The end of President Hollande’s and Valérie Trierweiler’s ‘pure relationship’

President Hollande’s termination of his relationship with Valérie Trierweiler is a very public example of the end of what Anthony Giddens calls the ‘pure relationship‘.

It pure because it is entered for its own sake, for what can be derived from it by each person. It can be terminated, more or less at will, by either partner. Keep one’s options open. Focus on what is good and desirable for oneself. Do not allow commitments to outlast the pleasure which can be derived from them. One’s only moral responsibility is to oneself. Pure relationships, then, are contingent relationships.

This is ‘confluent love’, not once-in-lifetime, romantic love or ‘autism for two’. Lovers come together. Lovers come apart. No harm done then. The pure relationship is accompanied by ‘plastic’ sexuality, i.e., sexual pleasure without reproduction, kinship.

Like each lover, each place is regarded as a temporary stay. And here we are. 

As Valérie Trierweiler packed her bags, her compatriots Daft Punk were awarded a Grammy at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, for their album ‘Random Access Memory’. Daft Punk, a French electronic duo who always appear dressed as robots. Robots don’t have moral responsibility either.

The latest video from RAM is Instant Crush. It tells the love story of two 18th century wax figures, a French solider and a woman, on display in an exhibition hall. These symbolize romantic love and traditional relationships. They are moved into a storage hall. It catches fire. They fall over, his hand seems to come alive for a few brief seconds and touches hers. And they melt away. This seems to be the fate of romantic love and traditional relationships too.

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Far away from Los Angeles Academy Awards, another kind of love and relationship is growing among those on the streets of Europe, for whom the future has no future.

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