actuality, indeed, there is no security. Time is characterized by bringing along with it change and loss and (boring) repetition. Therefore, in order to secure the pleasure of the passing moment – the intensity of the newly felt love – one has to end it before it gets spoiled. One has to freeze the first moment of love, as it were, and to turn it from a living, continuing present into a recollection; one has ‘to kill’ the ‘chosen ones’ (that is, the relationships one has had with them, the moments one has spent with them) – in order to recollect them. There, in recollection, they can be cherished as beautiful and happy, as intact , as one wishes them to be. The aesthetic love contains an inner contradiction. The aesthetic moment defeats itself, as it were: its fulfilment is necessarily also its destruction. It is not something one can hold on to, something whose 22 kierkegaard on faith and love
possession can be extended into the future (because, again, when thus extended, it turns into something else, something ‘boring’). Therefore the aesthetic love can be maintained only as a lost love; as a part of the past – it can be maintained only in the form of recollection. To put it differently, in his fear of losing the intensity and thrill of love, the aesthete refuses to continue the relationship, and thus turns it into a recollection. Thereby he dooms his love to loss: For me nothing is more dangerous than to recollect. As soon as I have recollected a life relationship, that relationship has ceased to exist … A recollected life relationship has already passed into eternity and has no temporal interest anymore. (EO 1 , 32 ) In a way, the aesthetic lover wants to turn the first moment of love into an eternity . He wants to ‘freeze’ the moment of interest and create for himself a sphere devoid of the threatening passage of time (that for him is the cause of everything he is afraid of: the loss of the interesting, the loss of immediate pleasure, the loss of the thrill of the moment, the encounter with the committing and potentially painful). However, this eternity is, of course, a false one. The moment is over and the ‘eternity’ the aesthete is left with is only the memory of the moment, its recollection, its existence in the past. It is not surprising, then, that the aesthetic lover is character- ized as ‘the unhappiest one’ – he is ‘the envoy from the kingdom of sighs, the chosen favorite of suffering, the apostle of grief, the silent friend of pain, the unhappy lover of recollection ’ (EO 1 , 229 , emphasis mine). 6 From the perspective that asks about love’s possible responses to the problem of loss (that essentially pervades and threatens it), we may say that the aesthetic lover offers quite a miserable solution. He cannot handle the passage of time and the loss it entails, and his reaction consists of his futile attempt to freeze the love and transform it into a recollection.
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- Fall '10
- BONIFACIO CUNANAN
- Søren Kierkegaard