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A Valentine’s Day meditation from LOVE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

What is love in the anthropocene?

In this book of five linked stories, philosopher Dale Jamieson and novelist Bonnie Nadzam investigate love amid the human despoliation of our planet: love emerges as what defines us, and may well save us.

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from Love in the Anthropocene, the Coda:

Across cultures, languages and centuries, love has shown itself as a flux of shifting beliefs, feelings, ideas, actions, and cultural meanings rather than as a timeless concept with a universal essence. In its various forms and manifestations, it is the subject of centuries’ worth of painting, music, and poetry, and some of the world’s major religious traditions claim it as their focal point and common ground. It has inspired war, peace, civil and human rights movements, and is the subject of intellectual inquiries ranging from history, philosophy, and sociology to psychology, neuroscience, and biology. Love takes diverse objects including friends, parents, partners, pets, children, places, nature, and countries. Most of us care deeply about having love, losing it, getting more of it, wondering whether we give enough of it, struggling to understand what it is, when it is healthy and appropriate, and on and on and on. For many of us, love is a central preoccupation of our lives. Everything else can seem a waste of time.

Most of us would say that love is constant, whatever else it is; fair weather love is no love at all. And we would insist that the beloved—whether partner, parent, child, or pet—is irreplaceable. We may come to love a second partner, child or pet, but these are distinct loves, each with their own story, not just another installment in our own domestic lives.

Hovering in the background behind these declarations of all-important, constant, irreplaceable love, is the often inchoate recognition that any particular love of ours is radically contingent, even though what love demands seems highly specific to the one we love. . . .

What makes loving so hard to understand and even harder to practice? The novelist-philosopher Iris Murdoch points to an answer when she writes, “Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.”

Spend this Valentine’s Day—where else—in the good and constant company of some eco-futurist fiction and philosophy! For a limited time, take 40% off Love in the Anthropocene with coupon code CODA.*

Further Reading

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