Platechnological Affairs by Katia Elkaim


Juliette Greco left us at the age of 93, quietly and peacefully, perhaps eventually reunited with that passionate and forbidden lover she had met at the age of 22.

One can only hope that in this obviously marvelous place - since no one has ever come back from it - the social segregation has at last disappeared.

The blitz-love of this couple, neither of whom spoke each other's language, was probably not based on intellectual interaction, proof that body language is worth as much as all the others. The feeling in the pit of the stomach waiting for the loved one, the shiver in the touch of reunion, and finally the relief, definitely have no equivalent.

How many couples today are reduced to licking their screen out of frustration? Can we still talk about platonic love when love is impracticable?

Famous impossible romances were only impossible because most often, social conventions forbade them: Juliette Greco was white and French, while Miles Davies was black and the citizen of a post-war racist America. Gabrielle Russier was 32 years old when Christian Rossi was only 17 in May 1968, in Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron's France.

The concept of "impossible love" has always been associated with romanticism: Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard, and the most astounding of all, Solal and Ariane, of course. At the same time, the romance between Arletty and Hans-Jürgen Soehring, the Nazi officer, does not make one dream, as does that of James W. Whitehouse and Jane Watkins, who he met in prison when she was serving a life sentence for murdering Sharon Tate.

These unconsummated relationships are certainly not platonic ones because they are as far from the philosophy of Marsilius Ficinus as David Koresh is from Buddha. It is moreover rather pungent to see that this Florentine thinker of the XVIth century developed the notion of platonic love, a pure poetic feeling, sacred union of the minds far from the vulgar carnal love, and the Tarot of Marseille. One wonders if he was not in fact madly in love with a young maiden who refused him and consulted the oracles to find out when the situation was going to be solved.

Besides, these platonic affairs are badly named, because Plato himself believed that sexuality led to truth, and no one can complain about the truth, right?

This 21st century has seen the flowering of electronic lovemaking, allowing virtual lovers to reach that conjunction of spirits so dear to our Florentine friend. Moreover, the triviality of physical encounters has not been without ruining these soul mates a thousand times over, demonstrating, if if it needed to, that sometimes the best is the enemy of the good.

Today, with the closing of borders, love is platonic out of necessity. If sometimes frustration is sublimated, giving rise to a crisis-time correspondence, more often couples are simply showing off their best profile on video conferencing platforms whispering sweet words to each other, while sexting is going full speed ahead, a depressing substitute for this lost animality.

Provisional conclusion: love is ecological when consumed close to home, but sometimes one can't help yearning to travel and the acidic, bitter or sweet taste of a fruit from another part of somewhere, and there is nothing left to do but hope.

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