An Object-Oriented Love Affair

When you really want love you will find it waiting for you.

— Oscar Wilde

And what is the task of defining what Love really is? What necessary and sufficient conditions must there be for such an experience or event or object to exist?

The allure and inexpressible or untranslatable – from experience to words – of Love, is akin to the experience of Art and the Sublime. They each posses that which cannot be fathomed by mere words alone. This said, taking Oscar Wilde as our cue, is the experience of Art, the finding of it, not unlike that of Love? Or is it that, any art-object laying out there submerged in the noise of other objects, hidden, doesn’t necessarily require the seeker of aesthetic experience to find the art-object, but of waiting to be called forth by the art-object itself, and allow oneself to succumb to its mysterious allure – Some inner-voice or subconscious tic beckoning the soul in the colliding of two great forces creating that single object, the art-object. And again, is this not the same with Love? That the longer the relationship one is in, built from Love, the stronger the fusion of two objects transformed into one homogenized object, or one person made up of two halves. And to operate or function properly without malfunction is to resist splitting back into two empty halves?

To hide a passion is inconceivable: not because the human subject is too weak, but because passion is in its essence made to be seen: I want you to know that I am hiding something from you, that is the active paradox I must resolve: I want you to know that I don’t want to show my feelings: That is the message I address to the other. 

— Roland Barthes

Is passion in this case the insatiable desire or longing to love and be loved or, love itself, or all three simultaneously? Is Love or Art, as described by Wilde, waiting to be found and such a finding of Love or Art as said by Barthes is made to be seen? That the art-object wants us to know that it is hiding something from us, the Art in the very ordinary object of reality waiting to be discovered. And does any attempt at revealing ones now new found experience of Art or Love diminish or interrupt that very experience due to its failure in translation? Does one have to pretend that one experiences Love in order not to conceptualize it fully as to lose that sense of discovery with which you found? In other words, to be in a perpetual state of being caught off guard to the true nature of Love or Art. 

It would be impossible to ‘love’ anyone or anything one knew completely. Love is directed towards what lies hidden in its object.

— Valéry

Is the attempt at understanding Art an inadvertent self-sabotage to the potential of aesthetic experience? Does such contemplation of the art-object transmute that object dead, and thus reason for contemplation is to dissect such a corpse. As Guy Debord suggests, all contemplation or speculation initiates an alienation between viewer and object, and as such, will further separate the experience of Love/Art away from the subject. Which means such an attempt of dissection or contemplation proves futile to the otherwise hidden essence of the object itself. Is this what Graham Harman refers to as Withdrawal? That all objects containing their essence, its thing-in-itself, means we cannot get full access to it. No matter the amount of interpretations and/or how deep we probe, the search for its true meaning, its essence alludes us; escapes; remains hidden on the outside of the reality that perceives it; withdrawn. But what if such a withdrawal is what constitutes the very existence of the art-object itself? That there isn’t so much an essence that cannot be excavated and remains there despite our trying, but that its essence relies on the collaboration and collision between two objects?

If pure love exists, free from the dross of our other passions, it lies hidden in the depths of our hearts and unknown even to ourselves. 

— La Rochefoucauld

Such an essence formed via the collaboration among two objects reveals itself to no one. Or, that the essence is split equally between them and access to the other half is inaccessible and still remains lost or hidden. And this feeling of losing access to its essence, of the inability of obtaining its secrets, is all the more severe when one understands that it isn’t the un-graspability of a distant essence that is cause for discomfort, but in the very absurd situation of having that essence lay locally within us, taunting us with the illusion of accessibility. One can feel content knowing any answer to the question of essence lay outside away from everyone’s reach, but distraught with the responsibility that such a possession of the answer lies within and within us only. In this case, Essence – the thing-in-itself, is like the set of keys gone missing only to reside in ones back pocket the entire time.