We all know love. We have all loved in some kind of way. We love our parents, significant others and even our friends. But we can also love other things like animals or material things. But what is the difference between loving and liking? And is it better not to love and feel pain or to love and be hurt in the progress? Jonathan Franzen seeks to answer these questions in his essay “Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts”.
The essay “Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts” is, as mentioned, written by Jonathan Franzen and published in The New York Times, May 28, 2011. Jonathan Franzen is born in 1959, and he is an acclaimed American novelist and essayist. The essay is based on the commencement speech he delivered at Kenyon College in Ohio, USA.
“Our technology has become extremely adept in creating products that correspond to our fantasy ideal of an erotic relationship, in which the beloved object asks for nothing and gives everything, instantly. (…)” As Franzen claims in his essay, many people can feel like they love their technological object. It gives them a satisfaction, which human interaction maybe wouldn’t. Franzen however thinks, that people in general don’t love material things: they like them. There is a major difference between loving and liking – even though it might appear small. “Liking, in general, is commercial culture’s substitute for loving.” Products are made to be likeable, but if that concept in transferred to a person, you would instantly see a narcissistic person, without integrity. Franzen says that technologic products don’t do this, because they aren’t people. They are in stead a great allied.
His purpose with this claim is to make a contrast between the narcissistic tendencies of technology and the problem of actual love. When we overcome the obstacles of liking and confusing it with love, there is suddenly a real choice to...