Abandoning Happiness for Life: Mourning and Futurity in Maja Borg’s Future My Love (2012)

by: with illustrations by Gabriel Maher , May 1, 2018

© Illustration by Gabriel Maher

This piece of writing was conceived and written out of love and is dedicated to my past love, Patrick, and to my present and future love, Olivia – ‘all the good in me is because of you’.


It is equally hard to learn to live without you.

A dilemma, posed as a question, lies at the heart of Maja Borg’s poetic and alternatively distributed documentary film, Future My Love (2012): why do we labour so hard to sustain relationships that are fundamentally deleterious and corrosive to our wellbeing?[1] The detrimental bonds on which the film focuses are those that maintain our connection to an economic system that has thrown us into an acute state of crisis and the stillborn emotions that keep us attached hopefully to a romantic partnership that we have already outgrown; this elision imbricates and implicates the personal in the political.[2] Indeed, Borg herself has stated that it was through the lens of her own personal loss that she was able to explore and to question our global relationship to an economic system that is fast failing us: ‘(t)he question that kept coming back to me was: if we know what is wrong with the economy and we know how to change a lot of what is wrong, why don’t we? I needed something in the film to explore that issue: why we don’t change the fundamentals of a relationship when it is hurting us. So, that’s when I brought in my experience of love – I needed something that was true to me, that I understood personally and that I could explain and make universal’. (in Fielder 2012) In the film’s opening moments, Borg addresses, by way of dedication, the idealistic lost love of her life (actress and activist Nadya Cazan), thus: ‘my only way to tell you what I could not then is to try to understand it your way: “Our global economy simply does not work. We have to find something new”. It is equally hard to learn to live without you.’ Through a prism of painful and, at times, unbearable emotion, and by blurring the boundaries between the public and the private, the real and the fictional, this film urges us to imagine ourselves into a future in which it might be possible to live otherwise; but this requires us to abandon the future we have already imagined and, as the film evinces through archival imagery from the 1950s or golden age of capitalism, imaged ourselves into. Moreover, the intimate nature of the voiceover that is such a prominent part of the film’s poetics – namely, its address from the first person to the second person – works to foreground reparative labour: there is a form of power in naming loss. By drawing on the work of Lauren Berlant and Sara Ahmed on the cultural politics of emotion, Judith Butler’s work on the act of mourning, and the writing of Eva Illouz, Luce Irigaray, and Alain Badiou on love (in the age of late capitalism), I set forth a (mostly) queer reading of Borg’s film as an intervention into traditional narratives of happiness. More specifically, the work of Ahmed and Berlant in particular engages directly with the notion of futurity as a promise within a critical context – a context that was powerfully and controversially outlined already by Lee Edelman in No Future (2005). In contrast to Edelman, though, Berlant and Ahmed do not call for us to reject the future, but to rethink the place from which hopefulness over the future emanates. As such, their work seeks to un-ground and destabilise those life scripts to which we so readily subscribe and to open up new ways of imagining and imaging life and the notion of futurity. In short, this article contends that Future My Love pleads with us to abandon ‘happiness for life’ (Ahmed 2010: 75), to forsake an ideology that is invested in a highly specific conception of what it means to flourish and to thrive, to mourn and name our losses, and to think about the future creatively and without cynicism.

‘But you are not the kind of love one learns to live without.’

At the beginning of the film, Borg travels to Florida to visit self-proclaimed futurist, designer and engineer, Jacque Fresco, in his Edenic home known as The Venus Project. Fresco’s radical proposition that we replace our monetary economy with a resource-based economy was the partial focus of Borg’s film made in 2006, Ottica Zero. This earlier film project centres on the figure of Nadya Cazan after she has eschewed a career as a commercial film actress and resolved to try to live outside of the capitalist economy that defines major forms of the cinematic industry. It is Cazan who leads Borg to The Venus Project where she intends, she says, to find their future. Rendered on grainy and disintegrative super 8 black and white film, the footage that comprises Ottica Zero, which at the time portended Borg’s future with Cazan, comes to function in Future My Love as a nostalgic and painful reminder of a future that never came to pass. High definition images, taken on a digital camera, that denote the present and passing moment in which loss is felt and imaged with clarity and precision coexist with the archival, distorted and ephemeral images of a now lost love remembered in the moment of its hopeful inception. This coalescence of the past in the present is figured as a loss of hope, then; an inability to sustain the idealism borne out of a love that was based in the future. Yet Borg has come to The Venus Project, some five years later, because she believes, idealistically, that she will find her lover here, who was always ‘happiest in the future’.  The juxtaposition of images from the past with images of the present, creates, throughout the film’s poetic interludes, a series of graphic matches in which Borg tries to recuperate and inhabit the spaces and gestures Cazan took up in Ottica Zero. This palimpsest of images sets forth poignantly how one’s body can remain tethered to that of an other who has become excruciatingly present because of her absence. In the midst of trying to find an alternative to a global future already enmeshed in crisis, and while standing on the site of a project that represents physically one such alternative, Borg is haunted by a past in which she is still ensnared, a past that infiltrates her body with heartache.[3] The film intimates metaphorically, then, that in order to find genuine alternatives to the global financial crisis and the neo-liberal ideology with which it is inextricably bound up, we must be willing, as Ahmed puts it, ‘to experience an intensification of the sadness that hopefulness postpones’ (Ahmed 2010: 75); for in seeking out the future, we also must mourn the heavy losses of a past we thought erroneously would sustain us.


When we are bereft of a hopeful object, then, we lose an integral part of ourselves and may often seek to stall or procrastinate from this process by reviving our bond with it, which, in turn, compounds the eventual state of loss. As such, Future My Love asks us what an ethical parting from that which harms us might be.

Yet the film also recognises the labour that severing those ties requires, since the infrastructure of our global economy keeps us tethered to it via a relationship of, what Berlant has delineated as, ‘cruel optimism’ (2011). This kind of abusive relationship works to convince us of the impossibility of living without certain hopeful objects; as Berlant argues, optimism is cruel when it functions as: ‘a binding to fantasies that block the satisfactions they offer, and a binding to the promise of optimism as such that the fantasies have come to represent.’ (Berlant 2011: 51) To learn to cope with the absence of objects that seem to promise or foster the hope of a better future and yet actively hinder our ability to flourish and to think of alternative models is petrifying precisely because it requires us to think of an open and fundamentally unknowable future in exchange for one that is already known, however damaging and painful it may be. Coterminous with loss are feelings of grief and, rather often, abject panic in the face of a future into which we never imagined ourselves. Judith Butler has noted astutely that to grieve fully entails an acceptance that one will: ‘undergo a transformation… the full result of which one cannot know in advance.’ (Butler 2006: 21) The act of letting go of what is familiar and has sustained us and opening oneself up to what is unknown is often protracted and makes us feel emotionally and psychically fractious, isolated in sadness and unknowable even to ourselves. Again, as Butler puts it: ‘it is not as if an “I” exists independently over here and then simply loses “you” over there, especially if the attachment to “you” is part of what composes who “I” am. If I lose you, under these conditions, then I not only mourn the loss, but I become inscrutable to myself.’ (Butler 2006: 22) When we are bereft of a hopeful object, then, we lose an integral part of ourselves and may often seek to stall or procrastinate from this process by reviving our bond with it, which, in turn, compounds the eventual state of loss. As such, Future My Love asks us what an ethical parting from that which harms us might be. The figure of “you” in the film is locally adumbrated by the haunting and frail image of a lost love, but this figure, by extension, also comes to represent, for Borg, “the world”. She asks: ‘it happens all the time; populations grow out of their civilisations, lovers out of their relationships. Civilisations fall, people move on. But you are not the kind of love one learns to live without. And this time our civilisation is global. If we fall, who will be left to take over?’ The way the personal is pulled into the political is evident in the way the film creates collisions of images made out of fallible and subjective memories, archival images of ‘progress’ such as space shuttle launches and car manufacturing plants, and images of destruction, chaos and extreme poverty wrought by nuclear technology and late capitalism. These images are overlaid with Borg’s urgent words to her lover: ‘like politicians who encourage the population to consume when the country is in economic crisis, we put more drama and chaos in circulation. However bad for the people, it works. It saves the economy; saves the relationship…. I never wanted to cause you pain, but we keep creating the symptoms to have something left to treat, and together, we deny it….in the end we have to face the fact that we do this to ourselves, that we are victims only of our own misguided powers. There has to be a better way to die.’

© illustration by Gabriel Maher
© illustration by Gabriel Maher

‘They stuff sunshine in my mouth.’

The decision to abandon this image of ‘the good life’ and to discover what this entails is precisely a process of mourning or ‘coming to terms with’, which Borg herself undergoes in the film. However, the process of unbinding from this fantasy of ‘the good life’ also opens us up to the risk of being charged with idealistic and utopian forms of thinking, so we are often inclined to retain our bond to that which is harmful by making affective bargains. As Borg puts it to her lover, in a wedding speech she never made, having already aborted her image of idealistic happiness: ‘most of us are not ready to sacrifice the happiness we can access in the here and now, however environmentally unfriendly, artificial or shallow it may be. So I keep doubting your politics in secret. How on earth will you convince the world to live your vision?’ The difficulty of holding at bay one’s cynicism in order to open up to alternatives is felt as a tension throughout the film. Indeed, one of Borg’s interviewees, a man who repossesses the houses of those who have fallen behind in their mortgage repayments, remarks that he is regrettably part of the system, but that his business is ‘booming’ in the recession to such an extent that he cannot take time off to go to see ‘good ol’ Jacque (Fresco)’. Remaining open to possibility, then, is figured as an always fragile and precarious state of being, liable to be shut down and obscured by doubt and conscious denial. Borg tell us that it is easier to believe what this world tells her; namely that: ‘I only have an obligation to myself. It is a relief to think that I am ill and not the world…. And so they stuff sunshine in my mouth.’ Her use of archival advertising images from the 1950s for substances such as tobacco (Winston Cigarettes) and anti-depressive medication, juxtaposed with images of figures of authority such as doctors and scientists, however, makes clear the unease she feels with being forced to make this compromise. Indeed, her acceptance to be numbed to what she calls ‘the sadness of the world’ requires her to make affective bargains that exacerbate her own sickness and, since she is part of it, that of the world. Borg admits that her depression, that her realisation that the sadness of the world is too heavy to possess and that she is ‘only one person’ coincides with and facilitates a harmful dynamic in her own romantic relationship:  ‘(i)ronically, me being crushed seems to make you feel secure. I am so dependent on you holding me together that you are shining with purpose and undying love and it’s easy to love in moderation since any emotion is a declining resource inside of me.’ Inherent in this bond is a contradiction, which is effected in the film through the glaring discrepancy of Borg’s sad admissions and clichéd and ready-made images that promise to sell us ‘happiness’ (this is the ‘sunshine’ that she speaks of having ‘stuffed’ into her mouth): in other words, the economic system to which we are tied is both the origin of our problems and the source of its cure.

In accepting what we are told – the neo-liberal principle that we have only a responsibility to ourselves, that the sickness lies in us and not in a system that can only serve a privileged few – we inadvertently acquiesce to an abusive relationship. One in which pain can only be temporarily attenuated by the very system or person who inflicted the pain upon us in the first place. This dynamic keeps us bound to this source of painful happiness. In fact, Ahmed comments that it is precisely in such moments of extreme crisis that we attach ourselves most vehemently to images of happiness because they furnish us with a set of ideals and values that are already known; we are more likely to find fault in ourselves for not assimilating or corresponding effectively enough to images of happiness than we are to take issue with happiness as a disciplinary technology itself; she writes: ‘(t)he demand for happiness is increasingly articulated as a demand to return to social ideals, as if what explains the crisis of happiness is not the failure of these ideals but our failure to follow them. And arguably, at times of crisis the language of happiness acquires an even more powerful hold.’ (Ahmed 2010: 7) If the language of happiness becomes a powerful ideal to which we subscribe, it becomes, by extension, a part of our state of being in the world and an active catalyst in our own personal relationships. In other words, we may become more likely to treat people as means rather than ends in themselves – other people become as disposable to us as objects. As our relationships become increasingly commodified, people come to function as markers of symbolic exchange within a monetary economy. In a devastating disclosure, Borg states that she has fallen into an emotionally abusive dynamic with her lover: ‘you truly treat me as a princess; as if you are an old-fashioned man in your prime: you treat me badly, and I love you for it. I feel purified by putting up with you – liberated, even. I am using you; I am treating you badly.’ The tenderness they once felt for one another has been replaced by an economy of emotional pain in which their worth as individuals is estimated in terms of use offset by damage. This precarious power balance, Borg implies, is inevitable given the nature of the economy within which we live.

Eva Illouz, in a series of studies (1997, 2012), has outlined how romantic love has come to be aligned with and inherently shaped by the norms and ideals of late modern capitalism[4]; she writes that: ‘(i)n the modern romantic ideal it is the very act of consumption that constitutes and creates the romantic moment’ (Illouz 1997: 76) and that ‘at the center of advertising is the metaphor that relationships between people and individuals themselves are mediated by things.’ (Illouz 1997: 82) Bearing this in mind, it is striking that Borg describes her lover as an ‘old-fashioned man’ in his ‘prime’ since, for feminist scholars such as Luce Irigaray (1985:170-198) and Monique Wittig (1991)[5], the lesbian relationship has traditionally marked out a site of contestation against the masculine, phallic economy in which women function as bargaining tools amongst men.[6] Indeed, this radical position, Wittig argues, differentiates the lesbian from ‘Woman’ as a normative, social subject who is bound to a patriarchal form of economics and politics. Borg’s own experience, however, belies this ideal. Indeed, the abusive nature of the dynamic prevailing in her own relationship suggests that a neo-liberal ideology of tightly-boundaried ownership wins out in many forms of romantic relationship – despite attempts to think and act otherwise (since her lover consciously strives to live outside of both of these economic constraints). This is not a critique of the lesbian relationship or of lesbian politics, but rather an indictment of a system which swallows up whole any attempt to live outside of its confinements: perhaps most ironically demonstrated through the eventual sale and dismantlement of The Venus Project, which cannot survive and outlast the Global Financial Crisis. Since, for Borg, the collapse of the economy is reflected in and bound to the demise of her own relationship, she notes how the dynamic of one’s own micro economics is always already infected by a macro economics that governs every aspect of our personal lives. If, as Illouz suggests, the neo-liberal economy determines and creates a market in which personal relationships are governed and played out through things, by extension it is the people who go missing. Fundamentally, this economic alchemy transforms people into objects to be consumed, bargained with and eventually, as a philosophy of inbuilt obsolescence dictates, discarded; Borg’s use of advertising in Future My Love serves to make manifest the harmful ways in which human life and interaction are often reduced to a network of objects: which is to say a philosophy of possession promulgated through a cultural shorthand of clichéd images. Yet the psychic damage wrought by such a process, as Borg’s own immeasurable pain attests, suggests clearly that love is not a transaction[7]; rather, love is something we bestow without assuming that we will be rewarded. It is a fundamental exposure of one’s vulnerability in the face of an other. Nobody can survive being turned into an object, for in becoming an object one is reduced to a set of superficial attributes: and in doing so, the fundamental strangeness or alterity implicit within an encounter with another human being is effaced (‘any emotion is a declining resource inside of me’).  Indeed, Luce Irigaray suggests that love, as an ethical mode of being in the world, entails keeping the complexity and ambiguity of the other ever present within the world; she writes that love is: ‘possible only in the recognition of the irreducible difference between the one and the other.’ (Irigaray 2002: 153) Moreover, Marxist philosopher, Alain Badiou states that: ‘love isn’t simply about two people meeting and their inward-looking relationship: it is a construction, a life that is being made, no longer from the perspective of One but from the perspective of Two.’ (Badiou 2012: 29) Taking Irigaray and Badiou’s conceptions of love together, in such a relationship, it becomes impossible to diminish the other to the status of an object since the respect for and active engagement (to follow Irigaray’s formulation I love to you) with difference is precisely what brings love into being: one becomes the guardian of another person’s oddness and specificity. Importantly, this delineation of what it means to love another person comes to pass within a community that is bound to the world not as an object, but as a horizon of possibility. However, in order to re-think our personal relationships, we need to change the parameters of the life scripts to which we so readily subscribe.[8]

‘To dream together is old-fashioned.’

Ahmed argues that: ‘(h)appiness is not simply used to secure social relations instrumentally, but works as an idea or aspiration within everyday life, shaping the very terms through which individuals share their world with others, creating “scripts” of how to live well.’ (Ahmed 2010: 59) These scripts choreograph our own sense of aspiration and of what it means to exist in a world of individuals rather than a community. The horizon of expectations, which these scripts of the good life shore up, is imaged as the site of radical failure in Future My Love. Interviews with scientists and philosophers from the 1960s and 1970s espouse unabridged optimism over the future of technology, human labour and the economy, but when contrasted starkly with images of our present moment mired in destruction, poverty, excess and waste these sentiments ring spurious and ludicrously naïve. Moreover, Borg’s insertion of black and white archival footage of the Great Depression felt as an aftermath of the Wall Street Crash in 1929 reminds us that the nature of our economy is cyclical and it is bad consciousness – the sunshine stuffed in our mouths – that keeps us from recognising this. This time around, though, as Borg tells us at the beginning of the film, the crisis is ‘global’ and we need to seek out alternative scripts for how to live – we cannot, in good faith, continue to sustain the cruel optimism that keeps us in proximity to an economic system that has not only destroyed people, but ravaged our environment. Indeed, Lauren Berlant remarks that we are living in an age in which our collective scripts of the good life are fraying: this is nothing less than the attrition of fantasies we have invested in and to which we have entrusted our futures. She writes: ‘the fantasies that are fraying include, particularly, upward mobility, job security, political and social equality, and lively durable intimacy. The act of dissolving assurances also includes meritocracy, the sense that liberal-capitalist society will reliably provide opportunities for individuals to carve out relations of reciprocity that seem fair and foster life as a project of adding up to something.’ (Berlant 2011: 3) If Future My Love is, in my view, partly a film about illness, depression and abject loneliness, it is because it refuses to image or imagine us into a future in order to leave that future genuinely and formidably open. As such, the film itself functions as what Berlant would term a ‘holding space’ for the bad feelings that erupt in the wake of abandoning an always impossible and cruelly hopeful form of happiness.

In daring not to image the future, that is by showing us only the possibility or adumbration of it in the form of one of Jacque Fresco’s rough sketches, Borg throws into relief and renders apparent the failure of former ‘optimistic’ and ‘hopeful’ visions of the future – a future which resulted in poverty and destruction on a global scale. Written into the narrative of  ‘the pursuit of happiness’ (since happiness is always in the future) is disappointment because, as Ahmed reminds us: ‘happiness provides the emotional setting for disappointment, even if happiness is not given: we just have to expect happiness from ‘this or that’ for ‘this or that’ to be experienceable as objects of disappointment. Our expectations come from somewhere. To think the genealogy of expectation is to think about promises and how they point us somewhere, which is ‘the where’ from which we expect so much.’ (Ahmed 2010: 29) In order to detach ourselves from that which not only disappoints but also causes irreparable harm – those predetermined, pre-written life scripts – we have to enact a kind of ethical leap of faith precisely because we cannot know or fathom clearly that towards which we are heading. Borg’s refusal to mitigate the uncertainty and fundamental openness of the future may be met, she understands, with cynicism and intransigence: ‘to dream together is old-fashioned’. Yet any attempt to hinder our ability to think creatively and openly about the future without preclusion and foreclosure makes apparent the vital necessity of doing so. As Ahmed reminds us:  ‘the silly or ridiculous nature of alternatives teaches us not about the nature of those alternatives but about how threatening it can be to imagine alternatives to a system that survives by grounding itself in inevitability…a failure of consciousness, a false consciousness about the world, is what blocks other possible worlds, as a blockage that makes possibles impossible, such that possibles are lost before they can be lived, experienced, or imagined.’ (Ahmed 2010: 165)



© illustration by Gabriel Maher
© illustration by Gabriel Maher
© illustration by Gabriel Maher

‘Our love is different now.’

It is our own refusal to contemplate alternative models that keeps the blockage operational: to return to Borg’s words, we actively seek to prevent the thought of difference by putting ‘more drama and chaos in circulation’ in order to salvage what we already know is not working. In turn, that process of salvation holds at bay the bad feelings over which we may feel inconsolable, even if the consolation prize, we already know in advance, will harm us. Yet Future My Love implies that in accepting, even welcoming, the ‘sadness that hopefulness postpones’, we may well find a community in which we are able to consider ‘possibles’. Indeed, returning to Butler for one moment, she tells us that grief furnishes us with: ‘a sense of political community of a complex order, and it does this first of all by bringing to the fore the relational ties that have implications for theorizing fundamental dependency and ethical responsibility’. (Butler 2006: 22) In other words, we may come to recognise, as Fresco counsels us, that the ‘world is the common heritage of all the people’ and that we are tied inextricably and ethically to one another. Future My Love concludes with a traditionally symbolic image of matrimony of Cazan and Borg (who wears a white wedding dress) walking ‘over the threshold’; here, the threshold is the open future, a threshold Borg could not cross up until this moment. The lovers fade and disappear into the horizon as Borg tells Cazan: ‘we have too much love to throw away on this relationship, so we need to set it free. I want a divorce…. Our love is different now.’ The symbolic vow between lovers is transformed into a vow to the world to be ‘different’ in love for the sake of the future; and as Borg herself reminds us: ‘the future not only can, but has to be different, despite the heartbreak.’

A Note from The Author

This article was originally published in The European Journal of Women’s Studies and although I am grateful to them for allowing me to re-print it here in MAI, I reject whole-heartedly the academic paywall that prevented this article from reaching its intended audience in the first place and the values held by the publisher that are in direct contradiction to the spirit of the film discussed here, the filmmaker, her work, and my scholarship.



1. Future My Love was distributed via an innovative online pay-it-forward scheme through which viewers could either pay to stream the film online or donate it anonymously to future viewers. Borg also encourages viewers to host their own screenings of the film. Although the scheme involves monetary exchange, it also gestures towards a kind of distribution that could work outside of major forms of filmmaking, funding and distribution. As such, the film constitutes a kind of minor cinema. The film is available to watch online at www.futuremylove.com.

2. Borg’s director’s statement on the film’s website reads: ‘it’s a serious affair. The free market is a failing utopia but we choose to stay, like in an abusive relationship: have we lost our confidence to live without it? Making this film, it was soon clear that the problem is not a lack of solutions. There are many brilliant thinkers proposing transitional models on how we could ease ourselves out of this rat race towards an economy that stands in balance to our modern reality. The real problem, I believe, lies in us and in our fear of the unknown. The structures we have created have also shaped us, and the destructive mechanisms we see in the monetary-based system are reflected in our very own psychology. To challenge economy is to challenge ourselves, which is far harder than to complain about the banking system. It has been a privilege to adopt such unusual perspectives and to jump between different world views and possible futures, from Jacque Fresco and The Venus Project to the original Technocrats, from 3D printing to the Free Energy Movement. Living with this film for five years has given me the chance to revalue and rethink both personal and societal institutions I used to take for granted. For me, the future of economy became intrinsically linked with my own love story, where the challenge of the new and the ideal is lived out and tested through economic history, marriage and divorce.’ (http://www.futuremylove.com/directors_statement)

3. Future My Love explores a number of alternative resources to our economy: such as the Technocracy movement, 3D printing and the Free Energy Movement. These all function as possibles within its loose narrative.

4. The wedding industry would be the most blatant manifestation of this allegiance between ideology and economics; Diane Negra has developed this line of thought in her book What a Girl Wants: Fantasizing the Reclamation of self in Postfeminism (2009).

5. ‘What is woman? … frankly it is a problem which lesbians do not have because of a change of perspective, and it would be incorrect to say that lesbians associate, make love, and live with women, for ‘woman’ has meaning only in heterosexual systems of thought and heterosexual economic systems. Lesbians are not women.’ (Wittig 1991: 57)

6. ‘The production of women, signs, and commodities is always referred back to men…and they always pass from one man to another, from one group to another. The work force is thus always assumed to be masculine, and “products” are objects to be used, objects of transaction among men alone….the law that orders our society is the exclusive valorization of men’s needs/desires, of exchanges among men.’ (Irigaray 1985: 171)

7. The writer Ayn Rand notoriously espouses in her novels a philosophy of ‘objectivism’; this philosophy sets forth that love is not an altruistic, but a selfish endeavour that is given only in order to ensure a sound return on its investment. Relationships between people, for her, are reduced to a transaction in which only one’s positive assets are given to the other. Her writing is remarkably dismissive of the powers of human vulnerability and failure. Notably, her writing and thoughts have become associated with, and are often used to shore up, a neo-liberal ideology of economic relations. (See Ayn Rand 2007 and 2007a).

8. Badiou is dismissive of a romantic conception of love predicated on fusion. Although this serves an artistic purpose, he believes it is existentially flawed and should be recognised as a pernicious myth because it serves to separate us from the world – fundamentally, it causes us to miss the other entirely. He writes: ‘I think many people still cling to a romantic conception of love in the encounter. Love is simultaneously ignited, consummated and consumed in the meeting, in a magical moment outside the world as it really is. Something happens that is in the nature of a miracle…and encounter leading to meltdown. But when things happen that way, we aren’t witnessing a “Two scene”, but a “One scene”. It is the meltdown concept of love: the two lovers met and something like the heroic act for One was enacted against the world. In Romantic mythology we can see how this point of fusion often leads to death…because love is consumed in the ineffable, exceptional moment of the encounter, after which it is impossible to go back to a world that remains external to the relationship….I believe we should accept it as a powerful artistic myth, but not as a genuine philosophy of love. After all, love takes place in the world. It is an event that can’t be predicted or calculated in terms of the world’s laws.’ (Badiou 2012: 30-31)


Ahmed, Sara (2010), The Promise of Happiness, Durham: Duke University Press.

Badiou, Alain (2012), In Praise of Love, London: Serpent’s Tail, Profile Books.

Berlant, Lauren (2011),  Cruel Optimism, Durham: Duke University.

Borg, Maja (2012), Future My Love, www.futuremylove.com (last accessed 24 April 2018).

Butler, Judith (2006), Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, London: Verso Press.

Edelman, Lee (2005), No Future, Durham: Duke University.

Illouz, Eva (1997), Consuming The Romantic Utopia. Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, Berkely & Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Illouz, Eva (2012), Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Study, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Irigaray, Luce (1985), This Sex Which Is Not One, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

Irigaray, Luce (2002), The Way of Love, London: Continuum.

Fielder, Miles (2012), ‘Maja Borg on Future My Love’, https://film.list.co.uk/article/42871-maja-borg-on-future-my-love/  (last accessed 24 April 2018).

Negra, Diane (2009), What a Girl Wants: Fantasizing the Reclamation of Self in Postfeminism, London: Routledge.

Rand, Ayn (2007), The Fountainhead, London: Penguin Classics.

Rand, Ayn (2007), Atlas Shrugged, London: Penguin Classics.

Wittig, Monique (1991), The Straight Mind, London: Beacon Books.

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