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THE REVOLUTION OF EVERYDAY LIFE - VANEIGEM
Isolation - Page 16

Love in its turn swells the illusion of unity. Most of the time it gets fucked up and miscarries. Its songs are crippled by fear of always returning to the same single note: whether there are two of us, or even ten, we will finish up alone as before. What drives us to despair is not the immensity of our own unsatisfied desires, but the moment when our newborn passion discovers its own emptiness. The insatiable desire to fall in love with so many pretty girls is born in anguish and the fear of loving: we are so afraid of never escaping from meetings with objects. The dawn when lovers leave each other's arms is the same dawn that breaks on the execution of revolutionaries without a revolution. Isolation a deux cannot confront the effect of general isolation. Pleasure is broken off prematurely and lovers find themselves naked in the world, their actions suddenly ridiculous and pointless. No love is possible in an unhappy world.

The boat of love breaks up in the current of everyday life.

Are you ready to smash the reefs of the old world before they wreck your desires? Lovers should love their pleasure with more consequence and more poetry. A story tells how Price Shekour captured a town and offered it to his favourite for a smile. Some of us have fallen in love with the pleasure of loving without reserve -- passionately enough to offer our love to the magnificent bed of a revolution.

2

To adapt to the world is a game of heads-you-win, tails-I-lose in which one decides a priori that the negative is positive and that the impossibility of living is an essential precondition of life. Alienation never takes such firm root as when it passes itself off as an inalienable good. Transformed into positivity, the consciousness of isolation is none other than the private consciousness, that scrap of individualism which people drag around like their most sacred birthright, unprofitable but cherished. It is a sort of pleasure-anxiety which prevents us both from settling down in the community of illusion and from remaining trapped in the cellar of isolation.

The no-man's-land of impersonal relationships stretches between the blissful acceptance of false collectivities and the total rejection of society. It is the morality of shopkeepers: "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours", "You mustn't let people get too familiar": politeness, the art (for art's sake) of non-communication.

Let's face it: human relationships being what social hierarchy has made them, impersonality is the least tiring form of contempt. It allows us to pass without useless friction through the mill of daily contacts. it does not prevent us dreaming of superior forms of civility, such as the courtesy of Lacenaire, on the eve of his execution, urging a friend: "Above all, please convey my gratitude to M.Scribe. Tell him that one day, suffering from the pangs of hunger, I presented myself at his house in order to worm some money out of him. He complied with my request with a touching generosity; I am sure he will remember. tell him that he acted wisely, for I had in my pocket, ready to hand, the means of depriving France of a dramatist."

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