Reflexivity of self-identity, addiction, romance

Some tidbits from Anthony Giddens’s The Transformation of Intimacy.

“what is distinctly problematic about modernity: the impossibility of evaluating emotion” — reflexive emotion always compromised.

“Addictions are a negative index of the degree to which the reflexive project of self moves to center-stage in late modernity.”

“Romance is the counterfactual thinking of the deprived.”

Giddens seems to hint that addiction is a kind of morbid reflexivity — a self-consciousness about self-fashioning that has gone awry, has been balked at. It means the sticking to self-generated compulsive routines in the absence of the lost traditional routines of life, which in the past made addiction unthinkable, not recognizable conceptually.

He posits intimacy and “confluential love” as a healthy mode of self-monitoring and romance as a kind of skilling up for it, a means of training in learning how to monitor one’s emotions and express them so that they may be understood by others, as well as learning ways to be attentive to the emotions and expressions of others. But couldn’t romance also be an addiction to vicarious fantasy, an addiction to self-identity, spurring an out of control narcissism? The production of self in the guise of the intimate relationship, which becomes necessary to develop a self — “I’m nothing without you” may have some substantive truth to it.

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