Love as an impairer or love as an enhancer. As I went along reading these literary pieces, such as Proust’s Swann In Love, and Marquez’s Love In The Time Of Cholera, I couldn’t help but continuously see love being implicitly depicted as an impairer. I did manage to find a great example of love as an enhancer in Nussbaum’s Loves Knowledge. Love impairs our judgments and makes us do ridiculous things that we only do whilst in love. The impaired nature of our minds can be both beautifully displayed in the most innocent of ways or completely strange and misguided. But when enhanced, beautiful cognition of one’s self occurs. A jolt of something so real and all knowing happens, cataleptic impression.
In Nussbaum’s, Loves Knowledge, love shows itself as an enhancer. In this particular case it was love as an enhancer of knowledge of one’s state of heart. Marcel, when he hears of Albertine’s departure, says, “I had believed that I was leaving nothing out of account, like a rigorous analyst; I had believed that I knew the state of my own heart” (Nussbaum, 162). Marcel believes that he is not in love with Albertine, but it requires “this sort of scrutiny…for the requisite self-knowledge” (Nussbaum, 162) for him to come to terms with the truth of his heart. The scrutiny described is a form of self-deception, Nussbaum says. Marcel had to go through a cataleptic experience; anguish, an immense new jolt, a physical blow…to the heart, like a thunderbolt, in order to render himself responsible for the true way he was feeling about Albertine and her departure. This all comes as an “acknowledgement of his love” (Nussbaum 268). Nussbaum explains that there are elements of both discovery and creation here when Marcel has this experience. This experience enhanced Marcel’s perception of his own feelings, and helped to enhance the light of the situation.
Proust’s Swann In Love showed a good deal of love as an impairer. Swann, thinking he’s in love with Odette, finally falls into a jealous mindset. Swann created irrational thoughts in his head out of jealousy,
“But, when he was in his own house again, the idea suddenly struck him that, perhaps, Odette was expecting some one else that evening, that she had merely pretended to be tired, that she had asked him to put the light out only so that he should suppose that she was going to sleep, that the moment he had left the house she had lighted it again, and had reopened her door to the stranger who was to be her guest for the night” (Proust, 241).
This is showing us how love has impaired the judgment and state of mind of Swann. This form of love I feel is the most common in literature, where the character is so utterly “in love” that they loose their sense of control of their thoughts and actions. He was haunted by the thought of Odette with another man that he climbed back into a cab and made his way back to her place to see if his inkling proved true,
“He must know who; he tiptoed along by the...