When our special sex 2022 edition comes out, an inventory of our romantic and friendly relationships, our breakup and our fears with Claire Marin, philosopher, author of “Rupture (s)” and “Being in her place”.
Who are we after a breakup (in love, friendship, geographical, temporal, random, etc.)? How do you find your place in the world? These are the two big questions that contain the latest works by Claire Marin, philosopher and teacher in preparatory classes for the Grandes Ecoles: Pauses) and To be in her place, published in 2019 and 2022, respectively, as a kind of great reflection on the construction of one’s identity and the link to others. How free are we to self-determination?
By summoning Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Foucault, Deleuze, Bataille, Sartre, but also Marguerite Duras, Annie Ernaux and Sarah Chiche, Claire Marin destabilizes us by holding up to us the mirror of our own harsh, fragile, sentimental, crooked lives. If the break for her does not exist in its most honest sense, always leaving a trail, a ghost behind, the fact that it sets into our lives is that it is wanted or little. How do you find your place in a world transformed by Covid-19, the awareness of climate change, patriarchal, racist, classicist, police violence …? Is the key to finding in love and friendship? Or in our simple interference in the other person’s body? How to live in rupture without collapsing?
Are we more afraid of breakups today than ever before?
Claire Marine – I do not know how much the breakup is stressful, but there can be some form of disillusionment in romantic and sexual relationships. We are back from the hyper-consumption of profiles. I hear these talk a lot:all these useless meetings wereted these evenings seeing people we have no affinity with when we can have fun with friends ”. We become aware of the time we are losing on these applications, which are often just false promises. We have passed the first moment of the news excitement. I do not know if people really differ from them, but I see many people who differ from them.
“Obligation to settle down with someone is no longer central”
Are we looking for solidity?
There is certainly the fear of committing – if we can hear “solid” in that sense – and of being disappointed. Young women become aware of their freedom and become afraid or aware of what changes when you enter into the relationship, motherhood, family configuration. They are therefore more reluctant to make such commitments. They may decide to keep the playful aspect of the sexual relationship without necessarily registering it within the duration, or living it in the state of passion. It’s a kind of middle ground. I do not know if it is a concern or just another lifestyle where committing to settling down with someone is no longer central.
We consist of lots of small breaks. But are we not spending our lives trying to escape fractures, exactly?
We have this fantasy about things that hold, it is reassuring. It also allows us to think about ourselves in a form of continuity. When we can imagine the duration, we can have big projects, imagine that beautiful things unfold with the other. The duration horizon makes it possible to be more ambitious in a certain way, and provides strength. That is why our current situation is so difficult. We are asked to adapt, to think about short-term changes. We are not used to being pushed around in our projection of ourselves. We live in a rich country with resources, developed technology, scientific and medical knowledge. All of these solidities have been damaged, affecting our way of imagining the future. Everything is more uncertain, and it affects our relationship with others.
Where should we look for solid? Compared to others?
I think. We saw how much we missed them. We reassessed those that were crucial to us, those we needed psychologically, emotionally. We became aware of each person’s place on the chessboard of emotional relationships.
This year, Constance Debré made a lot of noise by exploring her family breakdown, her need for independence in Last name. What do you think ?
She allows herself to do and say what men have been doing and saying for decades without shocking anyone. Breaking up with his family is the principle of a certain number of stories of initiation of young men that have never been tried. We have to wonder why Constance Debré is shocking and what she questions about our idealized or stereotypical representations of women or mothers. Everything that is hidden or denied by the reality of the maternal relationship shows up in these epidermal reactions to what she says. It produces something very interesting because it has a language, an attitude that questions many of our prejudices, our assumptions about what must withstand everything.
You quote Deleuze on request.
Especially in ABC, where he says that desire is not about repeating or reproducing old patterns. Deleuze also comments on Proust, who himself presents a serial wish in which one always looks for the same character, one’s elements, common features. What I like about Deleuze is this idea of a desire that makes us change territory moves us radically. The world that the other brings with it disorients us and therefore seduces us. It is the passion of love: no longer knowing where you are. It is exciting to face, not with someone who resembles us socially or culturally, but with someone who explodes our certainty and makes us forget ourselves. We are so so fascinated or obsessed with the other that we get rid of ourselves. That’s what the ease of amorous passion comes from. We are new under the other person’s gaze because we get rid of our old clothes, but also because he takes us into his universe. He may be my neighbor geographically, but he shows me a new way of thinking, relating to others. It is this exoticism that evokes the intensity of desire. I like this idea that desire arises from the radicality of difference rather than from the mirror of recognition.
“The friend is really the one I experience a shared duration with, it can never exist in the passion of love”
What difference do you see between love and friendship?
In friendship, we inevitably create something in common. We no longer really know who is influencing the other. A common creation also occurs in certain couples who hold and give birth to a kind of chimera. In amorous passion, on the other hand, one can continue to be very distinct, and that is what can put an end to it. In the novel Fire by Maria Pourchet, the two characters in love are very different, and yet something incredibly intense happens. But it is this difference that will one day put an end to the relationship. Nothing has been created beyond the alchemy of the bodies, the desire between them … There is no common life. The friend is truly the one I experience a shared duration with, it can never exist in the passion of love. There are times when you feel out of place in a relationship, whether you are in a relationship or elsewhere. There are times when you feel like you are fully there. What is difficult is to keep this presence for the other as for oneself and to combine these balances in the different places one occupies; that the professional place, for example, does not interfere with the affective space. It is the question of their conjugation that is complicated. We may have too many places and it’s hard to make them compatible, but if we only had one, it would be terribly boring.
Some do not want to take space to move better between others, to better understand those who are preoccupied with others.
Levi-Strauss explained that he was able to immerse himself in the cultures of the Indians in the Amazon because he himself did not find himself particularly interesting or very attached to his personal culture. Sometimes being grounded does not make us more flexible and free to move from medium to medium. There is also this idea that being at a distance, or on the outskirts, can also be a privileged situation. We always see it as a fact to be separated, on the periphery of the world, but there may also be a consolation in being able to analyze by taking some distance, in not being caught by the influences of those who are on stage or in the middle in the show, in full action. We can be in the background and play a crucial role in the balance of the whole.
Do we only find our place in case of breakage?
When I go apart, I lose one place, and sometimes I even look up because I want another place. This issue of space has been sensitive to me for a long time. I read Annie Ernaux when I was 20 and it did it all. I felt like I understood emotions that I felt confused without being able to put into words. This feeling of not being in his place, the shame of not being well dressed, of not knowing classical music …
The sexual relationship also serves to find its place …
There is still something important at stake in taming one’s own body, discovering one’s body. It is also done thanks to the other. Discovering what our body is capable of … This is crucial basis for self-discovery. When I quote Foucault about what he calls “I‘here”, That is, one is in place in the sexual relationship, it is because it describes a phenomenon that may be of the order of reconciliation: my body is coveted under the gaze of others when I failed to love him. It is not therapy, one should not invest everything in it, but there may be a form of self-acquisition, for reconciliation in relation to one’s own body or to return to oneself after experiences that have affected us.
More and more activists and books are questioning heterosexuality, up to Louise Morel, who explains in How to become a lesbian in ten steps how the abandonment of heterosexuality saved her...
The heterosexual couple should no doubt function differently. It is certain that the asymmetrical model that we trusted will no longer hold. There is an impatience among women now, a tiredness also towards the duration of old patterns. But we must be wary of caricature or idealistic representations. There are also dominance relationships or imbalances in the roles each of them has in gay couples. And besides, I do not think you can decide to become a lesbian. Homosexuality is not a calculation, a choice, a decision. It can be assumed or not, but we do not decide what we want. We make mistakes when we turn homosexuality into an El Dorado. Lesbians also blame each other for inequalities in their couples, separate, fight for custody. It annoys me to hear that it would be enough to become a lesbian to get better (I’m not saying that is the content of this book, I have not read it yet). We forget the extent to which being a lesbian or gay is still a source of intense suffering and tragedy for young people.
To be in her placeby Claire Marin (ed. The Observatory)
Interview by Carole Boinet