“Jeg har ingenting, men jeg har alt når jeg har deg.”
Norwegian for: “I have nothing, but I have everything when I have you.”
Okay, so it’s hard to put an original spin on the question which has been asked so many times before. We all know what this is. It’s being transmuted from Hollywood to your living room every time you put in a home movie, or being perpetuated indirectly through your favorite science-fiction writer’s mind into the protagonist’s devotion and endearing commitment to his/her beloved significant other. And now, through the blissful music of the Trance God, himself, we get another installment. The message of love is phrased, appropriately enough, in what many of us would think to be a paradox; meaning, simply, that love cannot or should not be understood when we’re trying to make sense of how we fit into this puzzle.
And you might think that this is odd for me to say, seeing as I’m standing over it, as if it were a material issue, ready to analytically dissect it. I think that there is something to be said about how we can try to unravel the thread that seems to be knotting up around the entangled concepts of ‘nothing’ and ‘everything’. Of course, this may seem to already be a metaphysical triviality, which is empty of any coherence. But let me try to convince you otherwise.
The paradox in the song is reflecting on how love is able to make one, who otherwise feels empty, feel complete. Something is just cool about hearing that sung in Norwegian, if you ask me! I guess that’s the only way I could think of to try and express a flavor of this concept which is so universal and true, yet so beaten-to-death by our media, in the freshest possible way. But one way to look at the paradox is just to suggest that someone who falls in love with another is just transitioning from a state of inner psychological turmoil to a state of focused resolve and stability in being one’s partner. The nothingness that one feels, prior to falling in love, is not – as the cliche would have it – a product of being an incomplete self which seeks love to “conquer” the emptiness, but it is because of this imprecision with respect to one’s desires. To say that, after falling in love, one feels as though one has been “perfected” – or made everything – in relation to one’s significant other is just this: One’s desires take on a definite shape or form, because of there strangely being something independent of one’s own desiring which expresses a mutual feeling. This interrelating between independent sets of desires is the function of love. And it is surely profound, as it fastens these into a fixed position, justifying their existence and making a connection possible through this relationship which can foster their growth.
This is not to say that love should merely be thought of in terms of desire. I definitely would say that there is much more to be said, of course, and this ethical component is what I’d argue makes love the meaningful concept which it is. But my point is that the tension that makes for the paradox in the song, the disjunctive “one-way-or-the-otherness” of love when framed in the language of nothing or everything, is relaxed when thinking about a common thread of desire. The property which desire has, regarding its object, is identified and made concrete through what we call love. Of course there’s probably a general quote for this, too, that I could probably paraphrase and encapsulate all of this within; something like “love makes everything right.”
Yeah, I guess that works. I wasn’t intending to be original, just to speak to what I found to be an interesting paradox that we commonly gloss over, due to our culture’s habitual treatment of the idea of love.
Did I get it right? Or did I tie myself up a knot somewhere else that you think deserves its own explanation? Comment away!
I wish I knew more Norwegian, though. Beautiful language, I can’t even begin to describe it.