The Labyrinths of Love






Camilo E. Ramírez

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“There is no love without humor”



We talk about love, write about it and even remain silent about it; we cry about it, scream about it and sing about it. With love, everything is possible; without love, nothing is possible. Love—says one of the many clichés that tries to explain it—makes the world go round.Though we’ve heard about it or read about it, no one is immune from the illusions and seductions of love. In a way, it is an experience of ecstasy, a chase and a snare. What do you see in me that you say you’re in love with? I don’t see it, but I’m glad you do, because that somehow makes more of that part of me that I never thought anyone would appreciate. That’s what we ask ourselves when we’re in love, whether we know it or not. And when our heart is broken, we see the discrepancy between what we thought about the other person and reality. We could say that love doesn’t happen without disappointment, and when we take our masks off, instead of what we expected to find in the other and didn’t, what we find is our own desire that failed, and now coping with and playing lovingly and comically with this failure (what I wanted to see in you, that I thought I saw, but I never had) can build something new, wiser and less naive, less demanding of the other, as if to say, “I want you to love me like I want you to love me.”

Love is an encounter that no one knows quite how or why it started, much less what will happen. So, it’s an experience, a passage with comic characteristics. There is no love without humor. That could be the message of romantic comedies: not only that we can detect the existence of the prince and princess, the ideal, but also the tragedy of the failure of another to meet our impossible demands—that even we ourselves can’t meet. And we can use play to create a love in every-day life where the impossible aspect of love, in which the other is always perfect for us, is inverted. The other is imperfect, but we love him or her anyway. “Love is giving something you do not have to someone who is not,” said Jacques Lacan. We love without words and with risks; there’s always something inexplicable and silent in love, which, when we try to define it too much, cheapens it. Like when you try to decipher love genetically or neurochemically. When they say, “what actually happens in the brain is...,” they strip the symbolic meaning of the experience from love. So, when Freud was asked about love, he would slyly tell people to ask the poets and artists, because they’re the ones who speak to us about love. It is precisely by playing with their artifacts—the words of the poet, music, sculpture, dance, and so on—that something of the ineffable and evanescent nature of love becomes present in an instant with its irony and lightness. At the slightest desire to formalize and protect love, it loses its luster and charm, since the desire, the moment and the risk have been separated from it, making it a routine, crushing, dull, humorless, simple social routine of companions who share a journey or manage a home—everything but love. You never know how long love will last, much less the vicissitudes that those who risk love will go through in the context of change and transformation, not only of one’s self but of the other, of the context, the bond; of the love that allows neither control nor monitoring, because as soon as we look back at what we thought was stable and secure, it has already changed. And, on the contrary, when we lose it, its nucleus becomes dynamic again, sparking love, and energizing the life of the person who loves the lightness of risk and the paradox f loving and living. It is the sense of the meaninglessness of existence, like love itself, since love has reasons that reason doesn’t understand.