from Commonwealth / love

Hardt&Negri, preface, p. 11-12

Two such concepts that play particularly significant roles in this book are poverty and love.

Love provides another path for investigating the power and productivity of the common. Love is a means to escape the solitude of individualism but not, as contemporary ideology tells us, only to be isolated again in the private life of the couple or the family To arrive at a political concept of love that recognizes it as centered on the production of the common and the production of social life, we have to break away from most of the contemporary meanings of the term by bringing back and working with some older notions. Socrates, for example, reports in the Symposium that, accordingto Diotima, his ”instructor in love,” love is born of poverty and invention. As he tries to elaborate what she taught him, he claims that love tends naturally toward the ideal realm to achieve beauty and wealth, thus fulfilling desire. French and Italian feminists argue, however, that Plato has Diotima all wrong. She guides us not toward the ”sublimation” of poverty and desire in the ”fullness” of beauty and wealth, but toward the power of becoming defined by differences.4 Diotimas notion of love gives us a new definition o f wealth that extends our notion of the common and points toward a process of liberation.5



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