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International Studies in Philosophy Monograph Series

2005

The Gift of Self

Stephen David Ross
Pages 129-152

Self Love

The ownership condemned with such rigor by the mystics, and often called impurity, is only the search for one's own solace and one's own interest in the jouissance of the gifts of God, at the expense of the jealousy of the pure love that wants everything for God and nothing for the creature .... Ownership, of course, is nothing but self-love or pride, which is the love of one's own excellence insofar as it is one's own, and which, instead of coming back completely and uniquely to God, still to a small extent brings the gifts of God back to the self so that it can take pleasure in them. (Fénelon: quoted in Nancy, SL, 94) Love defines itself as the absolute opposite and as the destruction of self-love. Self-love is not simply the love of the self; .... One can love oneself with a real love, and it might even be that one must do so .... But self-love, understood according to the signification the spiritual authors gave to it, .... is the love (which, from this moment on, is no longer one) of possession. It is the love of the self as property. (pp. 94-5)

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