|Portrait of Marcel Proust by Jacques-Émile Blanche in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris|
But is love purely a subjective phenomenon? Is the beloved really only a phantom third person to the lover? Maybe some of the time, but then what is all this talk about, “I just wanna get next to you,” to quote the old soul tune, so often repeated in current rap songs. Not to mention the five billion condoms sold each year worldwide. I’m not convinced that the subjective nature of love is Proust’s most “penetrating” insight.
“We are, when in love, in an abnormal state, capable of giving at once to the most apparently simple accident, an accident which may at any moment occur, a seriousness which in itself it would not entail. What makes us so happy is the presence in our hearts of an unstable element which we contrive perpetually to maintain and of which we cease almost to be aware so long as it is not displaced.”
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