Imagine that an elderly, bald man appears and, while smoking a pipe, says to you: “Phones help people who are far away. Telephones allow those around you to distance themselves ”. This is a phrase of Zygmunt Bauman, recently deceased, the one who coined the term liquid love, among the other liquid dimensions that often define our reality.
Below we propose a brief journey on the concept of liquid love by Zygmunt Bauman. Above all, we will try to understand if this concept really characterizes love in the century in which we live.
Who was Zygmunt Bauman?
Before moving on, it’s good to know who Mr. Bauman was. This nice old man at first glance was actually an important Polish philosopher and psychologist. Unfortunately, he died a few months ago.
However, posterity will benefit from his enormous research work on current issues such as social classes or postmodernism. After the 1950s, under the influence and echo of such important facts as the Nazi holocaust or the rise of socialism, Bauman focused on more current and related topics in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
During the last few years, Bauman’s work focused on postmodernism, globalization, consumerism and the new poverty. Hence the concept of liquid modernity which leads us to the topic we will discuss today: liquid love.
Liquid love in the modern world
Bauman coined the term “liquid” with a different meaning, to explain his view of societies in the modern world. For the sociologist, the fragility of the bond is the reality of our relationships. For this liquid, due to the malleability of the shape and the ease of division of the elements in the liquid state.
Unfortunately, the sharp mind of the philosopher regarded present-day society as an occasional world. Most of the people who are part of it look for momentary satisfaction: that punctual something that makes us happy for a few minutes. A moment before is desired and soon after forgotten.
According to Bauman, this is due to the fact that one of the elements of relational love, self-love, is also liquid. How can we love someone if we have not first learned to love ourselves? What can we offer to others if we have nothing important to offer? What can we correspond with when they offer us something important? Our lack of self-esteem leads us to embark on relationships that dissolve in a matter of seconds.
For this reason, thanks to Bauman’s singular poetics, the term liquid love, and everything that is reflected in our current reality, escapes us, because we are not able to solidify it and grasp it with the necessary force, exactly as happens with the self-love. We live in the ephemeral world of the instant as collectors of liquid events. Every day it is more and more difficult for us to create a solid reality formed by self-love and real relationships that last over time with the required consistency.
The need for self-love to establish true relationships
For Bauman, modern humans need strong compromises. And the first has to be with yourself. Without self-love, without personal responsibility, without the ability to transcend, we will rarely be willing to take on solid relationships.
Bauman said that nowadays, more than relationships, we establish connections. Exactly as we said at the beginning of this article with the phrase about phones, the technology that allows us to keep in touch. However, we don’t use it to go deeper, but to connect.
Curiously, in this sense we can observe the paradox that the less transcendent we are personally, the more individualistic we become. Furthermore, it is precisely in this context that we usually feel the need to be momentarily satisfied. Fleeting events with a beginning and an end, which even go from real to virtual.
How to paint liquid love
Current liquid love is more real every day. The relationships that are established are devoid of substance and lack content and compromise. However, we cannot be carried away by discouragement and temporariness.
Fortunately, there is a powerful weapon with which to fight the inconsistency of liquid love. It is called education, but to use it and get good results, you have to start from childhood.
It is necessary to train children who are confident, with high self-esteem, aware of themselves and of the need to establish real and lasting relationships . Free children, capable of thinking and confident in every project they can undertake.
If not, our children, like many of us, will take the liquid love of the liquid reality of this liquid world. Or at least that’s what Zygmunt Bauman believed. What do you think?