chapter  3
A distorted love ideal
ByEmma Engdahl
Pages 24

In the book The Agony of Eros, Han argues that love and, by extension, also poetic and political forces, are destroyed in today's Western or capitalist societies. He describes these societies as achievement societies where human value is reduced to what is being produced and delivered. This chapter discusses two different types of self-reduction that are being produced as an ideal, or alternatively are distorting the ideal of love. Both can be related to the disappearance of the other's radical otherness from one's self. Naturally, the agony of love cannot always be equated to depressive love. First, depression was considered to be a form of psychological suffering or distress, which only a few suffered from. Second, the definition of depression, or rather of melancholy, was not specific enough to be used as a diagnostic tool. And, third, since the eighteenth century, depression or melancholy had partly been perceived as a desirable condition; a sign of, above all, male genius.