Saturday, 14 February 2015

This is (Not) a Love Story


This is (Not) a Love Story: Australian Fugue: The Antipode Room by Ruth Skilbeck
Valentine's Day and thoughts turn to romance.
A few thoughts for lovers, or not-lovers, with a difference, or quite a few differences.
How well can one ever know one's 'object of desire'?

"When I started studying at the London university college I became excited by the possibilities. At last I thought I was where I belonged! In the realm of thought. Intellectual life.
But the longer I stayed, the more I learned about complex social codes and private conventions that structured his inner life, I began to wonder, how far could he think beyond and outside those?
How deeply did he love me beyond masks and disguises, the fantasies? How far would he stand by me if all the trappings fell away? Would he love me if I became permanently disfigured, or some terrible fate befell me? How real was his love for me?
‘Hugo.’
‘Yes?’
‘According to Brentano’s theory of intentionality—’
‘Hmmm…’ he says.
‘Everything we think of exists as an object of thought in our minds right? And it’s that inexistent object, idea of that thing, to which thoughts, feelings, desires are directed…’
‘Hmmm…’
‘So that if I am thinking of Paris, it’s not a ‘real’ city denoted by word ‘Paris’ I am thinking about it’s the idea comprising a conglomerate of knowledge and impressions of Paris that is an inexistent object of thought that I’m thinking about.’
‘Hmm…’
‘So if I were to say, I’m in love with someone, I desire them, it’s not a real person I’m thinking of and desiring, it’s my idea of that person, I desire.’
He is watching me with an alarmed expression on his face.
‘So does it not logically follow that we can never connect with the ‘objects’ of our desire, we’re only ever relating to our fantasies and dreams, our ideas, of or about that person?’
‘Ruby, all you have done is prove the danger of trying to apply logical principals outside the realm of logical possibility, that is to real life. Language shivers to abstraction within the realm of logic. Come here!’

One really should read it in context of the whole book to understand the meaning of this though. It is not exactly against romance, rather the opposite is the case.

Excerpt: Pages 77-78, Australian Fugue: The Antipode Room, print edition. Newcastle: PostMistress Press, 2014.
Copyright, Ruth Skilbeck, 2014.