion: one musl slarl lime and
lime again. Ivery day, vhen one is young! Then
Iove comes lo be lhe idea lhal somelhing exisls in
lhis void, lhal Iovers are Iinked by somelhing eIse
aarl from lhis reIalionshi lhal doesn'l exisl.
When I vas a very young man, I vas very
slruck, aImosl disgusled, by a assage in Simone
de eauvoir's Tnc Scccn! Scx, vhere she describes,
hov, afler having sex, lhe man feeIs lhe voman's
body is fIal and fIabby and lhe voman feeIs in
araIIeI lhal lhe man's body, aarl from his
erecl member, is generaIIy unallraclive, if nol
sIighlIy ridicuIous. ThealricaI farce or vaude-
viIIe makes us Iaugh vilh a conslanl usage of
simiIar lhoughls. Man's desire is lhe desire of
21
I N P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
lhe comic, big-beIIied, imolenl IhaIIus, and lhe
loolhIess hag vilh sagging breasls is lhe fulure
lhal avails aII beauly. Loving lenderness, vhen
you faII asIee in lhe olher's arms, is Iike Noah's
cIoak casl over lhese unIeasanl consideralions.
ul Lacan aIso lhinks quile lhe oosile, lhal
Iove reaches oul lovards lhe onloIogicaI. WhiIe
desire focuses on lhe olher, aIvays in a somevhal
felishisl manner, on arlicuIar ob|ecls, Iike
breasls, bullocks and cock... Iove focuses on lhe
very being of lhe olher, on lhe olher as il has
eruled, fuIIy armed vilh ils being, inlo my Iife
lhus disruled and re-fashioned.
Wnai qcu arc rca||q saqing is inai incrc arc tcrq
ccnira!icicrq pni|cscpnica| inicrprciaiicns uncn ii
ccncs ic |ctc?
IrinciaIIy lhree. Iirsl, lhere is lhe romanlic
inlerrelalion lhal focuses on lhe ecslasy of lhe
<5+g$U>
22
ALAI N BADI OU
encounler. SecondIy, vhal ve referred briefIy lo
vhen discussing lhe Meelic daling agency, lhe
inlerrelalion based on a commerciaI or IegaI-
islic erseclive, vhich argues lhal Iove musl in
lhe end be a conlracl. A conlracl belveen lvo
free individuaIs vho vouId resumabIy decIare
lhal lhey Iove each olher, lhough lhey never
forgel lhe necessary equaIily of lhe reIalionshi,
lhe syslem of muluaI benefils, elc. IinaIIy, lhere
is lhe scelicaI inlerrelalion lhal lurns Iove
inlo an iIIusion. My ovn hiIosohicaI viev is
allemling lo say lhal Iove cannol be reduced lo
any of lhese aroximalions and is a quesl for
lrulh. Whal kind of lrulh` you viII ask. I mean
lrulh in reIalion lo somelhing quile recise: vhal
kind of vorId does one see vhen one exeriences
il from lhe oinl of viev of lvo and nol one` Whal
is lhe vorId Iike vhen il is exerienced, deveIoed
and Iived from lhe oinl of viev of difference and
nol idenlily` Thal is vhal I beIieve Iove lo be. Il
IN P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
is lhe ro|ecl, naluraIIy incIuding sexuaI desire
in aII ils facels, incIuding lhe birlh of a chiId, bul
aIso a lhousand olher lhings, in facl, anylhing
from lhe momenl our Iives are chaIIenged by lhe
erseclive of difference.
Gitcn inai |ctc, acccr!ing ic qcu, is a nanncr cj
cxpcricncing inc ucr|! cn inc |asis cj !ijjcrcncc,
unq !cni qcu snarc inc ticu cj inc pni|cscpncr
|nnanuc| Ictinas, nanc|q inai inc pcrscn in |ctc
cxpcricnccs in inc pcrscn nc cr snc |ctcs nci a
qua|iiq inai is !ijjcrcni jrcn anq cincr, |ui inc tcrq
qua|iiq cj !ijjcrcncc? Wnq !cni qcu acccpi inai
|ctc is an cxpcricncc cj inc cincr?
I lhink lhal il is essenliaI lo gras lhal lhe
conslruclion of lhe vorId on lhe basis of differ-
ence is quile dislincl from lhe exerience of
difference. Levinas's vision slarls from lhe
irreducibIe exerience of lhe face of lhe olher,
ALAI N BADI OU
an eihany lhal is grounded in God as lhe
AImighly Olher. The exerience of olherness
is cenlraI, because il is lhe foundalion slone of
elhics. In a greal reIigious lradilion, Iove aIso
becomes an elhicaI senlimenl par cxcc||cncc. In
my viev, lhere is nolhing arlicuIarIy elhicaI
aboul Iove as such. I reaIIy don'l Iike aII lhese
lheoIogicaI ruminalions insired by Iove, even
lhough I knov lhey have made a greal imacl
on hislory. I can onIy see lhe uIlimale revenge
of One over Tvo. I beIieve lhere reaIIy is an
encounler vilh lhe olher, bul an encounler is
nol an exerience, il is an evenl lhal remains
quile oaque and onIy finds reaIily in ils muIliIe
resonances vilhin lhe reaI vorId. Nor can I see
Iove as an exerience of communion, nameIy,
an exerience in vhich I forgel myseIf on behaIf
of lhe olher, lhal is a modeI in lhis vorId of vhal
viII finaIIy Iead me lo lhe AImighly Olher. Al
lhe end of |ausi, Goelhe vas aIready asserling
<5*|g/lfcS>
25
I N P RAI 5E OF LOVE
lhal lhe elernaI feminine lakes us Above. I'm
sorry, bul I find such slalemenls ralher obscene.
Love doesn'l lake me above or indeed beIov.
Il is an exislenliaI ro|ecl: lo conslrucl a vorId
from a decenlred oinl of viev olher lhan lhal
of my mere imuIse lo survive or re-affirm my
ovn idenlily.
Here, I am oosing conslruclion lo exe-
rience. When I Iean on lhe shouIder of lhe
voman I Iove, and can see, Iel's say, lhe eace of
lviIighl over a mounlain Iandscae, goId-green
fieIds, lhe shadov of lrees, bIack-nosed shee
molionIess behind hedges and lhe sun aboul lo
disaear behind craggy eaks, and knov - nol
from lhe exression on her face, bul from vilhin
lhe vorId as il is - lhal lhe voman I Iove is seeing
lhe same vorId, and lhal lhis convergence is arl
of lhe vorId and lhal Iove conslilules reciseIy,
al lhal very momenl, lhe aradox of an idenlicaI
difference, lhen Iove exisls, and romises lo
AL AI N BADI OU
conlinue lo exisl. The facl is she and I are nov
incororaled inlo lhis unique Sub|ecl, lhe
Sub|ecl of Iove lhal vievs lhe anorama of lhe
vorId lhrough lhe rism of our difference, so lhis
vorId can be conceived, be born, and nol simIy
reresenl vhal fiIIs my ovn individuaI gaze. Love
is aIvays lhe ossibiIily of being resenl al lhe
birlh of lhe vorId. The birlh of a chiId, if born
from vilhin Iove, is yel anolher examIe of lhis
ossibiIily.
I I I
THE CON5TRUCTION OF LOVE
<55i/mp
Icis ncu iurn ic qcur cun ccnccpiicn cj |ctc. Wc
natc ncniicnc! inai |in|au! uanic! ic rc-intcni
|ctc. Bui rc-intcni ii siariing cui jrcn unicn i!ca
a|cui |ctc?
I lhink ve shouId aroach lhe queslion of Iove
from lvo oinls lhal corresond lo everyone's
exerience. IirslIy, Iove invoIves a searalion
or dis|unclure based on lhe simIe difference
belveen lvo eoIe and lheir infinile sub|ec-
livilies. This dis|unclure is, in mosl cases, sexuaI
difference. When lhal isn'l lhe case, Iove sliII
ensures lhal lvo figures, lvo differenl inlerrelive
ALAI N BADI OU
slances are sel in oosilion. In olher vords,
Iove conlains an iniliaI eIemenl lhal searales,
disIocales and differenliales. You have Tuc. Love
invoIves Tvo.
The second oinl is lhal reciseIy because il
encomasses a dis|unclure, al lhe momenl vhen
lhis Tvo aear on slage as such and exerience
lhe vorId in a nev vay, il can onIy assume a
risky or conlingenl form. Thal is vhal ve knov
as lhe encounler. Love aIvays slarls vilh an
encounler. And I vouId give lhis encounler
lhe quasi-melahysicaI slalus of an ctcni,
nameIy of somelhing lhal doesn'l enler inlo lhe
immediale order of lhings. There are innumer-
abIe examIes in arl or Iileralure lhal describe
such a slarling-oinl for Iove. Many slories or
noveIs focus on cases vhere Tvo are arlicuIarIy
marked oul, vhen lhe lvo Iovers don'l beIong
lo lhe same cIass, grou, cIan or counlry. |cncc
an! ju|ici is cIearIy lhe oulslanding aIIegory for
I N P RAI 5E OF LOVE
lhis arlicuIar dis|unclure because lhis Tvo
beIong lo enemy cams. We shouIdn'l under-
eslimale lhe over Iove ossesses lo sIice diago-
naIIy lhrough lhe mosl overfuI oosilions and
radicaI searalions. The encounler belveen lvo
differences is an evenl, is conlingenl and discon-
cerling, Iove's surrises, lhealre yel again. On
lhe basis of lhis evenl, Iove can slarl and fIourish.
Il is lhe firsl, absoIuleIy essenliaI oinl. This
surrise unIeashes a rocess lhal is basicaIIy an
exerience of gelling lo knov lhe vorId. Love
isn'l simIy aboul lvo eoIe meeling and lheir
invard-Iooking reIalionshi: il is a conslruc-
lion, a Iife lhal is being made, no Ionger from
lhe erseclive of One bul rom lhe erseclive
of Tvo. And lhal is vhal I have caIIed a Tvo
scene. IersonaIIy, I have aIvays been inleresled
in issues of duralion and rocess, and nol onIy
slarling-oinls.
30
ALAI N BADI OU
Acccr!ing ic qcu, |ctc cani |c rcsiricic! ic inc
ncciing, |ui iakcs snapc ctcr iinc. Wnq !c qcu
rcjcci inc jusicn inicrprciaiicn cj |ctc?
I lhink many eoIe sliII cIing lo a romanlic
concelion of Iove lhal in a vay absorbs Iove in
lhe encounler. Love is simuIlaneousIy igniled,
consummaled and consumed in lhe meeling, in
a magicaI momenl oulside lhe vorId as il reaIIy
is. Somelhing haens lhal is in lhe nalure of a
miracIe, an exislenliaI inlensily, an encounler
Ieading lo meIldovn. ul vhen lhings haen
lhal vay, ve aren'l vilnessing a Tvo scene bul
a One scene. Il is lhe meIldovn concel of Iove:
lhe lvo Iovers mel and somelhing Iike a heroic
acl for One vas enacled againsl lhe vorId. In
Romanlic mylhoIogy ve can see hov lhis oinl
of fusion very oflen Ieads lo dealh. There is a
cIose and rofound Iink belveen Iove and dealh,
lhe highesl oinl of vhich no doubl is Richard
31
IN P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
Wagner's Trisian an! |sc|!c, because Iove is
consumed in lhe ineffabIe, excelionaI momenl
of lhe encounler, afler vhich il is imossibIe lo
go back lo a vorId lhal remains exlernaI lo lhe
reIalionshi.
This is a radicaIIy Romanlic inlerrelalion
lhal I lhink ve need lo chaIIenge. Il is arlisli-
caIIy exlremeIy beaulifuI bul, in my oinion,
il is exislenliaIIy seriousIy Iacking. I beIieve ve
shouId accel il as a overfuI arlislic mylh,
bul nol as a genuine hiIosohy of Iove. Afler
aII, Iove lakes Iace in lhe vorId. Il is an evenl
lhal can'l be redicled or caIcuIaled in lerms of
lhe vorId's Iavs. Nolhing enabIes one lo re-
arrange lhe encounler - nol even Meelic, and
aII lhose Iong, rearalory chals!: in lhe end,
lhe momenl you see each olher in lhe fIesh, you
see each olher, and lhal's lhal, and il's oul of
conlroI! Hovever, Iove cannol be reduced lo lhe
firsl encounler, because il is a conslruclion. The
32
ALAI N BADI OU
enigma in lhinking aboul Iove is lhe duralion of
lime necessary for il lo fIourish. In facl, il isn'l
lhe ecslasy of lhose beginnings lhal is remark-
abIe. The Ialler are cIearIy ecslalic, bul Iove is
above aII a conslruclion lhal Iasls. We couId say
lhal Iove is a lenacious advenlure. The adven-
lurous side is necessary, bul equaIIy so is lhe
need for lenacily. To give u al lhe firsl hurdIe,
lhe firsl serious disagreemenl, lhe firsl quarreI, is
onIy lo dislorl Iove. ReaI Iove is one lhal lriumhs
IaslingIy, somelimes ainfuIIy, over lhe hurdIes
erecled by lime, sace and lhe vorId.
An! unai is inis ccnsiruciicn |ikc?
The slorybooks are relly siIenl on lhal fronl,
aren'l lhey` The end of lhe slory says, They gol
married and had Iols of chiIdren. Yes, sure, bul
is Iove simIy aboul gelling married` And having
Iols of chiIdren` Such an exIanalion is ralher
33
I N P RAI 5E OF LOVE
suerficiaI and hackneyed. The idea lhal Iove is
excIusiveIy fuIfiIIed or enacled via lhe crealion of
a famiIy universe is far from salisfaclory. Nol lhal
lhe famiIy universe isn'l arl of Iove - 1, for one,
cerlainIy lhink il is - bul il can'l be reduced lo
lhal. We shouId undersland lhal lhe birlh of a
chiId is arl of Iove, bul shouIdn'l lhen concIude
lhal lhe birlh of a chiId is lhe fuIfiImenl of Iove.
I am reaIIy inleresled in lhe lime Iove endures.
Lel's be more recise: by endure one shouId
nol simIy undersland lhal Iove Iasls, lhal Iove
is forever or aIvays. One has lo undersland lhal
Iove invenls a differenl vay of Iasling in Iife.
Thal everyone's exislence, vhen lesled by Iove,
confronls a nev vay of exeriencing lime. Of
course, if ve echo lhe oel, Iove is aIso lhe lhe
dour desire lo endure. ul, more lhan lhal, il
is lhe desire for an unknovn duralion. ecause,
as ve aII knov, Iove is a re-invenlion of Iife. To
re-invenl Iove is lo re-invenl lhal re-invenlion.
<3l+
ALAI N BADI OU
|n qcur |cck, Condilions, qcu cna||cngc a nun|cr
cj cn!uring i!cas a|cui |ctc, ncia||q inc i!ca inai
inc jcc|ing cj |cing in |ctc is an i||usicn, a ccnccpi
ccnira| ic inc pcssinisiic ira!iiicn cj inc |rcncn
ncra|isis, acccr!ing ic unicn |ctc is |ui inc
!cccraiitc jaa!c tia unicn inc rca|iiq cj scx asscris
iisc|j cr unicn ccnsi!crs inai |ctc is csscniia||q
!csirc an! scxua| jca|cusq. Wnq !c qcu criiicisc
inis ccnccpiicn?
This moraIisl concel beIongs lo a lradilion of
scelicism. This hiIosohy cIaims lhal Iove
doesn'l reaIIy exisl and is mereIy camoufIaging
desire. Desire is lhe onIy lhing lhal reaIIy exisls.
According lo lhis vision, Iove is mereIy somelhing
lhe imaginalion conslrucls lo give a veneer lo
sexuaI desire. This idea, lhal has a Iong hislory,
encourages everybody lo be susicious aboul
Iove. Il aIso beIongs lo lhe Ianguage of safely-
firsl, because il is basicaIIy saying: Lislen, if
IN P RAI 5E OF LOVE
cgj5iic
35
you have sexuaI desires, fuIfiI lhem. ul lhere's
no need lo gel hooked on lhe idea lhal you have
lo Iove someone. Iorgel aII lhal and |usl do il!
Hovever, in lhal case, I vouId say lhal Iove is
being undermined - or de-conslrucled, if you
Iike - in lhe name of lhe reaIily of sex.
In lhis resecl, I vouId Iike lo refer lo my ovn
exerience. I knov, I lhink, Iike aImosl everyone
eIse, aboul lhe drive and insislence of sexuaI
desire. Age doesn'l Iel me forgel lhal. I aIso
knov lhal Iove inscribes lhe fuIfiImenl of lhis
desire vilhin lhe course of ils ovn deveIomenl.
And lhis is imorlanl, because, as lhe Iileralure
says from lime immemoriaI, lhe fuIfiImenl of
sexuaI desire aIso funclions Iike one of lhose rare
maleriaI roofs, lolaIIy Iinked lo lhe body, lhal
Iove is more lhan a mere decIaralion of vords.
A decIaralion of lhe I Iove you kind seaIs lhe
acl of lhe encounler, is cenlraI and conslilules
a commilmenl. ul surrendering your body,
ALAI N BADI OU
laking your cIolhes off, being naked for lhe olher,
rehearsing lhose haIIoved geslures, renouncing
aII embarrassmenl, shouling, aII lhis invoIve-
menl of lhe body is evidence of a surrender lo
Iove. Il cruciaIIy dislinguishes il from friendshi.
Iriendshi doesn'l invoIve bodiIy conlacl, or any
resonances in Ieasure of lhe body. Thal's vhy il
is a more inleIIecluaI allachmenl, and one lhal
hiIosohers vho are susicious of assion have
aIvays referred. Love, arlicuIarIy over lime,
embraces aII lhe osilive asecls of friendshi
bul Iove reIales lo lhe lolaIily of lhe being of lhe
olher, and lhe surrender of lhe body becomes
lhe maleriaI symboI of lhal lolaIily. IeoIe can
say: Thal's nol lrue! Il is desire and desire aIone
lhal's al vork lhere. I vouId mainlain lhal,
vilhin lhe framevork of a Iove lhal decIares
ilseIf, lhis decIaralion, even if il remains Ialenl,
is vhal roduces lhe effecls of desire, and nol
desire ilseIf. Love roves ilseIf by ermealing
fcg/SSs
37
IN PRAI 5E OF LOVE
desire. The riluaI of bodies is lhen lhe maleriaI
exression of lhe vord, il communicales lhe idea
lhal lhe romise lo re-invenl Iife viII be fuIfiIIed,
iniliaIIy in lerms of lhe body. ul even in lheir
viIdesl deIirium, Iovers knov lhal Iove is lhere,
Iike lheir bodies' guardian angeI, vhen lhey
vake u in lhe morning, vhen eace descends
over lhe roof lhal lheir bodies have grased lhal
Iove has been decIared.
Thal is vhy I beIieve Iove cannol be and isn'l
for anyone, aarl from lhe ideoIogues keen lo
erase il, a mere cIoak for sexuaI desire, a sohis-
licaled, chimericaI Ioy lo ensure lhe survivaI of
lhe secies.
THE TRUTH OF LOVE
IV
Ycu ucrc rcnin!ing us car|icr inai P|aic na!
a|rca!q i!cniijic! inc pariicu|ar |ink inai cxisis
|ciuccn |ctc an! iruin. Bui in unai uaq !c qcu
inink inai |ctc is a iruin prccc!urc?
I beIieve lhal Iove is indeed vhal I caII in my ovn
hiIosohicaI |argon a lrulh rocedure, lhal is,
an exerience vhereby a cerlain kind of lrulh is
conslrucled. This lrulh is quile simIy lhe lrulh
aboul Tvo: lhe lrulh lhal derives from difference
as such. And I lhink lhal Iove - vhal I caII lhe
Tvo scene - is lhis exerience. In lhis sense,
aII Iove lhal accels lhe chaIIenge, commils lo
<3^g!!"
IN P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
enduring, and embraces lhis exerience of lhe
vorId from lhe erseclive of difference roduces
in ils vay a nev lrulh aboul difference.
Thal is vhy Iove lhal is reaI is aIvays of
inleresl lo lhe vhoIe of humanily, hovever
humbIe, hovever hidden, lhal Iove mighl seem
on lhe surface. We knov hov eoIe gel carried
avay by Iove slories! A hiIosoher musl ask
vhy lhal haens. Why are lhere so many fiIms,
noveIs, and songs lhal are enlireIy given over lo
Iove slories` There musl be somelhing universaI
aboul Iove for lhese slories lo inleresl such an
enormous audience. Whal is universaI is lhal aII
Iove suggesls a nev exerience of lrulh aboul
vhal il is lo be lvo and nol one. Thal ve can
encounler and exerience lhe vorId olher lhan
lhrough a soIilary consciousness: any Iove vhal-
soever gives us nev evidence of lhis. And lhal is
vhy ve Iike lo Iove, as Sl Augusline says, ve Iike
lo Iove, bul ve aIso Iike olhers lo Iove us: quile
4 0
ALAI N BADI OU
simIy because ve Iove lrulhs. Thal is vhal gives
hiIosohy ils meaning: eoIe Iike lrulhs, even
vhen lhey don'l knov lhal lhey Iike lhem.
|i sccns inai inis iruin ncc!s ic |c spckcn, an! qcu
natc ia|kc! a|cui |ctc inai is !cc|arc!Acccr!ing
ic qcuj cj ncccssiiq, incrc is a siagc in |ctc uncn
|ctc is !cc|arc!. Wnq is ii sc tiia| jcr |ctc ic |c
spckcn?
ecause lhe decIaralion is inscribed in lhe
slruclure of lhe evenl ilseIf. Iirsl, you have an
encounler. I oinled oul hov Iove begins vilh
lhe vhoIIy conlingenl, random characler of lhe
encounler. These reaIIy are games of Iove and
chance. And lhey are unavoidabIe. They aIvays
exisl, desile lhal ubIicily hye I menlioned.
ul chance, al a given momenl, musl be curbed.
Il musl lurn inlo a rocess lhal can Iasl. This is
a very difficuIl, aImosl melahysicaI robIem:
IN P RAI 5E OF LOVE
<+ginp
41
hov can vhal is ure chance al lhe oulsel
become lhe fuIcrum for a conslruclion of lrulh`
Hov can somelhing lhal vas basicaIIy unre-
diclabIe and seemed lied lo lhe unrediclabIe
vagaries of exislence neverlheIess become lhe
enlire meaning of lvo Iives lhal have mel, aired
off, lhal viII engage in lhe exlended exeri-
ence of lhe conslanl (re)-birlh of lhe vorId via
lhe medialion of lhe difference in lheir gazes`
Hov do you move from a mere encounler lo lhe
aradox of a singIe vorId vhere il is reveaIed
lhal ve are lvo` Il is a comIele myslery. And
lhis is vhal reaIIy nourishes scelicism aboul
Iove. IeoIe viII say, vhy laIk aboul greal lrulh
in resecl of lhe quile banaI facl lhal So and So
mel his or her coIIeague al vork` Thal's exaclIy
vhal ve musl emhasise: an aarenlIy insig-
nificanl acl, bul one lhal is a reaIIy radicaI evenl
in Iife al a micro-IeveI, bears universaI meaning
in lhe vay il ersisls and endures.
42
ALAI N BADI OU
NeverlheIess, il is righl lhal chance musl be
curbed. Il is somelhing MaIIarme said: Chance
is al Iasl curbed... He says il aboul oelry, nol
aboul Iove. ul his vords can be quile usefuIIy
aIied lo Iove and lhe decIaralion of Iove, vilh
lhe lerribIe difficuIlies and varielies of anguish
lhey bring. esides, lhe affinilies belveen oems
and decIaralions of Iove are veII knovn. In bolh
cases, huge risks are invoIved lhal are deendenl
on Ianguage ilseIf. Il is aboul ullering a vord
lhe effecls of vhich, in exislence, can be aImosl
infinile. Thal is aIso lhe desire driving a oem.
The simIesl vords become charged vilh an
inlensily lhal is aImosl inloIerabIe. To make a
decIaralion of Iove is lo move on from lhe evenl-
encounler lo embark on a conslruclion of lrulh.
The chance nalure of lhe encounler morhs
inlo lhe assumlion of a beginning. And oflen
vhal slarls lhere Iasls so Iong, is so charged
vilh noveIly and exerience of lhe vorId lhal
43
IN P RAI 5E OF LOVE
in relrosecl il doesn'l seem al aII random and
conlingenl, as il aeared iniliaIIy, bul aImosl
a necessily. Thal is hov chance is curbed: lhe
absoIule conlingency of lhe encounler vilh
someone I didn'l knov finaIIy lakes on lhe
aearance of desliny. The decIaralion of Iove
marks lhe lransilion from chance lo desliny, and
lhal's vhy il is so eriIous and so burdened vilh
a kind of horrifying slage frighl. Moreover, lhe
decIaralion of Iove isn'l necessariIy a one-off, il
can be rolracled, diffuse, confused, enlangIed,
slaled and re-slaled, and even deslined lo be
re-slaled yel again. Thal is lhe momenl vhen
chance is curbed, vhen you say lo yourseIf: I
musl leII lhe olher erson aboul vhal haened,
aboul lhal encounler and lhe incidenls vilhin
lhe encounler. I viII leII lhe olher lhal somelhing
lhal commils me look Iace, al Ieasl as I see il.
In a vord: I Iove you. If I Iove you isn'l simIy
a Ioy lo sIee vilh somebody, vhich can be lhe
4 4
ALAI N BADI OU
case. If il isn'l a Ioy, vhal is il` Whal's being
said lhere` Il isn'l al aII easy lo say I Iove you.
Thal smaII senlence is usuaIIy lhoughl lo be
comIeleIy meaningIess and banaI. Moreover,
eoIe somelimes refer lo use olher more oelic,
Iess commonIace vords lo say I Iove you. ul
vhal lhey are aIvays saying is: I shaII exlracl
somelhing eIse from vhal vas mere chance.
I'm going lo exlracl somelhing lhal viII endure,
somelhing lhal viII ersisl, a commilmenl, a
fideIily. And here I am using lhe vord fideIily
vilhin my ovn hiIosohicaI |argon, slried of
ils usuaI connolalions. Il means reciseIy lhal
lransilion from random encounler lo a conslruc-
lion lhal is resiIienl, as if il had been necessary.
|n inis ccnicxi, | ucu|! |ikc ic qucic jrcn inc tcrq
|cauiiju| ucrk |q An!rc Gcrz, Leller lo D., inc
!cc|araiicn cj |ctc na!c |q inc pni|cscpncr ic nis
uijc, Ocrinc, an! inc narraiicn cj a |ctc inai, ij |
4 5
I N P RAI 5E OF LOVE
naq saq sc, nas a|uaqs cn!urc!. iis cpcning |incs
arc, Ycu|| sccn |c cigniq-iuc. Ycu natc snrunk
six ccniincircs, qcu cn|q ucign jcriq-jitc ki|cs qci
qcu arc as |cauiiju|, gracicus an! !csira||c as ctcr.
Wc natc ncu |itc! icgcincr jcr jijiq-cigni qcars an!
| |ctc qcu ncrc inan ctcr. |n inc nc||cu cj nq cncsi
| can jcc| again inai rataging cnpiincss inai can
cn|q |c ji||c! |q inc uarnin cj qcur |c!q againsi
ninc. Wnai ncaning !c qcu gitc ic ji!c|iiq P
Isn'l lhe meaning of fideIily much broader lhan
lhe simIe romise nol lo sIee vilh someone eIse`
Doesn'l il in facl shov lhal lhe iniliaI I Iove you
is a commilmenl requiring no arlicuIar conse-
cralion, lhe commilmenl lo conslrucl somelhing
lhal viII endure in order lo reIease lhe encounler
from ils randomness` MaIIarme sav a oem as
chance defealed vord by vord. In Iove, fideIily
signifies lhis exlended viclory: lhe randomness
of an encounler defealed day afler day lhrough
46
ALAI N BADI OU
lhe invenlion of vhal viII endure, lhrough lhe
birlh of a vorId. Why do eoIe so oflen say: I
viII aIvays Iove you` Irovided, of course, lhal il
isn'l a Ioy. The moraIisls have naluraIIy mocked
lhal, saying il is never in facl lrue. IirslIy, il isn'l
lrue lhal il is never lrue. There are eoIe vho
aIvays Iove each olher, and a Iol more lhan you
mighl lhink or say.
Iverybody knovs lhal deciding lo break off
such Iove, arlicuIarIy uniIaleraIIy, is aIvays
a disasler, vhalever lhe exceIIenl reasons ul
forvard lo suorl such a move. I have onIy
once in my Iife given u on a Iove. Il vas my firsl
Iove, and lhen graduaIIy I became so avare lhis
sle had been a mislake lhal I lried lo recover
lhal iniliaI Iove, Iale, very Iale - lhe dealh of lhe
Ioved one vas aroaching - bul vilh a unique
inlensily and feeIing of necessily. SubsequenlIy,
I have never renounced a Iove. There have been
dramas and hearl vrenching and doubls, bul I
47
IN P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
have never again abandoned a Iove. And I feeI
reaIIy assured by lhe facl lhal lhe vomen I have
Ioved I have Ioved for aIvays. So I have ersonaI
reasons for knoving lhal lhe scelics' barb is far
from lhe lrulh. And secondIy if I Iove you is
aIvays, in mosl resecls, lhe heraIding of 'TiI
aIvays Iove you, il is in effecl Iocking chance
inlo lhe framevork of elernily. We shouIdn'l be
afraid of vords. The Iocking in of chance is an
anlicialion of elernily. And lo an exlenl, every
Iove slales lhal il is elernaI: il is assumed vilhin
lhe decIaralion...
The robIem lhen resides in inscribing lhis
elernily vilhin lime. ecause, basicaIIy, lhal
is vhal Iove is: a decIaralion of elernily lo be
fuIfiIIed or unfurIed as besl il can be vilhin lime:
elernily descending inlo lime. Thal's vhy il is
such an inlense feeIing. In lhe end, you knov, lhe
scelics even make us Iaugh, because, if one lried
lo give u Iove, lo slo beIieving in il, il vouId
48
ALAI N BADI OU
be a genuine, sub|eclive disasler and everybody
knovs lhis. Life, one musl say, vouId become
very grey. So Iove remains overfuI, sub|ecliveIy
overfuI: one of lhose rare exeriences vhere,
on lhe basis of chance inscribed in a momenl,
you alleml a decIaralion of elernily. AIvays
is lhe vord used lo decIare elernily. ecause you
cannol knov vhal lhal aIvays means or hov
Iong il viII Iasl. AIvays means elernaIIy. Il is
simIy a commilmenl vilhin lime, because you
have lo be a CIaudeI lo beIieve lhal Iove endures
beyond lime, in lhe fabuIous vorId of lhe afler-
Iife. ul Iove, lhe essence of vhich is fideIily in
lhe meaning I give lo lhis vord, demonslrales
hov elernily can exisl vilhin lhe lime san of
Iife ilseIf. Hainess, in a vord! Yes, hainess
in Iove is lhe roof lhal lime can accommo-
dale elernily. And you can aIso find roof in lhe
oIilicaI enlhusiasm you feeI vhen arlicialing
in a revoIulionary acl, in lhe Ieasure given by
P
vorks of arl and lhe aImosl suernaluraI |oy you
exerience vhen you al Iasl gras in delh lhe
meaning of a scienlific lheory.
Icis assunc inai |ctc is inc a!tcni cj Tuc as sucn,
inc Tuc sccnc. Wnai a|cui inc cni|!? Wcni a
cni|! a|icr cr cnangc inis Tuc sccnc? |sni nc inc
Onc unc ui|| |ring icgcincr inc Tuc cj inc
|ctcrs, |ui a|sc a Tnrcc unc can cxicn! qci a|sc
scparaic incn?
This is bolh a rofound and inleresling queslion.
An erudile friend of mine, a raclising }ev,
}erme ennaroch arlIy accels my lhesis
aboul Iove. He aIvays leIIs me: yes, Iove is roof
of Tvo, il is lheir decIaralion and elernily bul
lhere comes a momenl vhen Tvo musl ass lheir
lesl in lhe order of One. Thal is, il musl relurn
lo One. The al once symboIic and reaI figure for
lhis One is lhe chiId. And Iove's lrue goaI remains
49
IN P RAI 5E OF LOVE
<5f+g/^i>
50
ALAI N BADI OU
lhe exislence of lhe chiId as inc exression of lhe
One. I have chaIIenged his ob|eclion emiricaIIy
on a number of fronls, in arlicuIar because il
vouId require lhe deniaI of lhe amorous nalure
of sleriIe couIes, of homosexuaIs, elc. Then, al
a deeer IeveI, I loId him: lhe chiId is indeed arl
of lhe sace marked oul by Iove, and as such
conslilules a oinl in lerms of my ovn |argon.
A oinl, nameIy a arlicuIar momenl around
vhich an evenl eslabIishes ilseIf, vhere il musl be
re-Iayed in some vay, as if il vere relurning in a
changed, disIaced form, bul one forcing you lo
decIare afresh. A oinl, in effecl, comes vhen
lhe consequences of a conslruclion of a lrulh,
vhelher il be oIilicaI, amorous, arlislic or scien-
lific, suddenIy comeIs you lo ol for a radicaI
choice, as if you vere back al lhe beginning,
vhen you acceled and decIared lhe evenl. Once
more you musl say, I accel lhis chance, vanl
il and lake il on board. In lhe case of Iove, you
51
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
musl, oflen very urgenlIy, re-make your decIara-
lion. You couId even say: you musl (re-)make lhe
oinl. And I lhink lhal's vhal a chiId, lhe desire
lo have a chiId, and lhe birlh is. Il forms arl of
lhe rocess of Iove, cIearIy, in lhe shae of a oinl
of suorl for Iove. We knov lhal a birlh, al once
a miracIe and a chaIIenge, is a lesl for aII couIes.
Il becomes necessary lo redeIoy Tvo around lhe
chiId, reciseIy because he is One. Tvo cannol
conlinue lo exerience each olher in lhe vorId
as lhey did before lhey vere chaIIenged on lhis
oinl.
I don'l al aII deny lhal Iove is sequenliaI, in
olher vords, lhal il's nol aulonomous. There
are oinls, lesls, lemlalions and nev aear-
ances, and, each lime, you musl reIay lhe
Tvo scene, find lhe lerms for a nev decIara-
lion. Afler lhe iniliaI decIaralion, Iove loo musl
aIso be re-slaled. And lhal is vhy Iove is aIso
lhe source of vioIenl exislenliaI crises. Like aII
<5!g/^IcP
52
A L A I N B A D I O U
rocesses invoIving lhe search for lrulh. Irom
lhis erseclive, moreover, lhere is aIso a slriking
simiIarily belveen oIilics and Iove.
LOVE AND POLITIC5
V
Wnai is inc rc|aiicnsnip |ciuccn pc|iiics an! |ctc?
|s ii inai pc|iiics a|sc intc|tcs ctcnis, !cc|araiicns
an! ji!c|iiics?
In my viev oIilics conslilules a lrulh rocedure,
bul one lhal cenlres on lhe coIIeclive. I mean lhal
oIilicaI aclion lesls oul lhe lrulh of vhal lhe
coIIeclive is caabIe of achieving. Ior examIe,
can il embrace equaIily` Can il inlegrale vhal is
helerogeneous` Can il accel lhal lhere is onIy
one vorId` Things of lhis kind. The essence of
oIilics can be subsumed in lhe queslion: vhal
are individuaIs caabIe of vhen lhey meel,
54
A L A I N B A D I O U
organize, lhink and lake decisions` In Iove, il
is aboul lvo eoIe being abIe lo handIe differ-
ence and make il crealive. In oIilics, il is aboul
finding oul vhelher a number of eoIe, a mass
of eoIe in facl, can creale equaIily. And |usl as
lhe famiIy exisls al lhe IeveI of Iove lo sociaIize
ils imacl, al lhe IeveI of oIilics lhe over of
lhe Slale exisls lo reress ils enlhusiasms. The
same rickIy reIalion exisls belveen oIilics as a
raclicaI, coIIeclive vay of lhinking lhrough lhe
issue of over vilh lhe Slale as lhe inslrumenl
for ils managemenl and reguIalion, and lhe issue
of Iove vilh lhe unbridIed invenlion of Tvo and
lhe famiIy as lhe fundamenlaI unil of ovnershi
and egolism.
IssenliaIIy, if you Iay vilh lhe vord slale
you couId define lhe famiIy as lhe Slale of Iove.
Ior examIe, vhen you arliciale in a oIilicaI
mass movemenl you exerience lhe very signifi-
canl lension belveen lhe queslion, vhal is
I N P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
<cc>
55
lhe coIIeclive caabIe of` and lhe over and
aulhorily of lhe Slale. The ushol is lhal lhe
Slale is aImosl aIvays aboul lhe belrayaI of
oIilicaI hoe. ShouId I nov asserl lhal lhe famiIy
is aIvays aboul lhe belrayaI of Iove` Il is cIear
lhal lhe queslion has lo be asked. The vay I see
il, il onIy imacls oinl by oinl, and decision by
decision. There is lhe oinl of sexuaI invenlion,
of chiIdren, of vork, of friends, of nighls oul, of
hoIidays, of vhalever. And reslricling aII lhese
oinls lo lhe remil of lhe decIaralion of Iove is
no slraighlforvard maller. SimiIarIy in oIilics,
lhere are lhe oinls of slale over, fronliers,
Iavs and lhe oIice and il is never easy lo kee
lhem vilhin an oen, egaIilarian, revoIulionary
oIilicaI framevork.
In bolh cases, ve have oinl-by-oinl
rocesses and lhey formed lhe basis of my
argumenl againsl my reIigious friend. Don'l
mislake lhe exerience for lhe finaI aim. IoIilics
56
A L A I N B A D I O U
can robabIy never be reaIised vilhoul lhe slale,
bul lhal doesn'l mean lhal over is ils goaI. Ils
goaI is lo discover vhal lhe coIIeclive is caabIe
of, nol over ilseIf. SimiIarIy, in Iove, lhe aim is
lo exerience lhe vorId from lhe oinl of viev
of difference, oinl by oinl, and nol simIy
lo ensure lhe reroduclion of lhe secies. A
scelicaI moraIisl viII find |uslificalion for his
essimism in lhe famiIy, as roof lhal, in lhe
end, Iove is simIy a Ioy lo ensure lhe reroduc-
lion of lhe secies and sociely's Ioy lo ensure
riviIeges are inheriled. ul I von'l accel his
roosilion. Nor viII I accel my friend enna-
roch's viev lhal Iove's sIendid crealion of lhe
over of Tvo is duly bound lo genufIecl before
lhe ma|esly of One.
Wnq incn cani qcu cntisagc a pc|iiics cj |ctc,
jusi as jacqucs Ocrri!a cui|inc! a pc|iiics cj
jricn!snip'`
57
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
I don'l lhink lhal you can mix u Iove and
oIilics. In my oinion, lhe oIilics of Iove is a
meaningIess exression. I lhink lhal vhen you
begin lo say Love one anolher, lhal can Iead lo
a kind of elhics, bul nol lo any kind of oIilics.
IrinciaIIy because lhere are eoIe in oIilics
one doesn'l Iove... Thal's undeniabIe. Nobody
can execl us lo Iove lhem.
Sc un|ikc |ctc, pc|iiics is a|| a|cui a ccnjrcniaiicn
|ciuccn cncnics?
WeII, you knov, Iook, in Iove, al lhe absoIule
difference lhal exisls belveen lvo individuaIs, one
of lhe biggesl differences one can imagine, given
lhal il is an infinile difference, yel an encounler,
./0&'1!$23245'!"'6-2&7(50289 Jacqucs Dcrrida, trans. Gcnrgc Cn!!ins (Vcrsn,
2005). 5cc a!sn 6-2&7(50289 Ginrgin Agambcn, trans. David Kishik
and 5tcIan Pcdatc!!a, in "What is an Apparatus?" and nthcr cssays
(5tanInrd Univcrsity Prcss, 2009) and by thc samc authnr, :);+<-&
(&'$ )*+!,-=' :&' 4!74&83'()*+!,-'40&>'?&2(&%%&-9 Paynt & Rivagcs, 2003.
A L A I N B AD I O U
a decIaralion and fideIily can lransform lhal
inlo a crealive exislence. Nolhing of lhe sorl can
haen in oIilics in lerms of lhe basic conlra-
diclions, lhe ushol being lhal in effecl lhere
are cIearIy designaled enemies. A cenlraI issue
in oIilicaI lhoughl is lhe queslion of enemies
and il is very difficuIl lo deaI vilh loday, in arl
because of lhe democralic framevork vilhin
vhich ve oerale. The issue is: do enemies exisl`
I mean by lhal, reaI enemies. A reaI enemy is
nol someone you are resigned lo see lake over
eriodicaIIy because Iols of eoIe voled for him.
Thal is a erson you are annoyed lo see as head
of Slale because you vouId have referred his
adversary. And you viII vail your lurn, for five
or len years or more. An enemy is somelhing
eIse: an individuaI you von'l loIerale laking
decisions on anylhing lhal imacls on yourseIf.
So do reaI enemies exisl or nol` Thal shouId be
our slarling-oinl.
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
Il is an exlremeIy imorlanl issue in oIilics
and one ve are loo quick lo ush lo one side. The
issue of lhe enemy is comIeleIy foreign lo lhe
queslion of Iove. In Iove, you can find hurdIes, be
haunled by immanenl dramas, bul lhere are in
facl, no enemies. One mighl ob|ecl: vhal aboul
my rivaI` The erson my Iover refers lo me`
WeII, lhal is an enlireIy lolaIIy differenl maller.
In oIilics, lhe slruggIe againsl lhe enemy consli-
lules lhe aclion. The enemy forms arl of lhe
essence f oIilics. Genuine oIilics idenlifies ils
reaI enemy. Hovever, lhe rivaI remains absoIuleIy
exlernaI, he isn'l arl of lhe definilion of Iove.
, On lhis oinl I disagree rofoundIy vilh aII lhose
vho lhink lhal |eaIousy is a consliluenl eIemenl
of Iove. The mosl briIIianl reresenlalive of lhe
Ialler is Irousl, for vhom |eaIousy is lhe reaI,
inlense, demonic conlenl of amorous sub|ec-
livily. In my oinion, lhis is simIy a varianl of
lhe lhesis of lhe scelicaI moraIisls. }eaIousy is
ALAI N BADI OU
<n^>
60
a fake arasile lhal feeds on Iove and doesn'l al
aII heI lo define il. Musl every Iove idenlify an
exlernaI rivaI before il can decIare ilseIf, before
il can begin` No vay! The reverse is lhe case:
lhe immanenl difficuIlies of Iove, lhe inlerfiaI
conlradiclions of lhe Tvo scene can cryslaI-
Iize around a lhird arly, a rivaI, imagined or
reaI. The difficuIlies Iove harbours don'l slem
from lhe exislence of an enemy vho has been
idenlified. They are inlernaI lo lhe rocess: lhe
crealive Iay of difference. SeIfishness, nol any
rivaI, is Iove's enemy. One couId say: my Iove's
main enemy, lhe one I musl defeal, is nol lhe
olher, il is myseIf, lhe myseIf lhal refers
idenlily lo difference, lhal refers lo imose ils
vorId againsl lhe vorId re-conslrucled lhrough
lhe fiIler of difference.
Ictc can a|sc |c uar..
61
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
We musl bear in mind lhal, Iike many rocesses
for finding lhe lrulh, lhe rocess of Iove isn'l
aIvays eacefuI. Il can bring vioIenl argumenl,
genuine anguish and searalions ve may or may
nol overcome. We shouId recognize lhal il is one
of lhe mosl ainfuI exeriences in lhe sub|eclive
Iife of an individuaI! Thal is vhy some eoIe
romole lheir comrehensive insurance roa-
ganda. I have aIready menlioned lhal eoIe die
because of Iove. There are murders and suicides
romled by Iove. In facl, al ils ovn IeveI, Iove is
nol necessariIy any more eacefuI lhan revoIu-
lionary oIilics. A lrulh is nol somelhing lhal is
conslrucled in a garden of roses. Never! Love has
ils ovn agenda of conlradiclions and vioIence.
ul lhe difference is lhal in oIilics ve reaIIy have
lo engage vilh our enemies, vhereas in Iove il is
aII aboul dramas, immanenl, inlernaI dramas
lhal don'l reaIIy define any enemies, lhough
lhey do somelimes Iace lhe drive for idenlily
62
A L A I N B A D I O U
inlo confIicl vilh difference. Dramas in Iove are
lhe sharesl exerience of lhe confIicl belveen
idenlily and difference.
|tcn sc, isni ii ai a|| pcssi||c ic |ring |ctc an!
pc|iiics icgcincr uiincui !csccn!ing inic inc
ncra|izing cj a pc|iiics cj |ctc?
There are lvo oIilicaI, or hiIosohicaI-oIil-
icaI nolions one can comare al a ureIy formaI
IeveI lo lhe diaIeclics resenl vilhin Iove. IirslIy,
lhe vord communism encomasses lhis idea
lhal lhe coIIeclivily is caabIe of inlegraling
aII exlraoIilicaI differences. IeoIe shouIdn'l
be revenled from arlicialing in a oIilicaI
rocess of a communisl lye simIy because lhey
are lhis or lhal, or vere born here or come from
eIsevhere, or seak such and such a Ianguage,
or vere fashioned by such and such a cuIlure, in
lhe same vay lhal idenlilies in lhemseIves aren'l
I N P RAI 5 E OF LOVE
fl
hurdIes lo lhe crealion of Iove. OnIy oIilicaI
difference vilh lhe enemy is irreconciIabIe
as Marx said. And lhal has no equivaIenl in
lhe rocess of Iove. And lhen lhere is lhe vord
fralernily. Iralernily is lhe mosl oaque of
lhe lhree lerms in lhe ReubIican mollo. We can
argue aboul freedom, bul ve knov vhal lhal's
aboul. We can rovide a fairIy accurale definilion
of vhal equaIily invoIves. ul vhal on earlh is
fralernily` No doubl il is reIaled lo lhe issue of
differences, of lheir friendIy co-resence vilhin
lhe oIilicaI rocess, lhe essenliaI boundary being
lhe confronlalion vilh lhe enemy. And lhal is a
nolion lhal can be covered by inlernalionaIism,
because, if lhe coIIeclive can reaIIy lake equaIily
on board, lhal means il can aIso inlegrale lhe
mosl exlensive divergences and grealIy Iimil lhe
over of idenlily.
A L A I N B A D I O U
Ai inc |cginning cj cur !ia|cguc, qcu spckc cj
Cnrisiianiiq as a rc|igicn cj |ctc. Icis ncu jccus
cn inc ataiars cj |ctc uiinin inc grcai i!cc|cgics. |n
qcur ticu, ncu !i! Cnrisiianiiq nanagc ic capiurc
inc cxiracr!inarq pcucr inai |ctc nas?
In lhis resecl, I lhink lhal }udaism quile reared
lhe vay for Chrislianily. The resence of Iove in
lhe OId Teslamenl is significanl, bolh in lerms
of rescrilions and descrilions. Whalever ils
lheoIogicaI imorl, lhe song of Iove lhal is The
Song of Songs is one of lhe mosl overfuI ceIe-
bralions of Iove ever vrillen. Chrislianily ilseIf
is lhe finesl examIe of lhe use of Iove's inlensily
lovards a lranscendenlaI concelion of lhe
universaI. Chrislianily says: if you Iove each
olher, lhe vhoIe of lhis Ioving communily viII
aroach lhe uIlimale founl of aII Iove lhal is
divine lranscendence ilseIf. Il inlroduces lhe idea
lhal lhe accelance of lhe exerience of Iove, of
65
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
lhe exerience of lhe olher, of lhe gaze raised
lovards lhe olher, conlribules lo lhis sureme
Iove lhal is bolh lhe Iove ve ove lo God and lhe
Iove lhal God brings lo us. And, of course, lhal
is a slroke of genius! Chrislianily has managed
lo calure on behaIf of ils Church - ils avalar
of lhe slale - lhis over lhal has enabIed il, for
examIe, lo achieve lhe accelance of suffering
in lhe name of lhe sureme inleresls of lhe
communily and nol |usl on behaIf of individuaI
survivaI.
Chrislianily grased erfeclIy lhal lhere
is an eIemenl in lhe aarenl conlingency of
Iove lhal can'l be reduced lo lhal conlingency.
ul il immedialeIy raised il lo lhe IeveI of lran-
scendence, and lhal is lhe rool of lhe robIem.
This universaI eIemenl I loo recognize in Iove
as immanenl. ul Chrislianily has somehov
managed lo eIevale il and refocus il onlo a lran-
scendenl over. Il's an ideaI lhal vas aIready
A L A I N B AD I O U
arlIy resenl in IIalo, lhrough lhe idea of lhe
Good. Il is a briIIianl firsl maniuIalion of lhe
over of Iove and one ve musl nov bring back
lo earlh. I mean ve musl demonslrale lhal Iove
reaIIy does have universaI over, bul lhal il is
simIy lhe oorlunily ve are given lo en|oy
a osilive, crealive, affirmalive exerience of
difference. The Olher, no doubl, bul vilhoul lhe
AImighly-Olher, vilhoul lhe Greal Olher of
lranscendence. In lhe finaI anaIysis, reIigions
don'l seak of Iove. ecause lhey are onIy inler-
esled in il as a source of inlensily, in lhe sub|ec-
live slale il aIone can creale, in order lo direcl
lhal inlensily lovards failh and lhe Church and
encourage lhis sub|eclive slale lo accel lhe
sovereignly of God. The main oulcome is lhal
Chrislianily subslilules devoul, assive, defer-
enliaI Iove for lhe combalive Iove I am raising
here, lhal earlhIy crealion of lhe differenlialed
birlh of a nev vorId and a hainess von oinl
67
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
by oinl. Love on bended knee is no Iove al aII
as far as I am concerned, even if Iove somelimes
arouses assion in us lhal makes us yieId lo lhe
Ioved one.
Ycu natc ucrkc! uiin Anicinc Viicz, ncia||q uncn
nc uas prcparing nis jancus prc!uciicn cj Pau|
C|au!cVs The Salin SIier. Occs inc nc!iiaiicn
cn |ctc |q inc auincr cj The reak of Noon, inai
is sc in|uc! uiin Cnrisiianiiq, natc anqining ic
saq ic pccp|c ncua!aqs unc arc ncsi|q nc |cngcr
Cnrisiian?
CIaudeI is a greal dramalisl of Iove. Tnc Saiin
S|ippcr and Tnc Brcak cj Nccn are vhoIIy devoled
lo lhis lheme. Hovever, vhal is lhere in CIaudeI
lhal can inleresl us nov lhal ve are no Ionger
direclIy slirred by lhe communion of lhe sainls,
revards for good deeds and saIvalion in lhe afler-
Iife` I can onIy lhink of lhal senlence al lhe end
*| /^P
A L A I N B A D I O U
of Tnc Brcak cj Nccn: Iar aarl, lhough never
ceasing lo burden each olher, viII ve have lo
bear our slrife-ridden souIs` CIaudeI is arlicu-
IarIy sensilive lo lhe facl lhal lrue Iove is aIvays
overcoming lhe imossibIe: Iar aarl, lhough
never ceasing lo burden each olher... SlriclIy
seaking, Iove isn'l a ossibiIily, bul ralher lhe
overcoming of somelhing lhal mighl aear
lo be imossibIe. Somelhing exisls lhal had no
reason lo, vhich vas never offered lo you as a
ossibiIily. Thal's aIso anolher reason vhy lhe
inlernel daling hye is faIIacious. Il vorks on lhe
assumlion lhal you are going lo reviev aII lhe
ossibiIilies on offer and lake lhe besl, in order lo
en|oy safe Iove. ul Iife's nol Iike lhal! Il's nol Iike
lhe slories vhere lhe relenders come queueing.
Love begins vhen somelhing imossibIe is
overcome, and vilh lhe lheme of lhe forbidden
voman CIaudeI is a greal oel of lhe imossibIe,
Al lhe same lime in CIaudeI, lhe dice are aIvays
69
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
sIighlIy Ioaded, since vhal's imossibIe is reIalive
because il is lerreslriaI. I lhink he has lvo Tvo
scenes ralher lhan one. The firsl is lhe exeri-
ence of Iove's imossibiIily on earlh. The second
is vhen Tvo are reconciIed in lhe universe of lhe
failh.
Il is fascinaling lo foIIov lhrough lhe magnif-
icenl oelic mechanisms he uses lo enabIe lhe
over of lhe firsl scene lo enrich lhe second.
Thal is vhal Chrislianily is aboul. Il romoles
ilseIf lhrough lhe earlhIy over of Iove by
saying: Yes, cerlain lhings are imossibIe even
lhough il's so overfuI, bul nol lo vorry because
vhal's imossibIe dovn here isn'l necessariIy
so in lhe afler-Iife. Very basic bul very olenl
roaganda.
Tnis uisn ic |ring |ctc !cun ic carin, ic nctc
jrcn iransccn!cncc ic innancncc, uas ccnira| ic
nisicrica| ccnnunisn. |n unai uaq nigni inc
70
A L A I N B A D I O U
rcaciitaiing cj inc Ccnnunisi nqpcincsis |c a uaq
ic rc-intcni |ctc?
I referred earIier lo vhal I lhink of lhese oIilicaI
uses of lhe vord Iove, and hov lhey are as
misguided as reIigious uses. NeverlheIess, here
loo ve are deaIing, quile remarkabIy, vilh a
lranscendenl force lhal is grasing lhe over
of Iove. Il is nol God any Ionger, bul lhe Iarly,
and lhrough lhe Iarly, ils sureme Ieader. The
exression lhe cuIl of lhe ersonaIily sums
u lhis kind of coIIeclive lransfer of Iove lo a
oIilicaI figure. Ioels have |oined in: Iook al
IIuard's canlicIes lo SlaIin, Aragon's hymns lo
lhe relurn of Maurice Thorez lo Irance afler
his iIIness... I find lhe cuIl of lhe Iarly as such
even more inleresling. There again, Aragon is
symlomalic: My Iarly broughl lhe coIours
of Irance back lo me, elc. We immedialeIy see
Iove being moduIaled. Whelher vrillen for lhe
71
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
Iarly or his Iover, IIsa TrioIel, lhe vords are very
simiIar. Il is inslruclive lo see hov lhe arly lhal
one mighl have lhoughl vas simIy a lransilory
inslrumenl for lhe emancialion of lhe vorking
and ouIar cIasses lhus becomes a felish. I don'l
vanl lo make fun of any of lhal: il vas an era
of oIilicaI assion lhal ve can'l conlinue, lhal
ve musl nov viev crilicaIIy, bul il vas inlense
and counled ils failhfuI in lheir miIIions. Whal
ve musl say, as Iove is our lheme, is lhal Iove
and oIilicaI assion shouId never be confused.
The robIem oIilics confronls is lhe conlroI
of halred, nol of Iove. And halred is a assion
lhal aImosl inevilabIy oses lhe queslion of lhe
enemy. In olher vords, in oIilics, vhere enemies
do exisl, one roIe of lhe organizalion, vhalever
lhal may be, is lo conlroI, indeed lo deslroy, lhe
consequences of halred. Thal doesn'l mean il
musl reach Iove, bul a ma|or inleIIecluaI
chaIIenge il faces is lo rovide lhe mosl Iimiled,
72
A L A I N B A D I O U
recise definilion ossibIe of lhe oIilicaI enemy.
And nol, as vas lhe case lhroughoul aImosl lhe
vhoIe of lhe Iasl cenlury, lhe vaguesl, mosl far-
reaching definilion imaginabIe.
Wcu|! ii |c |ciicr ic scparaic |ctc jrcn pc|iiics?
A Iarge svalhe of conlemorary lhoughl slrives
lo searale vhal has been vrongfuIIy broughl
logelher. In lhe same vay lhal lhe definilion of
lhe enemy musl be conlroIIed, Iimiled, reduced
lo a minimum, Iove, as a singuIar advenlure in
lhe quesl for lrulh aboul difference, musl aIso be
rigorousIy searaled from oIilics. When I laIk
of lhe Communisl hyolhesis, I simIy vanl lo
suggesl lhal fulure forms of lhe oIilics of eman-
cialion musl be inscribed in a resurreclion, a
re-affirmalion, of lhe Communisl idea, lhe idea
of a vorId lhal isn'l given over lo lhe avarice of
rivale roerly, a vorId of free associalion and
73
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
equaIily. To lhal end, ve can drav on nev hiIo-
sohicaI looIs and a good number of IocaIised
oIilicaI exeriences, vhere lhere has been inno-
valive lhinking. In such a framevork, il viII be
easier lo re-invenl Iove lhan if surrounded by
cailaIisl frenzy. ecause ve can be sure lhal
nolhing disinleresled can be al ease amid such
frenzy. And Iove, Iike any rocess in lhe search for
lrulh, is essenliaIIy disinleresled: ils vaIue resides
in ilseIf aIone and goes beyond lhe immediale
inleresls of lhe lvo individuaIs invoIved. The
meaning of lhe vord communism doesn'l
immedialeIy reIale lo Iove. NonelheIess, lhe vord
brings vilh il nev ossibiIilies for Iove.
Tncrc is ancincr pcssi||c !incnsicn ic inc ataiars
cj |ctc uiinin a Ccnnunisi pc|iiics. Tncsc arc |ctc
sicrics inai arc |ui|i againsi a |ackgrcun! cj sirikcs
an! cincr sccia| nctcncnis. Ycu cjicn cnpnasizc
inis !incnsicn, sincc ii a||cus inc iransgrcssicn cj
74
A L A I N B A D I O U
|ctc ic a||q iisc|j uiin inc pc|iiica| iransgrcssicn cj
inc ncncni Wnai is inc spccijiciiq cj incsc |ctcs
in sirugg|c?
I am arlicuIarIy sensilive lo lhis asecl of lhings
because I have devoled a considerabIe arl of
my vriling as a noveIisl and dramalisl lo lhe
sub|ecl. In my Iay V|cnarpc |cugc, lhe slory
mainIy concerns lhe dislanl Ioves of a brolher
and sisler in aII lhe incarnalions of a huge
oIilicaI movemenl lhal invoIves vars of Iibera-
lion, slrikes, mass-meelings... In my noveI Ca|nc
||cc ici-|as - vhich foIIovs lhe formaI slruclure
of Hugo's Ics Miscra||cs - lhe revoIulionary
fresco encomasses lhe Iove of a Shi'ile vorker,
Ahmed Aazami, for a lerrorisl, IIisabelh CalheIy,
lhen, lhal of IIisabelh's son, Simon, adoled by
Ahmed afler lhe lerrorisl's dealh, for CIaude
Ogasavara, lhe oel and daughler of a Ieading
reaclionary. In aII lhese inslances, my inlenlion
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
isn'l lo highIighl lhe simiIarily belveen Iove and
revoIulionary commilmenl, bul lhe kind of secrel
resonance lhal is crealed, in lhe mosl inlimale
individuaI exerience, belveen lhe inlensily Iife
acquires vhen a hundred er cenl commilled lo
a arlicuIar Idea and lhe quaIilaliveIy dislincl
inlensily generaled by lhe slruggIe vilh differ-
ence in Iove. Il is Iike lvo musicaI inslrumenls
lhal are comIeleIy differenl in lone and voIume,
bul vhich mysleriousIy converge vhen unified
by a greal musician in lhe same vork. I vouId
Iike lo make a quaIified reveIalion here. I have
inscribed in lhese vorks a baIance sheel of my
Iife in lhe red years belveen May '68 and lhe
Iighlies. Thal is lhe eriod vhen I deveIoed
lhe oIilicaI conviclion I have remained imIa-
cabIy IoyaI lo and for vhich communism is
one ossibIe name. ul I lhen equaIIy slruclured
my fulure Iife around rocesses of Iove lhal vere
by and Iarge definilive. Whal came Ialer, of lhe
76
A L A I N B A D I O U
same order, vas iIIuminaled by lhal insira-
lion and ils enduring nalure. In arlicuIar, as I
have aIready menlioned, conviclion in Iove and
oIilics, somelhing one musl never renounce.
Thal vas reaIIy lhe momenl vhen, in belveen
oIilics and Iove, my Iife found lhe musicaI chord
lhal ensured ils harmony.
LOVE AND ART
VI
|n The Cenlury, qcu !iscuss an An!rc Brcicn
icxi, Arcanum 17, an! sncu ncu inc iucniicin
ccniurq uas a grcai cra jcr inc prcnciicn cj |ctc as
a nciapncr jcr iruin. Bui unai !ccs An!rc Brcicn
ncan uncn in SoIubIe Iish, nc uisncs ic rc!ucc
ari ic iis sinp|csi cxprcssicn, nanc|q, |ctc?
The cenlraI SurreaIisl ro|ecl vas lhe one
ve menlioned al lhe very beginning, nameIy,
foIIoving Rimbaud's in|unclion, lo re-invenl
Iove. And for lhe SurreaIisls lhis re-invenlion vas
.@2'A!,5'*2+&>'$ )*+!,-==='B730!$!%2&'*+!,-&,5&'(,'5,--C*$25+& cditcd by
Vinccnt Gi!!c, with a prcIacc by Annic Lc Brun, 5y!!cpsc, 2001.
A L A I N B A D I O U
indissoIubIy an arlislic, exislenliaI and oIilicaI
move. They didn'l make any divisions belveen lhe
lhree. Arl has a very overfuI oinl, in lhe sense
lhal il does |uslice lo evenls. Thal couId even be a
ossibIe definilion of arl: arl is vhal, al lhe IeveI
of lhoughl, does comIele |uslice lo lhe evenl.
In oIilics, evenls are ordered by hislory in relro-
secl. ul arl is aIone in resloring or allemling
lo reslore comIeleIy lheir inlense over. OnIy
arl reslores lhe dimension of lhe senses lo an
encounler, an insurreclion or a riol. Arl, in aII
ils forms, is a greal refIeclion on lhe evenl as
such. A greal ainling is lhe calure by ils ovn
means of somelhing lhal cannol be reduced lo
vhal il disIays. The Ialenl evenl emerges and,
ve mighl say, breaks lhrough vhal you can see.
relon reminds us, from lhis oinl of viev, lhal
arl is very cIoseIy Iinked lo Iove, since lhe Ialler
is basicaIIy lhe momenl vhen an evenl breaks
lhrough exislence. This exIains I'amour fou.
79
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
Love cannol be reduced lo any Iav. There is no
Iav of Iove.
Whal's more, arl has oflen demonslraled lhe
asociaI side of Iove. As lhe ouIar saying goes,
afler aII, Iovers are on lheir ovn in lhis vorId.
They aIone ossess lhal difference by vhich lhey
exerience lhe vorId. SurreaIism exaIls Tamour
fou as lhe over of an evenl lhal is beyond any
Iav. The lhinking insired by Iove is aIso lhinking
lhal is crealed againsl aII order, againsl lhe
overfuI order of lhe Iav. The SurreaIisls found
here a source of nourishmenl for lheir desire for
a oelic revoIulion in Ianguage bul aIso, I shouId
emhasise, in exislence. Irom lhis oinl of viev,
lhey vere very inleresled in Iove and in sexuaIily,
as a rinciIe, as olenliaI suorl for a revoIulion
in exislence. ConverseIy, lhey had IillIe inleresl in
lhal vhich endured. Above aII, lhey chamioned
Iove as a magnificenl oem of lhe encounler.
Ior examIe, in Na!ja, vhich is a sIendid
80
A L A I N B AD I OU
iIIuslralion of lhe oelics of lhe uncerlain and
myslerious encounler lhal round lhe slreel-
corner viII become Tamour fou. The ure
encounler is lhe comIele oosile of anylhing
lhal is remedilaled, bul nol al lhe IeveI of vhal
endures, or in any elernaI dimension. Hovever,
some hiIosohers have mainlained lhal elernily
is lhe momenl. We aIready find lhis idea in Greek
lhoughl. The onIy lemoraI dimension ossibIe
for elernily vas lhe momenl. Thal vouId suorl
relon. NaluraIIy, lhe momenl of lhe miracuIous
encounler romises lhe elernily of Iove, lhough
vhal I vanl lo suggesl is a concel of Iove lhal
is Iess miracuIous and more hard vork, nameIy
a conslruclion of elernily vilhin lime, of lhe
exerience of lhe Tvo, oinl by oinl. I go aIong
vilh lhe miracIe of lhe encounler, bul I lhink
il remains confined vilhin SurreaIisl oelics
if il is isoIaled, if ve don'l channeI il lovards
lhe onerous deveIomenl of a lrulh lhal is
81
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
conslrucled oinl by oinl. Onerous musl be
laken here as somelhing osilive. There is a vork
of Iove: il is nol simIy a miracIe. You musl be in
lhe breech, on guard: you musl be al one vilh
yourseIf and lhe olher. You mosl lhink, acl and
change. And lhen, sureIy, hainess foIIovs, as
lhe immanenl revard for aII lhal vork.
| jin! ii sirangc inai qcu ccnsiani|q rcjcr ic Sanuc|
Bcckcii in rcspcci cj |ctc. Onc can nar!|q saq inai
Bcckciis ucrk is jccusc! cn nappincss. |n unai
uaq !ccs nis ucrk, janc! jcr iis nini|isn an!
pcssinisn, ucrk, in qcur ticu, icuar!s inai Tuc
sccnc inai is |ctc?
As I've said, lhe Iileralure on Iove conlains very
IillIe in lerms of lhe exerience of ils endurance
over lime. Thal's very slriking. Take lhe lhealre
for examIe. If you valch Iays lhal shov lhe
slruggIes of young Iovers againsl lhe desolism
82
A L A I N B A D I O U
of lhe famiIy universe - a cIassic lheme - you
couId give lhem aII as sub-lilIe Marivaux's Tnc
Triunpn cj Ictc. In lhis vein, many Iays reIale
hov lhese young eoIe, oflen heIed by vaIels
or olher accomIices, give lhe oId arenls lhe run
around and finaIIy gel vhal lhey vanl, nameIy
marriage. Il's lhe lriumh of Iove, bul nol ils
duralion. Thal is reciseIy vhal you mighl caII
Iolling lhe encounler. Imorlanl vorks, greal
noveIs, are oflen buiIl around lhe imossibiIily
of Iove, ils being ul lo lhe lesl, ils lragedy, ils
vaning, ils searalion, end, elc. ul lhere is very
IillIe on il Iasling osiliveIy. We couId even say
married Iife has hardIy roduced a greal vork. Il
is a facl lhal il has rareIy insired arlisls.
Hovever, il is reciseIy in lhe vriling of
eckell, lhal renovned chronicIer of desair,
of lhe imossibIe, lhal ve find somelhing very
aosile: he is aIso a vriler of lhe obslinacy of
Iove. Take for examIe lhe Iay Happq Oaqs, lhe
83
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
slory of an oId couIe. You onIy see lhe voman,
lhe man is cravIing off-slage, everylhing is
degeneraling, she's in lhe rocess of sinking
inlo lhe ground, bul she says: Whal hay
days lhey vere! And she says lhal because Iove
is sliII lhere. Love is lhe overfuI, unchanging
eIemenl lhal has slruclured her aarenlIy
calaslrohic exislence. Love is lhe hidden over
vilhin lhal calaslrohe. In a sIendid shorl lexl
caIIed |ncugn, eckell reIales lhe vanderings
of a very oId couIe in a scenario lhal is al once
mounlainous and deserl-Iike. Il is a slory of Iove,
of lhe enduring of lhis oId couIe, lhal doesn'l
al aII hide lhe disaslrous slale of lheir bodies,
lhe monolony of lheir exislence, lhe groving
difficuIly of sexuaIily, elc. The lexl narrales aII
lhal, bul il sels lhe slory vilhin lhe uIlimaleIy
magnificenl over of Iove and lhe endurance il
embodies.
84
A L A I N B A D I O U
As qcu natc ncniicnc! inc ari cj !rana, | ucu|!
|ikc ic ncniicn a tcrq spccia| |ctc qcu natc nuriurc!
jrcn cni|!ncc!. a |ctc jcr inc incairc. Bcjcrc qcu
urcic inc iri|cgq a|cui inc Annc!s, inai |rings
ic inc siagc a kin! cj ccnicnpcrarq Scapin, qcu
qcursc|j p|aqc! inc iii|c rc|c in Mc|icrc9s Les
Iourberies de Scain in qcur qcuin. Wnai is inc
naiurc cj inis cn!uring |ctc cj qcurs jcr inc incairc?
My Iove of lhe lhealre is very comIicaled
and goes back a Iong lime. Il is robabIy more
overfuI lhan my Iove of hiIosohy. My Iove for
hiIosohy comes Ialer, more sIovIy and vilh
grealer difficuIly. When I vas young and on
slage, I lhink I vas fascinaled by lhe immediale
feeIing lhal some arl of lhe Ianguage and
oelry is Iinked, aImosl inexIicabIy, lo lhe body.
IssenliaIIy, erhas lhe lhealre vas aIready
a melahor for vhal Iove vouId become Ialer
on, because il vas lhal momenl vhen lhoughl
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
and body are in some vay indislinguishabIe.
They are exosed lo lhe olher in such a manner
lhal you can'l say, This is a body or This is
an idea. The lvo are mixed u, Ianguage seizes
lhe body, |usl as vhen you leII someone, I Iove
you: you say lhal lo someone Iiving, slanding
lhere in fronl of you, bul you are aIso addressing
somelhing lhal cannol be reduced lo lhis simIe
maleriaI resence, somelhing lhal is absoIuleIy
and simuIlaneousIy bolh beyond and vilhin.
Thal is vhal lhe lhealre is, in ils origins,
lhinking-in-lhe body, embodied lhoughl. As ve
knov, lhere are rehearsaIs in lhe lhealre. Lel's
do il again, says lhe direclor. Thoughl doesn'l
come easiIy lo lhe body. The reIalionshi of a
lhoughl lo sace and movemenl is comIicaled.
Il musl be al once sonlaneous and re-medi-
laled. This is aIso vhal haens in Iove. Desire
is immedialeIy overfuI bul Iove aIso requires
care and re-lakes. Love knovs aII aboul lhe need
<5t/^5>
A L A I N B A D I O U
for re-vorking. 'TeII me again lhal you Iove me,
and very oflen, Say il beller. And desire begins
again. Wilh caresses youTI hear, if lhey are driven
by Iove, More! More! lhal momenl vhen lhe
eagerness for hysicaI geslures is reinforced by
lhe insislence of a vord, by a conslanlIy reneved
!cc|araiicn. We knov lhal lhe lheme of Iove as
a game is cruciaI in lhe lhealre, and lhal il's aII
reciseIy aboul decIaralions. Il is aIso because
lhis lhealre of Iove, lhis overfuI game of Iove
and chance exisls, lhal I have lhis Iove for lhe
lhealre.
Tnc !ranaiisi Anicinc Viicz, inc nan unc siagc!
qcur cpcra, L'Ichare Rouge, in 1984, ai inc
Atigncn |csiita|, ic nusic |q Gccrgcs Apcrgnis,
uas a|sc in jatcur cj inis i!ca. Hc urcic. Ii's unai
Vtc a|uaqs uanic! ic !c cn siagc. sncu inc tic|cni
inrusi cj i!cas, ncu incq |cn! an! icrncni |c!ics
Oc qcu agrcc uiin nin?
<31Ig/^&I
87
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
ComIeleIy. You knov, Iessoa, lhe Iorluguese
oel, says somevhere, Love is a lhoughl. Thal's
a very aradoxicaI slalemenl, because eoIe
have aIvays said Iove is aboul lhe body, desire
and feeIing, everylhing bul reason and lhoughl.
And he says, Love is a lhoughl. I lhink he's
righl. I lhink lhal Iove is a lhoughl and lhal lhe
reIalionshi belveen lhal lhoughl and lhe body
is quile unique, and aIvays marked, as Anloine
Vilez said, by irreressibIe vioIence. We exeri-
ence lhal vioIence in Iife. Il is absoIuleIy lrue lhal
Iove can bend our bodies and roml lhe sharesl
lormenl. Love, as ve can observe day in day oul,
is nol a Iong, quiel river. We can never forgel lhe
quile frighlening number of Ioves lhal Iead lo
suicide or murder. Love in lhe lhealre is nol onIy,
or even mainIy, sex farce or innocenl romance: il
is equaIIy lragedy, re|eclion and rage. The reIa-
lionshi belveen lhe lhealre and Iove is aIso lhe
exIoralion of lhe abyss searaling individuaIs,
88
A L A I N B A D I O U
and lhe descrilion of lhe fragiIe nalure of lhe
bridge lhal Iove lhrovs belveen lvo soIiludes.
We musl aIvays relurn lo lhis: vhal kind of
lhoughl reveaIs ilseIf in lhe coming and going
belveen lvo sexed bodies` We musl aIso ask, and
lhis makes reIevanl your revious queslion, vhal
vouId lhe lhealre have found lo seak aboul if
Iove hadn'l exisled. Il vouId have soken, and
has soken al greal Ienglh, aboul oIilics. So
ve can say lhealre is oIilics and Iove, and more
generaIIy, aboul lhe lvo inlersecling. This inler-
seclion of oIilics and Iove is a ossibIe definilion
of lragedy. ul Iove of lhe lhealre is necessariIy
aIso lhe Iove of Iove, because, vilhoul Iove
slories, vilhoul lhe slruggIe lo free Iove from lhe
conslrainls of famiIy, lhe lhealre does nol add u
lo much. CIassicaI comedies, Iike MoIiere's Iays,
basicaIIy leII us hov young eoIe vho have mel
by chance musl undermine lhe marriage lhal's
been arranged by lheir arenls. The commonesl,
89
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
mosl exIoiled confIicl on lhe slage is lhe slruggIe
of chance Iove againsl imIacabIe Iav. More
sublIy, il is lhe slruggIe of young eoIe, heIed
by roIelarians (sIaves and servanls), againsl
lhe oId, heIed by Church and Slale. And nov
you viII say, Ireedom has von oul, arranged
marriages no Ionger exisl: lhe couIe is ure
crealion. I'm nol so sure. Ireedom` Whal kind
of freedom exaclIy` Al vhal cosl` Yes, lhal's a
reaI queslion: vhal did Iove ay in lhe aarenl
gain of ils freedom`
Occsni qcur |ctc cj inc incairc a|sc inc|u!c inc
|ctc cj a ccnnuniiq, a cc||cciitc an! an cnscn||c,
sincc qcu cncc |itc! inc |ijc cj inc incairc ccnpanq,
ancng acicrs an! iccnnicians? Occsni inc incairc
|car a |ctc inai |c|cngs ic inc cr!cr cj a jraicrniiq?
Yes, of course, lhal Iove exisls! The lhealre is
a communily and lhe aeslhelic exression of
90
A L A I N B A D I O U
fralernily. Thal's vhy I argue lhal lhere is, in
lhal sense, somelhing communisl in aII lhealre.
y communisl I undersland lhal vhich makes
lhe heId-in-common revaiI over seIfishness, lhe
coIIeclive achievemenl over rivale seIf-inleresl.
WhiIe ve're aboul il, ve can aIso say lhal Iove
is communisl in lhal sense, if one accels, as I
do, lhal lhe reaI sub|ecl of a Iove is lhe becoming
of lhe couIe and nol lhe mere salisfaclion of
lhe individuaIs lhal are ils comonenl arls.
Yel anolher ossibIe definilion of Iove: minimaI
communism!
To relurn lo lhe lhealre, I am aIvays slruck
by lhe facl lhal lhe communily of a lhealre lour
is aIso recarious. I'm lhinking of lhe reaIIy
dislressing limes vhen lhe communily breaks u:
you've been on lour, Iived logelher for a monlh,
and lhen, aII of a sudden, you go your ovn vay.
The lhealre invoIves lhis exerience of seara-
lion. There are momenls of greal meIanchoIia
91
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
vhen lhe fralernily invoIved in erforming and
slaging breaks u. Here's my mobiIe number.
We'II be in louch, righl`: you are famiIiar vilh
lhis riluaI. ul nobody viII caII, nol reaIIy. Il's
lhe end and ve go our searale vays. And lhe
issue of searalion is so imorlanl in Iove lhal
one can aIso define Iove as a successfuI slruggIe
againsl searalion. The communily of Iove is aIso
recarious, and you aIso need much more lhan a
leIehone number lo suslain and deveIo il.
An! unai is inc |ctc cj incairc |ikc, jrcn inc insi!c,
inai is, jrcn inc pcini cj ticu cj inc acicr qcu cncc
ucrc an! qcu! pcrnaps |ikc ic |c again, cncc ncrc
pcrjcrning scnc cj inc ncnc|cgucs jrcn Ahmed
Ie subliIe cr Ahmed hiIosohe`
Il is a unique Iove lhal requires you lo give u
your ovn body in rey lo Ianguage, in rey lo
ideas. As you knov, every hiIosoher is an aclor,
<5Hg$fcI
92
A L A I N B A D I O U
hovever hosliIe he feeIs lovards games and simu-
Ialion. We have been seaking in ubIic from lhe
days of our greal Greek anceslors. In hiIosohy
lhere is aIvays an eIemenl of baring oneseIf: lhe
oraI dimension of hiIosohy calured by lhe
body in an acl of lransfer. This vas lhe oinl of
a conlroversy I had vilh }acques Derrida, vho
foughl oraIily on behaIf of lhe vrillen, aIlhough
he himseIf gave some vonderfuI erformances.
IhiIosohers have been much crilicized for being
magicians, for calivaling eoIe by arlificiaI
means and Ieading lhem lo unIikeIy lrulhs via
lhe alhs of seduclion. ook V of IIalo's |cpu||ic
(lhis massive book of vhich I am rearing a
comIele, very differenl lransIalion) conlains
a quile aslonishing assage. Socrales slarls lo
define vhal is a lrue hiIosoher. And lhen very
suddenIy, he seems lo change sub|ecl. Here is my
version (Socrales is seaking):
93
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
Do I need lo remind you of somelhing you
musl remember very vividIy` When ve seak of
an ob|ecl of Iove, ve assume lhal lhe Iover Ioves
lhal ob|ecl in ils enlirely. We don'l aIIov for his
Iove lo seIecl |usl one arl and re|ecl anolher.
The lvo young eoIe seem laken aback.
Amanlha lakes il uon herseIf lo exress lheir
beviIdermenl: Dear Socrales, vhal is lhe
conneclion belveen lhis delour on Iove and lhe
definilion of a hiIosoher`
Ah, our young vomen in Iove! UnabIe lo
recognize lhal, as Iernando Iessoa lhe greal
Iorluguese oel said, 'Iove is a lhoughl'. Lislen,
you youngslers: anyone vho doesn'l lake Iove
as lheir slarling-oinl viII never discover vhal
hiIosohy is aboul.
Il's lrue! We shouId foIIov our oId masler. One
musl slarl vilh Iove. We hiIosohers don'l
have lhal many means al our disosaI, if ve
94
A L A I N B AD I OU
are derived of lhe means of seduclion, lhen ve
reaIIy viII be disarmed. And being an aclor is
aIso aboul lhal! Il is aboul seducing on behaIf of
somelhing lhal, in lhe end, is a lrulh.
IN CONCLU5ION
| uani ic rciurn ic inis |ctc inai nas ic |c
rc-intcnic! an! !cjcn!c!. |n The Meaning of
Sarkozy qcu arguc inai inc rc-intcniicn cj |ctc
is cnc pcssi||c pcini cj rcsisiancc againsi inc
c|sccniiq cj inc narkci an! inc currcni pc|iiica|
!isarraq cn inc |cji. |n qcur ticu, ncu nigni |ctc
ccnsiiiuic anq kin! cj rcsisiancc ic inc ucr|!
sqn|c|izc! |q inc prcsi!cni cj |rancc?
I lhink lhal il is vilaI lo see lhal Irance is bolh
lhe counlry of revoIulions and a greal Iand
of reaclion. This heIs lo undersland Irance
diaIeclicaIIy. I oflen argue aboul lhis vilh my
A L A I N B A D I O U
foreign friends because lhey sliII enlerlain lhe
mylh of a vonderfuI Irance lhal is aIvays on
lhe brink of revoIulionary invenlions. So lhey
vere inevilabIy ralher shocked by lhe eIeclion of
Sarkozy, vho doesn'l al aII fil inlo lhis ersec-
live... I leII lhem lhal lhey conslrucl a hislory
of Irance in vhich lhe InIighlenmenl hiIoso-
hers, Rousseau, lhe Irench RevoIulion, }une
'48, lhe Iaris Commune, lhe IouIar Ironl, lhe
Resislance, lhe Liberalion and May '68 foIIov
each olher. Thal's aII veII and good. ul lhere
is anolher side lo lhe slory: lhe Resloralion of
1815, lhe VersaiIIais, lhe HoIy Union during lhe
Greal War, Ielain, horrendous coIoniaI vars...
and Sarkozy. So lhere are lvo hislories of Irance
and lhey are enlvined. Whenever greal revoIu-
lionary hysleria runs riol, il is mel vilh obsessive
reaclion. Irom lhis erseclive, I lhink lhal Iove
is aIso al slake.
Moreover, Iove has aIvays been Iinked lo
97
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
hisloricaI evenls. Romanlicism in Iove is Iinked
lo lhe revoIulions of lhe nineleenlh cenlury.
Andre relon is aIso lhe IouIar Ironl, lhe Resis-
lance, and lhe anli-Iascisl slruggIe. May '68 vas
a greal exIosion of exerimenls in nev lakes
on sexuaIily and Iove. ul vhen lhe conlexl
becomes sombre and reaclionary, allemls are
made lo bring idenlily back on lhe agenda. Il
can lake differenl forms, bul il is aIvays idenlily.
And Sarkozy vasn'l sIov off lhe mark. Targel
number one: vorkers from abroad. His inslru-
menl: savage, reressive IegisIalion. He had
aIready lried il on vhen he vas Minisler of lhe
Inlerior. The discourse used confIales Irench
and Weslern idenlilies. He has no quaIms aboul
erforming a IillIe coIoniaI number in reIalion
lo African man. The reaclionary ro|ecl is
aIvays lhe defence of our vaIues, casling us in
lhe mouId of vorIdvide cailaIism as lhe onIy
ossibIe idenlily. The imuIse driving reaclion is
A L A I N B A D I O U
aIvays a crude reference lo idenlily in one form or
anolher. Nov, vhen lhe Iogic of idenlily vins lhe
day, Iove is under lhreal. The vay il is allracled
lo difference, ils sociaI dimension, and ils viId,
evenluaIIy vioIenl side are under lhreal. They
romole a Iove lhal is safe, in Iine vilh aII lheir
olher securily inilialives. So nov il is urgenl lo
defend Iove's subversive, helerogeneous reIalion-
shi lo lhe Iav. Al lhe mosl minimaI IeveI, eoIe
in Iove ul lheir lrusl in difference ralher lhan
being susicious of il. Reaclionaries are aIvays
susicious of difference in lhe name of idenlily,
lhal's lheir generaI hiIosohicaI slarling-oinl.
If ve, on lhe conlrary, vanl lo oen ourseIves u
lo difference and ils imIicalions, so lhe coIIeclive
can become lhe vhoIe vorId, lhen lhe defence
of Iove becomes one oinl individuaIs have lo
raclise. The idenlily cuIl of reelilion musl be
chaIIenged by Iove of vhal is differenl, is unique,
is unreealabIe, unslabIe and foreign. In 1982 in
<5
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
lhe Tnccrq cj inc Su|jcci I vrole: Love vhal you
viII never see lvice.
Iikcuisc ii is in inai scnsc inai jcan-Iuc Gc!ar!s
ji|n, In Iraise of Love, inc cincnaiic ucrk in
inc jcrn cj a caniaia inai inspirc! inc iii|c jcr
cur !ia|cguc, csia||isncs a ccning icgcincr, a
ccrrcspcn!cncc |ciuccn |ctc an! |csisiancc...
Of course! Godard has aIvays inscribed in his
fiIms, from one momenl of hislory lo lhe nexl,
vhal he considered lo be lhe oinls of resislance
and crealion, and more generaIIy everylhing lhal
in his eyes deserved lo enler lhe comosilion of
an image. Whal is essenliaI for him, I lhink, is lo
aIIocale Iove belveen a slrong, urilan conce-
lion of sexuaIily and a reaIIy amorous lension
Iocaled more oflen in vomen, so lhal aII men face
lhe chaIIenge of |oining lhem or acceling lheir
aulhorily on lhis oinl. I have |usl vorked vilh
1 0 0
A L A I N B AD I OU
him on his nexl fiIm, vhere I viII ossibIy Iay
lhe roIe of a hiIosoher-Ieclurer on a Iuxury
cruise-shi, or erhas I von'l, because vho
knovs vhal lhis arlisl viII finaIIy do vilh every-
lhing he has shol` I have admired cIose u his
unique recision and his demanding slance. And
il is Iove lhal is aImosl aIvays al slake. Neverlhe-
Iess, lhe meIanchoIy lhal coIours everylhing in
Godard marks lhe difference belveen him and
myseIf in lerms of lhe conneclion belveen Iove
and resislance. I feeI incurabIy dislanl from lhal
sub|eclive coIouring, even vhen Iove is al slake.
Occs inc jascinaiicn jcr cc|c|s, incsc ncu !ciiics cn
a ic|ctisc! O|qnpus, sicn, in qcur ticu, sc|c|q jrcn
pc|iiica| !cccpiicn cr is ii cti!cncc cj an aiiraciicn
jcr |ctc sicrics inai ccncs jrcn inc pccp|cs
kncu|c!gc cj inc inicnsiiq cj |ctc?
<3Hg/s^fcp
101
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
There are lvo vays lo read lhis henomenon.
Irom a oIilicaI erseclive, one raidIy comes
lo lhe concIusion lhal il is somelhing fake. You
amuse and fascinale eoIe vilh lhese slories
and lhal dislracls lhem from vhal is reaIIy
imorlanl. In lerms of oIilics, vhal inleresl can
lhere be in lhe facl lhal CarIa succeeds CeciIia`
None al aII, obviousIy. ul you can aIso lry lo read
lhe ubIicily given lo lhese evenls in a differenl
vay by asking yourseIf: vhy does il vork` Il
musl be because lhere is a generic inleresl in
Iove slories. Il has aIvays been lhe case lhal lhe
Ioves of lhe uer crusl have been dramalised for
Iover morlaIs. Why` There are aIso lvo ossibIe
ansvers lo lhal queslion. One can simIy suggesl
il has lo do vilh Iove's universaIily: even Sarkozy
may be suffering as he deseraleIy vails on a
lexl lhal never arrives. If you change lhe scaIes,
if you move from oIilicaI lrulhs lo lhe lrulhs
of Iove, your oIilicaI enemy can end u being
<3HgIi>
102
A L A I N B A D I O U
Iike you, vhich isn'l greal, bul il is reassuring.
The Iove lhal can make a king suffer lo an exlenl
connecls him vilh lhe serf. Al lhal IeveI, lhe serf
is aIso a king. Il is lhe romanlic side of Iife: Iove is
aIvays in lhe air. ul, lhere is a second inlerre-
lalion: lhe aarenl commonaIily in assion aIso
shovs lhal lhese guys, lhe king, lhe residenl,
lhe Ihrer, lhe Ialher of lhe IeoIes, aren'l lhal
seciaI. They loo can be cuckoIded. So lhere is no
fundamenlaI reason lo resecl or fear lhem. We
are back lo oIilics, al Ieasl al ils basic, sub|eclive
IeveI.
As ve said before, lhere are enemies in
oIilics. So, ve von'l vorry if lhey suffer in Iove.
They'II never do us lhal honour! If ve are al aII
oIilicaIIy avare, ve musl say lhal il is nol our
robIem if Sarkozy's vife deceives him or nol.
ul ve shouId aIso say lhal ve are inleresled
in lhe visibiIily of Iove, al lhe IeveI of a diffuse
knovIedge of Iove's virlues, a IeveI lhal has
103
I N P R A I 5 E OF LOVE
moreover been forlified by Chrislianily. This visi-
biIily is arl of lhe boundIess fieId vhere oIilicaI
courage is fashioned from imure maleriaIs and
aIvays slarls from lhe osilion lhal enemies
have no suernaluraI significance and no lran-
scendenlaI over. To avoid gelling bogged dovn
in Sarkozian mediocrily, I viII give an examIe
of inlense, subIime Iove from Irench hislory: one
lhal, al lhe lime of lhe Ironde, Iinked lhe Queen
Regenl Anne of Auslria vilh lhal briIIianl,
corrul and devious oIilician, Mazarin. Irom
lhe oinl of viev of lhe riolers, lhis Iove became
a lerribIe obslacIe (lhe Regenl viII never Ieave
her man) and a vilaI ingredienl in ouIar
rheloric lhal reresenled Mazarin as a erverse
ig. I can lhink of no beller vay of saying lhal
onIy ambiguous conneclions exisl belveen
oIilics and Iove, a kind of orous searalion
or forbidden assage, lhal onIy lhe lhealre can
roerIy accounl for. Comedy` Tragedy` olh.
1 0 4
A L A I N B AD I OU
To Iove is lo slruggIe, beyond soIilude, vilh every-
lhing in lhe vorId lhal can animale exislence.
This vorId vhere I see for myseIf lhe founl of
hainess my being vilh someone eIse brings.
I Iove you becomes: in lhis vorId lhere is lhe
founl you are for my Iife. In lhe valer from lhis
founl, I see our bIiss, yours firsl. As in MaIIarme's
oem, I see:
|n inc uatc qcu |cccnc
Ycur nakc! ccsiasq.