A book on ethics and philosophy of values

(Note: this is a non-professional translation of the original text in French. Help improve this translation: please report any mistake!)


Our so-called ‘love’ could be nothing but a kind of disguised contempt - disguised in love.
A distressing question arises: is there at least something that we really love? Or are our feelings just disguised contempt, in reality? In fact, there is a way of knowing this. To determine whether our relation to this or that thing is a kind of contempt, we only need to find out if our relation is based on an insult, viz. violates one of the essential requirements of love.

We have seen that one of the essential conditions of love is to be able to show what makes the value of that which we intend to love. But in a previous chapter, I have maintained that values are not founded, that we do not know any foundation of values, and so that we can neither establish the value of what we love, nor prove the negative value of what we hate.

Consequently, it seems that as long as an axiology is not constituted as a science, and does not resolve the problem of values, our loves reveal themselves to be disguised contempt, since our relation to things and beings is of the type ‘I love you, without knowing why’, or ‘I love you, without reason’. In other words, as long as the problem of values is not resolved, the human ability to love remains undetermined.

At first glance, this idea seems absurd.
Indeed, there are de facto great loves (Romeo and Juliet, etc.). To this, I reply that I do not call into question the existence of (great) feelings, but that of love; since love is not only a feeling, as I have suggested.
Furthermore, I agree that they ‘want to love’ each other: they would die for it, but fail to bring their love to fulfilment. Finally, this is a traditional doctrine: love is conceived as an ideal, something we aim for, without attaining it. I am just reopening the question of the possibility of this task –seemingly impossible.

So love becomes a problem. To solve it, we should explore what I have called the ‘hidden face of love’, that is to say, establish the essential conditions that love involves in itself, viz. find out the “Tablets of laws” of love, so to speak.

Until this happens, we run the risk of degrading our loves into disguised contempt, without our knowledge.
The best example of this phenomenon concerns these axiological doctrines that we have already examined: subjectivism and eclecticism.