In Praise Of Love Book Summary - In Praise Of Love Book explained in key points
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In Praise Of Love summary

Alain Badiou

An Ode to Romance, Relationships, and Sex

4.3 (260 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

In Praise of Love by Alain Badiou is a philosophical reflection on modern love, challenging our views that love is an emotion in pursuit of pleasure. Instead, Mr. Badiou contends that true love has more to do with commitment and an absolute difference.

Table of Contents

    In Praise Of Love
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Dating-app culture is threatening love by eliminating much of the risk.

    This story begins a few years ago when the author, Badiou, was strolling through the streets of Paris. He noticed posters advertising a French dating site called Meetic, and was immediately troubled by the messaging. The poster’s slogans promised things like “find love without chance” and “perfect love without suffering.”

    Now, Meetic is one of these dating sites that asks you a bunch of questions, and then uses algorithms to match you up with people who meet your requirements. The idea is that you avoid a lot of wasted time and heartache by only going on dates with people you’re compatible with. If you can ensure your date has the right body, the right job, and the right values in advance, then there’d be a much greater chance of finding love, without the risk of disappointment. 

    In effect, Meetic was suggesting it could eliminate a lot of the riskiness involved in dating. The problem is, for Badiou, love without risk is no love at all. Love is an inherently risky endeavor. For him, the fact that dating apps are helping people eliminate risk from their love life should serve as a dire warning for the dismal state of love today. 

    The key message here is: Dating-app culture is threatening love by eliminating much of the risk.

    When a dating app removes uncertainty by matching you with people who fit your exact desires, what kind of people do you think you’re going to meet?

    You’re probably going to meet people who are just like you – people who have the same tastes, the same background, the same politics, the same ambitions in life.

    But where’s the challenge here? Where are the elements of surprise, of newness, of adventure into the unknown? They’re nowhere to be seen. You might find someone with the same Netflix algorithm, or someone who also loves matcha chai lattes, but that isn’t love. At best, such a dating app sets the stage for a stable relationship – but not a passionate encounter.

    What these dating apps promote is more akin to an arranged marriage than true love. In an arranged marriage, there’s no risk involved either, because your parents have vetted your partner in advance to make sure they belong to the same community, class, or religion as you. The only real difference is that nowadays we outsource our romantic decisions to algorithms rather than matchmakers.

    Risk-free love is really a sterilized idea of love that’s all about servicing your desires. True love, on the other hand, is risky because it has the potential to completely change your life by throwing you into contact with people who are very different to you, and who will shake up your entire perspective on life.

    By eliminating risk, dating apps close us off to the dangerous and exciting element of love – the element which makes it such an intense, existentially challenging experience. For Badiou, it’s imperative that we preserve this element of danger against a safety-first culture that avoids risk.

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    What is In Praise Of Love about?

    In Praise of Love (2012) is a passionate defense of love in an age when romance is threatened from all directions. The product of a dialogue between French philosopher Alain Badiou and journalist Nicholas Truong, the book lays bare how our sex-obsessed media, our individualistic striving, and our online-dating culture are all setting love up to fail. Its thesis: love needs to be reinvented for the modern world.

    In Praise Of Love Review

    In Praise Of Love (2012) by Alain Badiou is a thought-provoking exploration of love and its significance in our modern world. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • It presents a refreshingly philosophical take on love, exploring its connection to politics, art, and ethics.
    • The book challenges conventional notions of love, highlighting its transformative power and emphasizing the importance of commitment and fidelity.
    • With its intelligent analysis and thought-provoking ideas, it engages readers in a deep reflection on the nature and meaning of love in our complex society.

    Who should read In Praise Of Love?

    • Restless singles afraid of commitment
    • Hopeless romantics longing for more than just shallow hook-ups
    • Long-term couples who want to rekindle their bond

    About the Author

    Alain Badiou is a prominent French philosopher who holds the René Descartes chair at the European Graduate School. He’s considered one of the most important voices in the area of continental philosophy who is still living today. He has written many other works including Being and Event, The Meaning of Sarkozy, and Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil.

    Nicholas Truong is a journalist and regular contributor to the French daily newspaper Le Monde.

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    In Praise Of Love FAQs 

    What is the main message of In Praise Of Love?

    In Praise Of Love explores the complexities of modern love and the need to reinvent its meaning in today's society.

    How long does it take to read In Praise Of Love?

    The reading time for In Praise Of Love varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is In Praise Of Love a good book? Is it worth reading?

    In Praise Of Love is worth reading for its thought-provoking insights into the nature of love and its relevance in contemporary life.

    Who is the author of In Praise Of Love?

    The author of In Praise Of Love is Alain Badiou.

    What to read after In Praise Of Love?

    If you're wondering what to read next after In Praise Of Love, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • SYSTEMology by David Jenyns
    • From Strength to Strength by Arthur C. Brooks
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