Ben-Ze'ev and Ruhama Goussinsky
In The Name of Love: Romantic ideology and its victims
(Oxford University Press, 2008).
Provides insights into the
nature of love, and explains the prevailing concept of loving
relationships - Romantic Ideology.
Looks at the difficulties faced by lovers in current society,
and coping with its various implications. Discusses the future
of marriage and the prospect of long-term romantic relationships.
Explores wife murder, enabling a better understanding of this
phenomenon, and how its incidence can be reduced.
Examines the possibilities of phenomena such as loving two people
at the same time, hating the one you love, and violating romantic
Provides profound and unique analyses of the positive and negative
aspects of romantic love.
We yearn to experience the idealized love depicted in so many
novels, movies, poems, and popular songs. Ironically, it is
the idealization of love that arms it with its destructive power.
Popular media consistently remind us that love is all we need,
but statistics concerning the rate of depression and suicides
after divorce or romantic break up remind us what might happened
if "all that we need" is taken away. This book is
about our ideals of love, our actual experiences of love - the
disparity between the two, and how we cope with this disparity.
A major study case of the book concerns men who have murdered
their wives or partners allegedly out of love. It is estimated
that over 30% of all female murder victims in the United States
die at the hands of a former or present spouse or boyfriend.
How can murdering a loved one flow from the assumed moral and
altruistic emotion of love? The authors contend that not only
is love intrinsically ambivalent, but it can also give rise
to dangerous consequences. Some of the worst evils have been
committed in the name of love (as in the name of God).
A unique collaboration between a leading philosopher in the
field of emotions and a social scientist, In the Name of Love
presents fascinating insights into romantic love and its future
in modern society.
Introduction -"I want to know what love is"; Romantic
ideology - "If you love someone"; Love at breaking
point - "What have I got to do to make you love me?";
The ambivalent nature of romantic love - "What is this
thing called love?"; Understanding wife killing - "See
you at the bitter end"; Boundaries of the possible - "Never
give up on a good thing"; Structural difficulties in romantic
love - "Hard times for lovers"; Romantic compromises
and accommodations - "You've got to take the bitter with
the sweet"; The nurturing approach to love - "We walk
in the dream, but dream no more".
"There have been quite a few
books on love recently - we're talking romantic love, erotic
love, passionate love - and some have been very good. This book
by Aaron Ben-Ze'ev and Ruhama Goussinsky may be the best yet.
It starts with the longings that so many people experience,
it acknowledges the altruism of love, and it takes in interviews
with men who murdered their wives. This perceptive, beautifully
written, and fascinating book will make you think."
Keith Oatley, Department of Psychology University of Toronto
"Were we lied to by our love songs? Philosopher Aaron Ben-Ze’ev
look at the contemporary beliefs about romantic love that saturate
our poems, movies, books, and minds; then they show us the true
face of this intoxicating, yet extreme, sometimes even murderous,
emotion. Their aims: to revise our basic attitudes about this
primordial feeling; to reveal its power and its danger; and
to offer a new approach to understanding, getting, and giving
love. It’s educated, realistic, and smart."
Helen Fisher Research Professor, Department of Anthropology,
"The authors have stripped bare the paradoxes at the heart
of our ideals of romantic love. They begin by showing that wife-killers
talk just like saccharine pop tunes about love eternal, and
that their crime is more than the unfortunate effect of escalating
passion. Instead, murder in the name of love stems from a kind
of fundamentalism in the ideology of love. This is a shockingly
fresh take on an ancient topic, and it makes for a fascinating
read. In a time when the possibility of enduring romantic relationships
has deteriorated, In the Name of Love offers a novel account
of the ideology of romantic love, its surprising staying power,
and the prospects for its recuperation."
Ronald de Sousa, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto.