Wednesday, 30 April 2008
What happens to love when pleasure is removed? This is a straightforward question without being simple, because the majority sharehold we all take in love—in our being in love, I mean—is our own dignity. None of us wants to believe that our love for another human being is only a sort of puffed-up and habitual hedonism. We like to think on the contrary that our love is selfless; self-sacrificing; dedicated. Anhedonia puts those beliefs about oneself to the test. What we want to believe is that our own pleasure is vindicated by being predicated on the pleasure of the other. What anhedonia teaches us is the hollowness of this fiction. If we feel no pleasure ourself, we find it almost impossible to care one way or another about the pleasure of our partner. The truth of the matter is that the pleasure of the other is necessarily predicated on our own ecstasy.