Is Love A Choice?

Building off David Foster Wallace's philosophy, Leland de la Durantaye contemplates the nature of love:

Are we free to love? Doubtless. Are we free in love? We don’t know. Being in love is either freedom itself, or its opposite. Am I, for instance, free to love dogs? Because my first memories are of dogs, because I confided in them when I was confused and frightened, because mine licked away my earliest tears, am I free in my affection? The reason this sounds silly is that it is silly. The obvious point is that I don’t care. Stated philosophically, I have a marked preference for the belief that I actually love dogs. Stated more simply, conditional love is no love at all. And so I love what I love with all the fierceness I can, with every beat of my heart, or not at all.

Wallace’s conclusion is simple. “Whether there’s ‘choice’ involved is, at a certain point, of no interest ... since it’s the very surrender of choice and self that informs the love in the first place.” This is radical and right and ultimately his last word on free will and choice. Whatever love is, we do not choose it.

But friendship? That we choose.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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