Among my personal pantheon of philosophers whom I not only admire but seek to emulate, Albert Camus may be the lesser known and more subtly influential—at least when compared to Nietzsche’s bombastic influence upon me or Ortega y Gasset’s all-encompassing grip of my worldview. What has always fascinated me the most about Camus has been his multi-genre style to philosophical inquiry, which led him to explore a certain idea or theme thrice: in essay form, in a stage play, and in a novel. Such an approach opened up the understanding of the idea, since the essay form isn’t the only way to unveil philosophical truths. I’ve always meant to borrow the practice from Camus, but I had never obsessed enough about a single topic to have the drive to explore it in more than one form.
Yet, I found an idea a few months ago that has become my obsession worth writing about across forms, and which usually gets mentioned a lot in songs, theater, painting, dance, poetry, sculpture, novels, essays, and even scientific research, while thoroughly misunderstood—the triad of attraction, intimacy, and love. That may mean throwing myself into a crowded discussion, but that’s part of the appeal, for perhaps my experience (or lack thereof) and my extended clinical+analytical+critical observation of the phenomena will allow me to contribute something novel against the idealization and wrongful blending of the triad.
Just to “improve” upon Camus’s practice, I shall write a fourfold instead of a tryptic, attaching poetry to the essay-theatre-novel package. The body of work will include (in no specific order):
- A short film (and hopefully directing+producing it), which suits my style better than a stage play.
- An essay, which will probably read like a manifesto of some sort, both because of tone and limited length.
- A novel (or short story, haven’t decided), in which the triad would be more than just the overall theme of the narrative, instead standing out as a spaciation and temporalization of how the triad unfolds.
- An aphoristic poem, not romantic or Romantic but rather one echoing those of Friedrich Hölderlin or Paul Celan meant to invoke the philosophical meaning of ideas like death and justice.
I intend for those works to show, represent, express, and allude to how attraction, intimacy, and love differ, interact, and contradict each other, rather than explaining or claiming to prove what they are, or worse, that they’re good, wrong, evil, moral, or some other ascription. My language and approach belong to phenomenology, after all, not prophecy or law.
Ultimately, that’s the goal: to unfold a phenomenal understanding of attraction/intimacy/love through the fourfold. But only creation, time, and experience can allow that to happen (or not)—so I shall write and see…