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Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2008 04:42 am
28 - Love the Person You See
Pages 106-108, P:SWK

"To love another in spite of his weaknesses and errors and imperfections is not perfect love. No, to love is to find him lovable in spite of and together with his weakness and errors and imperfections. ... True love is a matter of loving the very person you see. The emphasis is not on loving the perfections, but on loving the person you see, no matter what perfections or imperfections that person might possess."

Kierkegaard here draws attention to love in its purest form, to love one's faults as well as strengths. Using several parables, I find the common theme is a variation of the Euthyphro problem: Is one lovable because it is inherently lovable, or is it lovable because someone loves it. In Kierkegaard's example, take two artists, one who never paints anything because he is trying to find the purest, flawless, perfect object to which to paint; because he always finds even the tiniest fault in everything, he never paints. But another paints that which he finds lovable, regardless of its flaws and/or perfections, and because he does paint, the latter is more of a painter than the other.

One of the reasons I enjoy Kierkegaard is his poetic and passionate arguments, and this one is no exception. He argues that true love must be unconditional in that you love someone because of who she is, what she does, what you see, and not who you want her to be (perfect :p). You can't really say you "love" a person if you tell her, "I wish you didn't smoke" or "You cheated on me, you bastard!" or "Stop being a damn whore". It is human nature to criticize someone's faults and try to correct it, that's granted. And if you don't love that person anymore, that's not really true love is it. That's fine for some, who just live for the moment and is happy to move on; that's great for them! But to truly love, Kierkegaard argues, just love the person she is; love the person you see.
 
parker pyne
 
Reply Sat 4 Jul, 2009 10:31 pm
@Victor Eremita,
Fantastic! This reminds me of Derrida, who once said in a video that love is not liking a person's qualities, but liking a person. Love is holistic in a way, because it penetrates the superficial qualities that may draw you to a woman, and encompasses flaws and imperfections.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 06:34 am
@parker pyne,
parker pyne;74949 wrote:
Fantastic! This reminds me of Derrida, who once said in a video that love is not liking a person's qualities, but liking a person. Love is holistic in a way, because it penetrates the superficial qualities that may draw you to a woman, and encompasses flaws and imperfections.


Not according to the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats: And, as usual, Derrida is dead wrong.

For Anne Gregory


'NEVER shall a young man,
Thrown into despair
By those great honey-coloured
Ramparts at your ear,
Love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.'
'But I can get a hair-dye
And set such colour there,
Brown, or black, or [

That young men in despair
May love me for myself alone
And not my yellow hair.'
'I heard an old religious man
But yesternight declare
That he had found a text to prove
That only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.'

William Butler Yeats
 
parker pyne
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 08:33 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;75039 wrote:
Not according to the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats: And, as usual, Derrida is dead wrong.

For Anne Gregory


'NEVER shall a young man,
Thrown into despair
By those great honey-coloured
Ramparts at your ear,
Love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.'
'But I can get a hair-dye
And set such colour there,
Brown, or black, or [
That young men in despair
May love me for myself alone
And not my yellow hair.'
'I heard an old religious man
But yesternight declare
That he had found a text to prove
That only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.'

William Butler Yeats

I've never encountered a refutation in the form of a poem before!

But I'm not convinced by pathos; try logos. Yeats' claim is a bit empty. And I don't know why you criticised Derrida so heavily while letting Kierkegaard off the hook so easily.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 5 Jul, 2009 09:14 pm
@parker pyne,
parker pyne;75214 wrote:
I've never encountered a refutation in the form of a poem before!

But I'm not convinced by pathos; try logos. Yeats' claim is a bit empty. And I don't know why you criticised Derrida so heavily while letting Kierkegaard off the hook so easily.


Yeats' claim may be false, but what is "empty" about it? He is saying that God alone can see into the essence of anyone. But human knowledge is confined only to the accidental properties of people. And, I don't know about God's knowledge, but it seems to me that human knowledge is as Yates describes it. But that is surely not an empty claim. Derrida was a fraud, and a charlatan. Kierkegaard was not. He said some interesting things.
 
sarek
 
Reply Tue 14 Jul, 2009 04:22 am
@Victor Eremita,
Just observe the fleeting nature of what usually passes for love these days and see the truth of these words.
Notice how often it is not the person that is seen but only an aspect of that person. And if that aspect no longer holds sufficient appeal, where is the love?
 
 

 
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