Having A Lover Is Great. That's Why It's So Terrible.

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"Love at first sight is always spoken in the past tense. The scene is perfectly adapted to this temporal phenomenon: distinct, abrupt, framed, it is already a memory ..." — Roland Barthes

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Announcer: This episode was proudly made possible by Subaru.

Narrator: For as long as I can remember, I've had a soft spot for love and melancholy. And I think those two things are intimately interrelated, right? Love and sadness, they exist in the same space. There's a reason the filmmaker, Cameron Crowe, uses the term happy-sad to describe those moments that move us, that swell us so that we become engorged with emotion. And we're also a little bit like, "Oh man, I'm not so sure if that's making me that happy or I'm sad. I can't really tell." And Roland Barthes explored this beautifully in his book, "A Lover's Discourse." There's a couple of lines in it that I really love. He says, "The first thing we love is a scene which is seen for the first time. A curtain parts and what had never been seen is devoured by the eyes. It's distinct, abrupt, framed. It is already a memory." And this is the line that really gets me.

This idea that when we're struck by love, it is immediately, already a memory. The moment is happening and you're already morning the fact that the moment you're in. This intertwining of melancholy, of loss that is literally embedded into the experience of rapture is what's sort of, so unique and mesmerizing about love, but also what makes it so tragic, right? There's a reason that Roland Barthes cites love as "the romantic solution to the problem of death." That our lovers act as stand-ins in a staged, managed resurrection where the pilgrim without faith can die and live again. Is death in reverse simulations allowing us to finally, to turn our lovers into gods and goddesses, to be saved by them. It's every pop song. It's every romantic movie you've ever seen, you know the feeling, it moves us to tears. But who cares? Because as Camus says, "Life should be lived to the point of tears." So, fall in love or die trying, right?

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