Imagine that you entered into an intimate relationship with someone of a different skin color, religion, ethnic background, profession, social class or astrological sign than you. Or perhaps this other person had quite different interests—watched television programs that you scorned, read books that you found off-putting, too intellectual. And supposing that your sense of this or these differences was right on the surface. After making love not only did you go quickly to the bathroom and wash up thoroughly and at some length, but when your partner remarked on this habit you said to her or him, or even just to yourself, “There is a sense in which I am afraid of you, of getting your germs, of being corrupted or infected-affected by you.” Of course this would be very difficult for your partner (and for you), but it seems to me that there is a truth here, and that there would be truth in such a relationship. And particularly if the two “lovers” both shared with one another and accepted the existence, the necessity even, of such feelings: of dis-ease, should we call them? or of humanity?
Note du 16 mai 2014, écrite dans un bistro dans le vingtième, Paris
Credit: Image is from a National Geographic article, “Making and Breaking Compulsive Behavior,” by Ed Yong, 6 June 2013.