Love Is A Catastrophe

Why romance thrives when it breaks all the rules

Octavio Paz, the Nobel-prizewinning author who died last week, wrote a masterpiece years ago called The Labyrinth of Solitude. The book contained, among other things, a treatise on the dynamics of passionate love: "To realize itself, love must violate the rules of our world. It is scandalous and disorderly, a transgression committed by two stars that break out of their predestined orbits and rush together in the midst of space. The romantic conception of love, which implies a breaking away and a catastrophe, is the only one we know today because everything in our society prevents love from being a free...

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