Still working but wanted to send this much on to you. Hope New York was productive...
Meanwhile, I have been stuck on Carse's revealing words about the action of "exposing one's ceaseless growth, the dynamic self that has yet to be", and what is at stake in both the exposure and the potentiality therein. If love is the ultimate act of knowing, then it must be the ultimate act of exposing, of vulnerability. Carse "ceaseless growth", which is perhaps the ideal, means that we must also expose the weaknesses that can inhibit that growth, those things which might, all of our lives, hold us back. How could it be possible to enable that "dynamic self" without contending with those darker and less virtuous characteristics, without revealing the inadequate, the petty, the ugly self? What does exposing one's failings mean for love? How vulnerable are we when one knows those weaknesses as well as they know our strengths? Without such a full disclosure and the associated potential for growth, one could argue, there can be no true love (or knowing).
Our ability to love is tied to our ability to recognize all aspects of an individual. Only when we are laid bare is there the potential for this recognition, for it occurs most profoundly in the places where we are deficient, where there is a lack. Likewise, John Armstrong says that we are drawn to individuals whose virtues we wish to possess, who can illuminate a path to the becoming the person we would like to be. So it would seem that self-awareness, acceptance, or, if you will, self love, would enable us to find the partner who would best promote such growth.
Love also encompasses the vulnerability of recognizing that the knowing one "possesses" when in love, that allows us to take "the leap into chance" can come to an end at any moment or be rejected from the outset, it can be fractured by any number of actions or lost completely as in death. That love may be swept away, extinguished, or unrequited, what then? Does love end with the passing of reciprocation, is it required? When the mirror of another through which we see ourselves is lost or never existed to start? Is the memory or idea of that love enough to maintain it or does love then become something else- longing? I believe Heidegger when he writes that "Love transforms gratitude into loyalty to our selves and unconditional faith in the other.", but does that faith persist in the face of loss or absence? Is this where religion makes its entrance, where faith in the individual is supplanted? Can love can survive its own end, does it maintain its integrity? Is this why love is accompanied by fear? Because all is at stake, our "sweet burden" of both knowing another and knowing ourselves? And how do we know ourselves without the love of another?
What is it to love ones self, to embrace, with the mirror of self-conciousness all of the virtues and faults we possess? Can we as individuals provide for ourselves, nourishing and growing with that same "ceaseless growth"? Do we require romantic love to be fulfilled as architects of our lives?