Thursday, December 30, 2010

Universal Love vs. True Love

The universal proposition “I love you all” acquires the level of actual existence only if “There is at least one whom I hate” – a thesis abundantly confirmed by the fact that universal love for humanity has always led to brutal hatred of the (actually existing) exception, of the enemies of humanity. This hatred of the exception is the “truth” of universal love, in contrast to true love which can only emerge against the background not of universal hatred, but of universal indifference: I am indifferent towards All, the totality of the universe, and as such, I actually love you, the unique individual who stands out against this indifferent background. Love and hatred are thus not symmetrical: love emerges out of universal indifference, while hatred emerges out of universal love. In short, we are dealing here again with the formulae of sexuation: “I do not love you all” is the only foundation of “There is nobody that I do not love,” while “I love you all” necessarily relies on “I really hate some of you.”

– Slavoj Žižek, Living in the End Times


  1. wait how does "there is nobody that i do not love" emerge out of "i do not love you all,"?????? i get the rest of it i think.

  2. It has to do with Lacan's formulae of sexuation and the logic of the universal with its constitutive exception: the truth of a universal affirmative such as “there is nobody that I do not love,” requires the existence of the particular negative “I do not love you all." Basically, any universal proposition postulates its own exception.

    Quoting from Žižek again:

    The truth of the universal proposition "Man is mortal" does not imply the existence of even one man, while the "less strong" proposition "There is at least one man who exists (i.e. some men exist)" implies their existence. Lacan draws from this the conclusion that we pass from a universal proposition (which defines the content of a notion) to existence only through a proposition stating the existence, not of the singular element of the universal genus which exists, but of at least one which is an exception to the universality in question.