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The Convolution of Love

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The Convolution of Love

Virginia Fisher Student ID# 20441228 RS 180 Love & Friendship / Professor Carolyn Whitney-Brown 19/09/2013

The Convolution of Love “Is love a utopian dream or a possibility within our reach?” (Nouwen, 24). This essay will first, explore Henri Nouwen’s theory of reversibility or irreversibility of evil. Next, Nouwen’s perspective will be applied to the relationship between Louis and Janine and finally, this paper will examine the possibility of their capacity for love to change throughout the course of the book. Henri Nouwen composes a succinct vision of his reversibility or irreversibility of evil theory. There are two distinctive domains within, that of the “taking form of existence” and conversely, that of the “forgiving form of love”. The “taking form” is markedly comprised of the insidious need of destructive power over others and is enmeshed in a foundation of fear. One of the most prevalent forms of this destructive power is the use of an individual’s past which can become “the most lethal weapon in human relationships” spawning “shame, guilt, moral and even physical death” (Nouwen, 26). This hypothesis of irreversible evil is “definitive and unchangeable” and determines that all “mistakes are final and unforgiveable” which in turn, predestines us to the “impossibility of love” (Nouwen, 27). Conversely, the “forgiving form” embodies truthfulness, tenderness and a complete “disarmament” of self through “the confession of our total self to each other” (Nouwen, 29). Nouwen proposes that a revelation and manifestation of love is realized through total vulnerability and the “sharing of weakness” with one another. Only then can love be infinite and an “act of forgiving in which evil is converted to good” thereby inducing the “reversibility of evil” (Nouwen, 32).

From the onset, Louis makes it clear that he believes Janine to be a

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