Simon May describes love as ‘the all-too conditional desire for one whom we experience as indestructibly grounding our life.’ But warns that our entrenched expectations will be hard to dislodge, as they have become articles of faith in a religion of love that has filled the void left by the decline of established religious authority. This is the only universal religion that the West still has; and the vested interests in its guarantees are so powerful, amongst religious believers and aetheists alike, that it will, Simon May suggests, be with us for a very long time to come.
Is genuine love really unconditional – unlike all other emotions? Or somehow eternal? A concern for the flourishing of our loved ones? Or our chief balwark against suffering and loss?
This event will explore these entrenched expectations of love and examine how love has been shaped, idolized and misconstrued by the West over three millennia and how we might conceive it differently.
Simon May is Visiting Professor of Philosophy at King’s College , University of London, and an expert on ethics, German idealism, and the history of modern philosophy. He is the author of ‘Love – A History’ published by Yale University Press.
This event takes place on Thursday 14th July at The School of Life, £20.50.