Notes on Love


On a day often filled with consumerism and shallow romanticism, this manifesto from a comrade in New York City explores love as a foundation for militancy—a means of both resisting and redeeming.

Notes on Love

by Ferdinand

for Leija

Love is the only reason to be alive.

At a point in my life, I realized that letting myself be controlled by my fear of intimacy was counterrevolutionary. The individualizing urge to be aloof is a symptom of this fucked up world that wishes to isolate us from each other. If my politics aren’t informed by my love for my comrades, my planet, my friends, and myself,

what is the point?

The most radical thing one can do in this life is to love.
To be vulnerable.
To give one’s heart to another and to trust that they will be gentle with it.
It’s a terrifying prospect to be seen. To be known.
What if they reject me?
What if I’m not good enough? Not smart enough?
I say the wrong thing? Do the wrong thing? What if I am not enough?

This world urges us to be alone. When we are isolated, we are less powerful.

Divide and conquer.

How do we fight back against a world that aims to tear us apart? A world that wants us to see ourselves merely as individuals, with no bonds that tie us to each other and no common stake in the fate of those around us. They give us algorithms that show us countless options for potential lovers, turning each one into a commodity.

Swipe right to fill the void. A string of endless hookups delivered right to your door as easy as ordering pizza. Human bodies are made into objects for consumption.

It’s never been easier to meet someone. The world has never been so lonely.

How can we move with love in a world that tells us to be ashamed of it? They tell us it is better to be alone—we are sold ideas of individualism that have nothing to do with autonomy. They sell us self-help books with mantras about focusing on ourselves when things get tough.

“If you don’t love yourself,
how can you love anyone else?”

But loving others is how we truly learn to love ourselves.

Somehow, we were sold the lie that healing oneself is something that has to be done in isolation. It can’t be collaborative, and it can’t be achieved communally.

You have to do it on your own.

This is bullshit.

The truth is, we need each other.

No one has to go through this life alone, and no one has to heal alone. We heal ourselves and each other by fully dedicating ourselves to love.

We can heal this world through love
because love is an attack.

In ancient Thebes, the Sacred Band was an elite battalion of soldiers composed of 150 pairs of male lovers. Due to their bonds, or as Polyaenus described it, “devoted to each other by mutual obligations of love,” these warriors would fight more valiantly to protect their lovers. I think of these lover-soldiers and what can be learned from their commitment to each other. How their love made them more militant.

Love is a tactic for warfare.

To me, love is a clenched fist.
A brick through a window.
The thing we are fighting for
and the method by which we will win.

Why do we want a better world if not for the sake of love? When our struggle is motivated by love, the stakes are significantly higher. The fight hits home because we are fighting not only for our own lives but for the lives and futures of those we love.

A future that our children will inherit, of which our ancestors were robbed. We fight for a future in which our lovers, comrades, and friends can live the good life.

Whether we are having children, caring for our elderly, or forming couples, throuples, polycules, platonic life-bonds, or any other way of imagining human intimacy, when we engage with other humans it is the foundation for a militancy that can survive burnout and depression.

These mutual bonds give us the strength to go on when the fight feels hopeless.

Our survival depends on each other and our fates are tied together.

You don’t have to go through this world alone.

I’m here, I promise.

We live on a paradise of a planet that we have wrecked beyond all reason because we saw ourselves as somehow separate from the rest of the natural world.

I want to escape the shackles of civilization and accept my place as part of nature.

To love is to be human. Our longing for it is primal. Human beings are animals, and we are social animals. We are evolved to need each other, live communally, and care for each other. The desire to love and be loved is in our bones.

Love is the axis on which
my world spins.
The thing I yearn for above all else. The thing I’ve run from all my life.
How can I confront the terror
of being loved?
I am fighting against this world. I am fighting for this world.
Please have
my back.

There is a cynical tendency to view love as trivial.

We think of hippie slogans, “All You Need Is Love.”

We conceptualize love as some invisible force that will save us from this cruel world that seeks to destroy, if only we can somehow believe in it.

But love is a weapon. When I let myself experience intimacy with other human beings, that is when I am most human. That is when I sharpen love’s blade.

Fear is the enemy of love. When I let fear stop me from loving, I become my own enemy. Self-sabotage. Too many times, my fear of rejection has caused me to turn away from love. My tendency towards being aloof only left me feeling isolated and empty. I want to give myself more completely to my lovers and my friends. Is this what a life in common is really all about?

A life worth living is a life with love.

Let us abandon fear. Let us learn to cling to each other, support each other, and fight for each other.

Let love be the fire that burns this world. Let love be the seed that grows from its ashes.

Maybe I am naive and foolish. I’ll be the first to admit I have always been a romantic at heart. But again, love is a tactic for warfare. It is the thing we are fighting for and the method by which we will win.

While this world tries to tear us apart,
I am reaching for you.