Monday, July 28, 2008

Barthes on the Semiology of Love

The lover is the natural semiologist in the pure state! He spends his time reading signs -- he does nothing else: signs of happiness, signs of unhappiness. On the face of the other, in his behavior. He is truly a prey to signs.

So the proverb is a lie: love is not blind...

Love is not blind. On the contrary, it has an unbelievable power to decipher things, which is related to the paranoid element in every lover. You know, a lover combines bits of neurosis and psychosis : he's tormented and crazed. He sees clearly -- but the result is often the same as if he were blind.


Because he doesn't know where or how to make signs stop. He deciphers perfectly, but he's unable to arrive at a definite interpretation, and he's swept away by a perpetual circus, where he'll never find peace.

Roland Barthes, Playboy, Sept. 1977 (interview conducted by Philippe Roger)
Photo by Toni Blay