love, madness & “elemental passions”


“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

So I am about half way through Luce Irigaray’s “Elemental Passions” and I am convinced that her words are mostly a long string of blubbering nonsense that sound in-genius and palpable for moments in time –perfect for a precise moment but then disappear again into nothing but distilled disillusion and disappointment. OH OF COURSE she is writing about the state of being in love! The elemental urges, ebb and flow of that electric emotion that makes the world go round. How could it or would it make sense?  If we understood it – it just wouldn’t be interesting right? We would simply stop yearning, trying, challenging ourselves to obtain it.

Maybe I am having a hard time relating to her words right now because this text was originally written in French (maybe the translation is off?) or it could be because I have been thinking too clearly and directly these days (I am currently past my last bout of love/sickness that clouded my judgement). For better or for worse, I don’t happen to be swimming in the sea of love at the moment, but I may be floating upon it.  Love, like water has this way of making you thirst again as soon as there is a draught or you find yourself landlocked.

I have been attempting to read Laura’s recommended book a bit each evening reading it out loud before going to bed on the  sailboat– savoring each sentence as if it were poetry, I am letting the words, and waves of confusion rock me to sleep. I am finding myself getting lost in its layers and caught up in the repetitive cycle of expression from ecstasy to misery and then back again.

I resonated briefly with this moment from Irigaray’s philosophical ramblings and then in a flash lost its meaning again:

       “What attracts me in you, what I love in you, is what remains of your own self that part you have left so far behind, covered up so much that I alone, without ever letting it appear, can sometimes catch a glimpse of it like a faint light shimmering in the night. 

In that frail illumination. I love you, I love myself. I would like to go back to it as to a place, an environment, full of impulse and growth, still vibrant with life. The whole of the living, the whole to live for, is that not kept captive within the almost imperceptible enclosure of light?”

An intangible elixir that intoxicates in ways beyond any chemical substance could. Love drugs us into such oblivion that we find ourselves singing, painting, purging, whining, writing and running furiously. Of course we all return to love. Who wouldn’t want to do all those things again and again?   Although I tend to believe that love afflictions are not chosen – you don’t find love – in the end true love finds you.

Here is some wisdom from another who has spent a lot of time in love and madness:


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3 thoughts on “love, madness & “elemental passions”

  1. Brian Twenter

    I have no idea why, but every time I read your posts, something comes up and I feel the need to reply. I was listening to my IPod as I was reading this post, and I mean right when I started reading it The Avett Brothers “The Weight of Lies” from their album _Emotionalism_ started. If you haven’t heard the tune, give it a listen.
    Here is a link:
    I am not sure how or if it relates to what your contemplating this month, but as I read and listened, I just thought, what great advice from these smart songwriters.
    As always, inspired by your words. Keep it up.

  2. Pingback: one LOVE | Living Chapters

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