Review: Alain Badiou’s Our Wound Is Not So Recent (2015)

In it15095149371s unreserved frankness, this seminar-turned-book is a breath of fresh air for anyone who feels disenchanted by the seemingly ‘senseless’ bloodshed that has recently punctuated the global narrative, perpetrated by those who have apparently gone rogue with religion. Unlike many other commentaries that play the blame game with late capitalism and festering inequality, Badiou’s analysis offers a more methodical investigation into what’s really transpiring at a systemic level. To make sense of the ‘senseless’—against our first intuitions that such attacks are irrational—is precisely what he sets out to do in this short monograph on the underlying cause(s) of last year’s Paris shootings, and the rise of the terrorist enterprise. ‘We can’t leave anything in the register of the unthinkable’, he says.

Despite the unmistakably continental posture that Badiou adopts in his prose, he remains incisively analytical in his systematic dissection of the global capitalist problem. His argument is distinctly structuralist in nature, as he explores the ordering of the contemporary world around and against capitalism and its cognates. True to his French learning, Badiou also makes occasional but striking allusions to psychoanalytic theory where appropriate, in so doing contextualising the contemporary problem within a broader system of desire.

Yet perhaps the most redemptive feature of his seminar is the humanising outlook he offers towards the end, where he tells of the need to understand and know the societal other that the capitalist machine has inevitably created and marginalised. This is, I think, the powerful message that his argument ultimately endeavours to convey to his (presumably middle class) readers—at once both jolting them into an acute consciousness of this sprawling, monolithic problem of (post)modernity, as well as charting a hopeful recourse that involves a fundamental paradigm shift at the level of the individual.

Epistemology in Doctor Strange (2016)

“No, I reject it because I do not believe in fairy tales about chakras or energy or the power of belief. There is no such thing as spirit! We are made of matter and nothing more. We’re just another tiny, momentary speck in an indifferent universe.”
Dr. Steven Strange

Marvel Studio’s Doctor Strange opens with a character exposdoctor-strange-posterition of a man who is equal parts sardonic and insufferably full of himself; he navigates the confines of the operating theatre with surgical accuracy—a kind of medical Sherlock Holmes, so to speak. The dramatic irony is deafening. Later in the film, Steven Strange vehemently professes to be a radical materialist (no surprise there) for whom the spiritual realm does not exist. There is for him only one substance that constitutes the universe—matter, and nothing more.

His skeptical and monist convictions very much struck a deep and resonating chord somewhere in the recess of my belief system. Even as my eyes remained transfixed on the moving image on screen, there was a sense in which an inner discourse was unravelling; my thoughts were set in tense negotiation with what I had just heard on screen. Those words could very well have been uttered by yours truly—every syllable of it.

At some imperceptible point in my life, there was as it were, an asymptote of faith which inaugurated a movement towards the kind of paradigm subscribed by Strange. A young man who once championed an unerring confidence in an almighty deity had fallen away, like a withered leaf from the bough of a great oak. Even the word ‘falling away’ is contentious here, because it presumes a right path from which one could possibly diverge from, and in so doing, ‘fall’ or err. A proper materialist and agnostic would do away with such loaded terms.

I cannot remember exactly when this epistemological turn transpired—but the shift was pre-philosophical, even before my formal engagement with academic philosophy in my early twenties. All I remember was feeling an instinctive indignation at all the evil that was blossoming unchecked around me, and this whittled away any faith I held in an omnibenevolent higher being. Prayers for my own and my family’s safety began to feel immensely self-serving. Then I realised everyone else around me was doing the same. Prayers for others felt like incidental whispers in the dark—perhaps motivated by the need for our conscience to be heard in what seemed like an ‘indifferent universe’. We pray for divine assistance and expect help to fly in choruses of angels to Syria or the Rohingyas—for some miraculous change of heart in the antagonists whom we unwittingly believe belong to the fairy tales of bedtime rituals. Stories of glorious conversion and poetic justice. The mortal realm is regrettably far more complex than our consoling imaginations of the divine can fathom.

Yet even as I shape these seemingly wayward thoughts into words, a part of me is shaken still with some oscillation of uncertainty at my own convictions. How sure am I in my implicit claims to understand the ‘divine’—whether it is physical or metaphysical, real or imaginary, or perhaps a linguistic feature? Do I know enough to know that there is no transcendent reality beyond my own? These are precisely the types of unstable beliefs and claims to knowledge that the exposition of Doctor Strange seeks to challenge. Never mind if the philosophical problem is quickly and formulaically answered with displays of dramatic mysticism and CGI in the Marvel universe. It is nonetheless a question that still persists in our own—and it is one that I’ve been forced to confront time and again with renewed vigour.

At one point in the film, The Ancient One reprimands Strange with powerful counter-empiricist rhetoric:

“You think you know how the world works? You think that this material universe is all there is? What is “real”? What mysteries lie beyond the reach of your senses?”

The implicit conclusion here is that there are other ways of knowing beyond sense or reason. Knowing therefore becomes an event of meaning. There is no longer universal truth in the strictest sense, but only knowledge that makes sense within a specified context of knowing. And surely, this context we speak of is not one of culture or nationality or ethnicity—it is one of dimension: of the senses, of the mind, of other uncharted media. In claiming that we know how the world works, the only truth in that statement is the knowledge of how it works through the use of our senses or reason. That’s it. We can say nothing more of knowing beyond those human faculties.

I am as such, at every possible waking moment, myself reminded of the limits of my senses that no recourse to reason or a rationalist worldview could possibly bridge. There may be a vast repository of non-sensory or irrational phenomena unfolding around or within us that neither sense nor mind can decipher, much less detect.

And who knows—perhaps God resides in those gaps of silence.

What Would The Humanist Say?

Marco Rubio: Women with Zika should not be allowed abortions

This is patriarchy at the pinnacle of ignorance—masquerading as a noble yet terrifyingly misguided moral principle that ‘everyone should be entitled to life’. It is nothing more than an egoistic, gendered dictatorship that Rubio is pushing for.

On the other side of the world Pakistani men are slaughtering their daughters and wives because ‘honour’—the local dialect for hegemonic control and possession of women—is deemed the be-all and end-all of a woman’s existence. They are to men nothing but fetishised products of virtue as defined by heteronormative dictates, born only to serve the appetites of male privilege.

That analogues of such barbarianism (and I make no apologies for ignoring irrelevant cultural idiosyncrasies) has been openly and politically endorsed in a country steeped in ideologies of liberty and individualism is almost infuriating. It seems that the narrative of gender oppression knows no bounds of time and space; it is a disgraceful universal human condition.

An innocuous comment on Facebook also appears to have revealed a twisted and thinly veiled hypocrisy:

Rubio is pro-birth, not pro-life.

It made me realise that this man is a misguided moral utilitarian whose ethical motivation is neither the psychological nor spiritual well-being of others, but some abstract and unbending decree far removed from humanity—and that, to him, is the greatest ‘good’. Never mind if those women bear malformed children who curse them for ‘giving life’ and delivering them physically damned into the careless arms of this world. Never mind if the bodies of these women are state-owned property, and that we continue to delude ourselves into believing that we have made progressive strides in gender equality. Never mind if the families of these children have to bear the economic burden of grappling with physiological complications, some of which may be chronic and life-long. No—only the prescribed collective conscience matters.

I’m not sure if he is religious or some follower of an absolutist pro-life New Age deity—I can’t be bothered to check. But this is why secular principles founded on concerted and pragmatic reasoning—grounded in the here, now, and human—are indispensable to sound governance and the good life. Not on the promise of alleged eternal reward, or the fires of eternal damnation. Not on your own beliefs in those promises. This is why humanism is so very important in a world awash in the empty rhetoric of an unfathomable divine future.

Memento Mori

“From the middle of life onward, only he remains vitally alive who is ready to die with life. For in the secret hour of life’s midday the parabola is reversed, death is born. The second half of life does not signify ascent, unfolding, increase, exuberance, but death, since the end is its goal. The negation of life’s fulfilment is synonymous with the refusal to accept its ending. Both mean not wanting to live, and not wanting to live is identical with not wanting to die. Waxing and waning make one curve.”
Jung, ‘The Soul and Death’ (1972)

self_portrait_with_death-large

‘Self Portrait With Death Playing The Fiddle’ (1872), Arnold Böcklin

These days, the nights are longer—more protracted, like an unravelling spool of thread stretching searchingly into the sable screen overhead. I try to follow its invisible trail, my mind precariously tethered to its fraying helices—and at once I see the vast constellation of Memory. At once I gaze at the facticity of all that has happened, and the vacuity of all that has not. Then once more—as always—I turn inward, downward, into what is not yet but must be.

Umberto Eco and Harper Lee are no more; I wonder where they are, right now. Are they peering from the gilded windows of Heaven, or wandering amidst the inscrutable mists of Catholic purgatory? Against better Christian judgment, perhaps, they are simply asleep now and forever in freshly dug beds of earth—the physical voids we create for them to fill, to fill the metaphysical voids they leave behind. And then they will disappear like they never existed, their lives one more fiction in the literary legacy they’ve left to those left behind.

We are leaving, one at a time. Sometimes halfway across this small, pendant world some few scores leave in a supernova of ash and gunpowder—on the dreams of blunt concrete and mortar. Sometimes just a few metres away someone exhales in his sleep, and the story ends. Sometimes there is an ironic vigil around a dying, flickering ember; the moment is pregnant with anticipation, for arrival or departure—I do not know. But it always ends in the sweet smell of smoke.

These days, the sunsets are tinged with a peculiar afterglow—an infusion of dirty lilac and ashen orange, the kind that makes you remember what a spectacle you’d just witnessed, but that has become a spectacle of Memory—the wispy ghosts of a mighty conflagration. And then there is a sudden urgency, because Nature has a way of colluding with Fate, to write metaphors in the smallest or biggest things.

I have become increasingly aware of the finitude of my time here on this little mote spinning around a burning pebble, in the middle of nowhere. It is so strangely visceral—sometimes I touch the soft pads of my fingers, and I feel the fragility of the skin that separates flesh from this chaotic, terrific universe. And oh—how very, very impossible it is that I should still be alive! And momentarily I am in awe of the miracle of my existence—before the pall draws itself once more around the dome of my consciousness. I become aware of my every physical sensation—it is something like waking up in turns, by the turn of the second hand. With every flood of phenomenal data, I feel that warm light of life, and the inevitable shadow it must cast. What is the space between the seconds?

Life slips through these cracks.

A Runaway Train of Thought

It’s been more than a month since I last did some written reflection or theorizing here—a rather worrying regression. Amidst the flurry of recent change—and being someone quite easily disconcerted by flux (I’m working on it)—a quiet mind is a rarity these days; or even where there is mental quiet, it is only a restless silence, and not the placid self-assuredness of a present mind. Quite bluntly put, I have no motivation to write these days. And when there is no desire to write, it intuitively follows that there is no object that inaugurates this desire; there is no purpose or point or end. So one can write at length—if one is even fortunate to begin—and never finish writing, or never knowing why he writes. Of course, this assumes that all writing must have an end (in either sense); for me at least, unless I’m churning out nihilistic postmodern fiction (which will never happen), everything must be meaningful. Meaning is contingent on transience (termination/ending), at least from a humanist point of view. Things are humanly meaningful only because things will one day die.

But God is eternal, you might say; is he not meaningful, if not meaning par excellence? Yet God is a conceptually different issue altogether. We can argue that he remains meaningful to us despite his eternality because he is at bottom part of our living cognitive framework, which is ultimately mortal. This is not to say God cannot be meaningful in his perfection and immortality; he by definition is, as mentioned. Nor is this to claim that he is merely a cognitive construct that cannot stand independent of our experiences of him (if any). If God is omnipresent (and he by definition is), then he is both extraneous to and entrenched in our time and space. He is both existing and experienced. Yet his eternality (and existence) notwithstanding, we may only ‘know’ him as an experience—be it sensory or spiritual, intellectual or intuitive. And because we shall one day die, God is therefore—like any other object—invested with earthly/experiential meaning for us, over and above the ‘eternal’ meaning he has by virtue of existing (which we can never access in our mortal form).

Well, that was a rather (un)necessary diversion with the intent of justifying why God can remain meaningful despite being eternal. Why did we bother with that? Because I claimed that meaning is contingent on transience, but—wait a minute—God isn’t transient, and so is he supposedly meaningless?

***

Anyway, back to the issue of being uninspired recently. If one does not write with intention and object(ive), the whole exercise becomes a pretentious farce at worst, and one in self-indulgence at best. And this is about to become either, so it’s best I wrap things up before I lapse into vacuous prose (which I probably already have).

Long story short, I think I need time to recalculate my intellectual bearings, because right now I’m just so fixated on the external and visceral; there is simply too much going on out there in the phenomenal realm that demands my attention. So while it’s true that I have gone on a reasonably long writing hiatus already, I think I will maintain this non-committal engagement with this space, since I don’t really wish to feel obliged to ritualize my writing—not at this point of time, at least. Perhaps when I’ve finally settled down in my cosy single room in hall, I’d be able to sit placidly in the eye of the storm:

An old custodian, at the heart of his vast, enveloping library of thoughts, sifting through the spiralling shelves of time-lost tomes—in search of an answer he never has to abandon again.

Self Deconstructed

Plato points to Heaven; Aristotle levels his hand to Earth. Excerpt from Raphael’s The School of Athens.

I’ve grown quite impulsive of late. If I don’t feel like studying, I just don’t. If I want to daydream, I just do. My humour has turned (more) facetious, my tolerance less than hospitable. I am restless, emotionally. Something threatens to destabilize this psychic order; or else its ecosystem has already been damned into disarray. My mind darts around from imaginary node to node–a baton race in a prison cell; Intuition has gone berserk.
 

I can’t concentrate; my consciousness is everywhere. Nope, I’m not talking about some meditation-induced hyperawareness in which conscious thought diffuses radially from a central nexus of being until the cosmos is entirely present to the internal Eye/I. Nah, none of that psychic arcanistry. In what seems like a mocking perversion of omnipresence, my mind feels like it’s been sundered and partitioned into spaces–a fragmented topos–and each piece of frayed fabric dyed with a shade here, a hue there. I leap and vault from one magic carpet to another–whole new worlds are at once raised and shattered: raised, only to be shattered, like some sick joke played by an ennui-ridden Maker.

Meaning. All my frustration, grief, and anger have precipitated from the compulsion to make meaning ex nihilo. To (en)force presence where there is none–where there is absence, that placid, sempiternal corpse; some things were dead from the start, but I could not recognize death-as-being. Or else, I misrecognized the primordial absence as a hungering for presence–a desire that craved satiation. So I stuffed that ravenous maw ravenously–almost out of spite, because why would God create absence when it was in his power to present? When we create meaning, we foreclose possibilities of meaning; in signification, we silence ambiguity–its dying gasps are met with our first words. We condemn and catastrophize with our semantic architecture; we conjure grand Pandemoniums and sky-breaking Babelian towers; sprawling tombs choked with corpses of royal dead, chambers and courtyards replete with blasphemous riches and amoral harems. All this we raise from the abyssal void of absence–and what for? To sustain the fantasy of that Eden which was never ours to begin with.

To be sure, there never was Paradise.But yes, I have catastrophized all my losses only because I’ve always wanted them to mean something. By signifying them–by fastening signified to signifier–I fixate on the fictional presence superimposed on a natural absence/ab-sense/nonsense. I was never–in my human capacity–obligated to throw that absence a second glance, but to merely accept the chasm as a feature of presence, as how one observes mountains and valleys alternating. But no, I needed and still need, closure. I need to dam(n) that absence, that gaping alterity. I have to make the loss meaningful in the most literal, pedantic sense of the word; it must mean something because of everything that I’ve lost. But by now, I think, I ought to know that commemoration is catastrophe.

That is why I must try not to impose meaning on everything that I own or lose. I am everything that I own, and very soon I will be everything that I lose because surprise–everything must die. If I persist in being wantonly sentimental, I risk foreclosing my entire life–my whole Self–to a single monolithic narrative no less hateful than the metanarratives of the ancients; and only because I need closure and despise ambiguity.

I need to stop taking myself and everything around me so seriously, and I don’t mean being facetious about things one ought to treat with gravity. I mean being ironic, unabashedly. Okay so what if I’ve loved carelessly and lost my heart (whatever that is) at sea? Let me then lose until I learn. Let me desire until I can finally realise that love and loss are dialectical, that we can never fully love without the overhanging shadow of loss.

But above all, let me desire and desire irrationally. Let me disarm myself of Reason, just momentarily–just so I don’t have to explain myself, to explain why I should or should not love someone, to convince myself why I should or should not miss someone. It is mortally exhausting to have to qualify something as psychologically complex as love, in the face of a thousand possibilities and contingencies. Love/desire/limerence is capricious, selfish, possessive–so let it be. It’s funny how I’m only beginning to realise this now. But hey, it’s about time.

If there is one thing I’ve lately learnt–or that experience has demonstrated–it is that there is no such thing as a humanly experienced transcendental Love; it is not accessible to us. Platonic/Transcendental Love does not desire; it cannot. For it to be transcendental, it must be timeless and unchanging–that is the love of gods.

All iterations of (romantic) love are phenomenological in nature–it is felt, in its full consuming force; mercurial, paroxysmal, wanting, fallen, or falling. How ever can we speak of and attest to the metaphysical Love if all we can do is perceive with our fallible senses? It is at best inferred, if not constructed. Constructedness–I must be aware of its constructedness: ideals and expectations that I can never hope to completely satisfy.

A paradigm shift is in progress–some kind of intrapsychic eclipse is ongoing, as I begin to abandon Platonic idealism for a Aristotelean humanism. Have I grown cynical? Perhaps I have; but I’d rather think I’ve been forced to be more critical, more aware that Eden is a fictional space, or a mental state–one that has no place on Earth. But truth be told, I am reluctant. I am reluctant to think and speak outside a system of Forms–of stable transcendental signifieds–because I need its dedication to absolute presence, closure, and therefore, assurance. By squaring every human phenomenon with the divine template, everything is blessed with meaning.

Something tells me I will never be able to completely forsake the Platonic philosophy, which in part convinces me that I can never lose faith in God. But I must concede that I am Human–and from me these ideals are forever removed. My gaze, having long been transfixed on the metaphysical, must be redirected to the earthly–the sensory, the physical, the mechanical, the absence, the artifice.

Or rather I, while keeping my gaze to the heavens, must learn to feel the earth beneath and all around me. Or else, I am simply a mortal fool living by eternal laws, whose high virtues will always remind me that I can never be good enough for anyone–not even myself.

A part of me wishes, that there were an Aristotle incarnate somewhere today to teach me, in all my idealism, to stay grounded because I am only Human. To be carefree without being careless; or to love and lose unapologetically.

Because we don’t have many sunsets left to watch.

Romance and Metaphysics

“We’re going down,
And you can see it too;
We’re going down
And you know that we’re doomed.
My dear, we’re slow dancing in a burning room.”
— John Mayer, ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’

If there is any one lesson I’ve internalized after years of grappling with the Fall, it is this — that one should never take love seriously.

I remember long ago (in one of my entries) making the distinction between phenomenology of love — the feeling and sensation of being romantically involved — and the logic undergirding the performance of love, the mechanics of romantic desire. If I’m not wrong, I implicitly argued that while romantic feelings are spontaneous and erratic, attraction is a very rational process. I mean, there are cultural, psychological, and biochemical processes explaining how and why we fall in love (with someone); and if we are hardcore determinists — at the risk of being overly but justifiably reductive — we can maintain that at bottom, love consists essentially in the collision of atoms and molecules. Of course, no romantic would want to grant that, and we are all romantics in some guise or another, whether we believe in Fate or interpersonal chemistry. Such a scientifically reductionist approach to defining or understanding love grates against the strongest of our intuitions — although love makes us believe anything sometimes.

Yet even if we remove the microscope a tier or two higher up the explanatory hierarchy — at the level of psychological analysis — we still observe the same casual relations subsisting between discrete units: neurons, psyches, individuals. All we have done is simply to overlay the disconcertingly mechanical operations of love at the atomic chemical level with more aesthetic or intellectually comfortable concepts; we replace collisions with desire, desire with love, and love with Love capitalized and transcendental. Still there remains a thread of logical rigour that weaves these seemingly disparate strata of discourses into a unifying fabric — a kind of operational blueprint of romance. While ostensibly counter-intuitive, this systemic conception of love is a no less valid one. Before the clueless romantic gets all up-in-arms with accusations that I have desecrated the altar of Eros, I wish to remind him/her that this is an objective account of love. Just because you don’t immediately see or feel the underlying causality (and we can’t) doesn’t mean it isn’t operant.

Anyway, all is well and reasonable — this polyvalent yet conceptually singular understanding of the causal action of love — until we (or rather, the romantics amongst us) venture passionately to claim, perhaps under the auspices of Aphrodite, that love is nothing but an inexplicable, intoxicating feeling. That is to say, love just happens, and when it does, it is mysterious and esoteric. What we would have done in making this assertion is to not only (1) make the convenient leap from ontology (love as system) to phenomenology (love as experience), but also to (2) deny one and privilege the other.

To transit from the logic of romantic action to the sensation of love — to equate and conflate them — I think, is a kind of fallacy of identity.

A romantic fallacy, if you will — something that perhaps the aforementioned romantic would champion and fiercely defend. Yet in his construction of love as pure sensation, it deserves mention that the romantic would be just as guilty of the reductionist charge that he had leveled against the determinist earlier (for reducing love to mechanics).

Now, as we observed earlier, from physics to biochemistry to neural systems to psyches, and finally to individual persons, the causality or logic of love at each tiered system is evident (and essentially identical). But once we stack the phenomenology of love onto this equivalence hierarchy, the thread of identity is broken. This is because while the chemical, psychological, and cultural machinations of love are rational processes, the sensation of love — its phenomenology — is anything but rational. It is purely and only felt, and no depth of intellectual discourse can induce in a mind the feeling of being romantically affected. It is no different from the fact that we can never reproduce a touch, or a taste, or a smell, or an image by means other than a spontaneous engagement with the senses. Even in dreams, their imaginary analogues cannot ever match the degree of intimacy that characterizes the immediate sensations — of actually smelling a rose on a mildly drizzling evening, or waking up to a warm wash of sunbeams pouring forth from an open curtain.

Why then are we so intuitively inclined to conflate the raw sense impressions of love (what it feels like) with its objective ontological account (what it is), such that — falling as much in love as into the trap of the romantic fallacy — we claim that love is feeling the rush of dizzying adrenaline, or the self-consuming desire for another? The answer is pretty straightforward: we only have access to the phenomenology of love. Can we see the undergirding clockwork causality — the directors or stage-masters — of romantic performance? No; what we feel is the pathos of the performance, the enthralling heights of ecstasy and the annihilating abyss of loss. We do not and can never perceive the biochemical precursors to what we feel and identify as phenomenological love. What we immediately perceive is the very intimate force of romantic sense impressions engendered by mechanical processes we cannot see or feel. This is why it is so easy to say that love is and only is phenomenology — pure sensation. At one level it is; but one cannot discount the fact that there is another dimension of romance that is operant as a foundational substratum, and which brings into effect or causes the sensations of love that we spontaneously experience. The relation between the invisible logic of love and the experience of love is not one of identity, but causality.

Because all we personally know of love is the sensations it impresses upon consciousness, we can only refer to them, or their memory, when we make decisions or judgments that may affect the course of our romantic endeavours. As we all know, love as phenomenology (or feeling) is fundamentally irrational in virtue of consisting in sense impressions, since as mentioned earlier, sense impressions are beyond the purview of Reason (and therefore not-rational). As such, just as how we spontaneously perceive light from the Sun, or heat from a stove, feeling romantic affect is immediate — that is to say, it is not mediated by the judicious gatekeeper, Reason, or the wise old man, Memory. When we feel attracted to someone, we don’t form internal arguments from premises and arrive at the conclusion that we like him/her; we just feel. No act of judgment is involved, at least not until we make decisions on the basis of these sensations.

And when finally we do, we are susceptible to the same errors of judgement as one unwittingly falls prey to upon believing that he sees a yellow wall in front of him, when in fact what he perceives is a white wall under yellow light. Our senses deceive us — or rather, they are imperfect and thus fallible — and latching onto those faulty impressions, we inevitably make misguided judgements that do not immediately seem faulty. The same mode of misrecognition and misjudgment is evident in our experience of love and how we navigate our romantic geography. Often along the way, there are mirages of reciprocal attraction — perhaps we misinterpret a certain gesture or a particular vocal inflection, and thus mistakenly infer the possibility of affection. Then we begin to invest our expectations and ideals in what we perceive to be a prospective relationship, only to realize later that the oasis is a lie — a self-conjured illusion. And it is very difficult to blame anyone but ourselves, because no one else sees the same things we do — our emotional states inflect our personal phenomenology. Truly, we see and feel what we want to, and sometimes not even the incessant hammering of Reason at psyche’s door can convince us otherwise.

And so no matter how rational and mechanical the underlying processes of love are, there is always the possibility of delusion at the level of sensations, and subsequent errors of judgement in decision-making. We are only granted access to the irrational facet of love, and because its foundational system of surefire causality is irrevocably removed from us and our senses, we can never be too sure of ourselves when we do fall in love. Our only certainty is of what we feel when we are finally loving someone. Nothing can prepare us for that, or anything that follows from that moment of genesis.

In short, romance is a kind of religion, if you ask me. Not in the sense of being an institution with a monolithic center, but rather in the way that it demands a leap of faith — to jump even though we’re not quite sure what lies ahead. The essential difference is that you may lose your footing while making that romantic vault, but no God will be there to catch you when you fall. Because not even our faith can save us, we’re better off wearing simulacra of our hearts on our disposable sleeves, while keeping the Heart safe where it rightfully belongs — right here, at Home.

One should never take love seriously.