Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Love and Risk

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: Spirituality, love, storytelling, philosophy, The New Republic,

Love and RiskMany of the most revered love stories involve people taking huge risks and enduring pain and suffering in the name of love. It makes for nice stories, but it’s not a blueprint for enduring love, according to renowned law and philosophy professor Martha Nussbaum in The New Republic. In a review of the new book A Vindication of Love, Nussbaum writes that people probably should take more risks, but love is not increased by the pain and suffering that lovers are forced to endure.

“It is certainly possible that in America in our own era we are seeing a rising tide of risk aversion,” Nussbaum writes. Students seem more calculating in matters of the heart than they were in the 1960s and 70s. In that sense, Nussbaum believes that, “one should be willing to incur risk for the sake of a deep and valuable love.” At the same time, a person shouldn’t move from risk-aversion directly into the grandiose, “crashingly obvious” expressions of love that are so often intertwined with expressions of pain and suffering. Nussbaum writes, “The idea that love is improved by suffering and loss is an adolescent view,” and one best left to Romeo and Juliet.

Source: The New Republic