The dark interior of love

I experience alternately two nights, one good, the other bad. To express this, I borrow a mystical distinction [from John of the Cross]: estar a oscuras (to be in the dark) can occur without there being any blame to attach, since I am deprived of the light of causes and effects; estar en tinieblas (to be in the shadows: tenebrae) happens to me when I am blinded by attachment to things and the disorder that emanates from that condition.

Most often I am in the very darkness of my desire; I know not what it takes, good itself is an evil to me, everything resounds, I live between blows, my head ringing: estoy en tinieblas. But sometimes, too, it is another Night: alone, in a posture of meditation (perhaps a role I assign myself?), I think quite calmly about the other, as the other is; I suspend any interpretation; I enter into the night of non-meaning; desire continues to vibrate (the darkness is transluminous), but there is nothing I want to grasp; this is the Night of non-profit, of subtle, invisible expenditure: estoy a oscuras: I am here, sitting simply and calmly in the dark interior of love.

— Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse (trans. R. Howard)

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