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GALLERY 2010/2011

critical writing

The Mystery of Love

About work

Love is the motion for living, an incentive even for the will of power, unfortunately, misunderstood, or misused. The real essence of love is putting the contradictory sides in creative communication. But human history has not yet got to the point of making the material concerns inferior to the inner voice of Love.

“Love your friend as yourself.” Holy Bible, New Testimony


Editors comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

This essay is trying to work out some serious quandaries. Can we make a society on the basis of love, as a counterpart to the romantic love that most ennobles us? Can compassion on a wide scale be practiced, as love is on a personal scale? When do power relations interfere with these attempts? Is there a way to avoid their pernicious influence on attempts to create an altruistic society?

Levon is pessimistic about the possibility, with good reason. So what are the alternatives? If these desires cannot be fulfilled, what can we aim for? Should we see love as a social construction, and the desire for it on a grand scale as merely the product of a society that glorifies it on a personal scale and has little of it on a social one? This gives power to the traditional answer of retreating to the personal realm, to tend to one’s own garden, as Voltaire writes in Candide. Is there another basis, besides love, compassion, and altruism, which can underpin a society in a satisfactory way? What other principles may work? Respect? Equality? I surmise that Levon believes that these only lead to assertions of power, that only the defeat of ego in love can create relationships not dominated by wills to power. One way to think about it without succumbing to despair is to discern what works in societies despite their faulty premises. What societies offer the best lives for their members? Is it those who restrain power the most? Or diffuse it throughout society the most? Foucault and other post-humanists would say that societies create their own definitions of what is good and bad, that we can never step outside of our society and our constructed selves to make that evaluation. What, then, can be salvaged by this effort? Imagination is indeed required to supply answers to Levon’s questioning, and questing for love on a social scale.

View other works commented by Daniel Marcus  ››

This is an interesting piece of non-academic critical writing that nonetheless attempts to deploy some of the discourse and strategies of academic writing. On the one hand, however, this essay’s degree of generalisation does not do proper service to its subject. One way in which to avoid this condition would be test the claims put forward through a simple act of questioning their full validity. For instance, is the essence of love necessarily confined to emotional relations between the sexes or are there other forms of love, too? Is love always a defence of human rights or can we find situations in which the curtailment of human rights is actually made in the name of love?
On the other hand, I feel that too much was trying to be commented upon in too short a space. The pace at which we move from the family, religious institutions, psychological discourse, and democracy to the philosophy of Hegel and Kant is very fast indeed. Because of this much of argumentative force and persuasiveness of the essay is lost. A detailed review and correction of the essay’s use of the English language would have benefited its force as well eliminated some of its other deficiencies (e.g. Nicshe as opposed to Nietzsche), too.

View other works commented by Nikolai Jeffs  ››

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Entry details


The Mystery of Love

Concept author(s)

Levon Galstyan

Concept author year(s) of birth




Competition category

critical writing

Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

I'm a TV broadcast journalist, work at TV "Shant", Gyumri, Armenia. Report mainly on social, economic issues.