Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Nowadays in China not only Blogger but You Tube is banned. In the past, Wikipedia was forbidden although at present it's being allowed through the wall (I think?). For how long it will be, who can know? Pornography sites are inaccessible, which is odd in a country that lacks our neo-platonic reservations about the means of reproduction; a country, moreover, awash (albeit hiddenly) with brothels and prostitutes. And now, so I hear, Facebook, the friendly, innocent whore of corporate connectivity, has been slain. Clearly, the Chinese Government is frightened of something. But clearly not frightened of actually being frightened - and of how that makes them seem.

The block on Blogger has of course made it difficult to post. Now, however, I'm in Germany, so have lost that excuse. I guess I'm just going through a 'dry' phase, which will last as long as it lasts. Actually, I've been posting a lot to Facebook in the form of the status update, which I find rather amusing, though people tend not to maximise its potential as they might. Though I know many an intellectual snob wince and squirm at the vulgar monster, Facebook has become an integral and very efficient component of my social life. I will be highly annoyed if the block on it is not removed by the time I return to the Red Dragon in September.

Since leaving China and its whole universe behind, I've been on a whistlestop tour through my past, taking advantage of my generous ten week holiday. I haven't done much in the way of actually resting, apart from in the past few days on a remote beach in Croatia. Instead, nostalgia has taken me back to Kuwait, to a school reunion in Cambridge and to Slovakia, where I've been reconnecting with my old world.

Today I'm in Munich and will go on a 'Third Reich Tour'. There seem to be many such trips on offer, and I wonder what percentage of the takers are fellow Brits, whose fascination for the Nazis is legendary (it seems we need an 'other' against which to define ourselves as much as the next nation). Then to Ludwig II's castle, I think, Berchtesgarden at the weekend, and on Monday six hours in Heidelburg before travelling to the absurdly located Frankfurt Hahn airport and on to Bristol, via Stansted, to spend some time with my very good friend Lee, a month before he gets married.

My summer gradually comes into shape as the possibilities for what I can do with it recede as its length ahead of me shrinks. Still, it's very nice to have had, and to still have, such a lot of time in which to do 'nothing' (whatever that means).

Friday, June 12, 2009

If Love Could Save The World

Romantic love’s central limitation is its exclusiveness. By it not more than one person can be loved. Therefore, its nature is essentially centripetal and restrictive. It does not open itself to the stars, to the beyond and, more particularly, to other people. Not by romantic love, to be sure, is the world to be saved. And not in terms of romantic love did Jesus enjoin the virtues of love upon us. One cannot, perhaps, be so sure about John Lennon. When he said: ‘all you need is love’, he stood triumphantly beside Yoko.

That said, if in loving one's lover one recognizes that they are not merely one's lover but another human being like any other (who can deny this?), one can recognize that when one loves ones lover, ultimately, one is not loving them but through them humanity itself, in its entirety, expansively.

In this way they become a gate, a portal, though which the love of others can be realized.

In so far as romantic love is not such a love, I am wondering, how can it be considered the highest type of love?

Another drawback of romantic love is that it is often a love of one person’s ego for another's, not the love of one true self for another. Hence romntic love's conditionality and frailty. Too often we love one another in defiance of Kant’s imperative: as means not as ends, as organic commodities to serve our purposes, only for as long as we do.

Still, you don’t have to remind me that without romantic love, love can be a somewhat disembodied, bloodless affair.

A question: What kind of an understanding of love would there have to be if love were to become an item in political discourse? Not sure, but I suspect love would first have to lose its highly privatized, embarrassing nature (when grafted into the public sphere that is).

This reltes to how talk of a generalized, extra-romantic love in the context of a divine framework had always worked, at least when it did. Here, we love through the medium of a third entity, which removes the pressure, and supplies a shared point of reference and trans-individual framework. In loving one another we are loving more than one another; and this both allays our disappointments with one another and allows us to look beyond.