Amorous Ex/Incursions: Love in Writings of Badiou, Weil, Fromm, and Barthes
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My dissertation explores the enabling contributions of love to the practice of ethico-political and cultural critique. Engaging with the work of Alain Badiou, Simone Weil, Erich Fromm, and Roland Barthes, I examine love in terms of the following modalities: waiting, giving, and looking. I place the aforementioned thinkers in dialogue with selected literary and cinematic texts to explicate and interrogate the meaningful possibilities of their discourse on love. In my chapter on Alain Badiou, I discuss his ontology, which I draw upon heavily to set the theoretical parameters of my study. I also discuss the logic of love that he develops in his philosophy. Speaking to the problem of pre-Evental agency that critics of his work identify, I suggest that waiting as attention, as theorized by Simone Weil, might be the closest form of agency that a pre-Evental (amorous) being can experience. In my discussion of Erich Fromm, I reevaluate his “art of loving” within the constellation of late capitalism. Reading his work through a Lacanian lens, I explore the utility of his prescriptions by examining Chuck Palahniuk’s controversial novel Fight Club. In my chapter on Roland Barthes, I theorize the possibility of cinematic looking that does not depend on the antagonism inherent in the binaries masculine/ feminine and (Gazing) spectator/ (to-be-looked-at) image. Towards this objective, I propose the “amorous look,” a mode of viewing occasioned by cinematic punctual encounters, that I contend is beyond the domain of desire and perversion. I deploy the “amorous look” as I reflect on Aureus Solito’s film Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Olivares (The Blossoming of Maximo Olivares) and its representations of love and waiting.