On Love: A Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century by Luc Ferry

By Luc Ferry

The entire nice beliefs that gave existence which means in previous societies - God, the country, revolution, freedom, democracy - are in disarray this present day, puzzled by way of many and rejected by way of those that have misplaced religion in them. yet there's one other worth, rooted within the delivery of the fashionable relations and within the passage from conventional to fashionable marriage, that has remodeled our lives in profound and infrequently unrecognized methods: love. It impacts not just our own lives yet many features of our social and collective existence too, from artwork and schooling to politics.

In this publication Luc Ferry exhibits how the quiet upward thrust of affection because the primary price in smooth societies has created a brand new precept of that means and a brand new definition of the great lifestyles that calls for a totally diversified type of philosophical considering. It kinds the root for a brand new philosophy for the twenty-first century and a brand new form of humanism for the trendy international - no longer a humanism of cause and rights, yet a humanism of harmony and sympathy. the proper that this new humanism realizes is not any longer that of nationalisms and revolutions, of the perpetrating of equipped violence within the identify of lethal ideas which are pursued over and above humanity. really, it really is approximately getting ready and making sure a destiny for these we like so much: our destiny generations.

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I’ll say a few words about them, to make my argument clearer, and because it will be a useful way for me to bring out more distinctly what is specific about the prospects opened up by the ‘revolution of love’. Eros is the love that seizes and consumes. Although it is different in humans and in animals (especially because of what Freud called ‘anaclisis’ or ‘propping’), eros remains essentially linked to conquest and sensual enjoyment. But above all, and I am here gladly drawing on the luminous analyses of ComteSponville, erotic love, romantic love (especially sexual love) has the particular feature of sometimes deriving more nourishment from absence than from presence.

I couldn’t see how the Jew could love the Nazi who exterminated his family right in front of his eyes; I couldn’t understand how you could claim seriously to love the murderer. I saw it (and I think I was largely right) as nothing more than a priest’s ‘sermonizing’, without any real impact on reality. In the Gospels, however, we find a key to this riddle, in the form of a metaphor that’s repeated several times: that of ‘little children’. When we love our children, we experience this same agape.

The claim might seem so banal that it demands, of course, to be spelled out. Why does the ‘meaning of life’ change from period to period? Is there anything like a ‘logic’ to this history? How does each new ‘principle of meaning’ incorporate each time more – and more human – dimensions of existence? Claude Capelier: Before we embark on that, I think that two points still need to be cleared up, otherwise we won’t be able to understand fully the historical succession of the four principles that you’ve just sketched out or the advent of the fifth.

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