Making Love Visible
Question: What insights into love does “The Museum of Innocence” draw upon?
Orhan Pamuk: See the visible that I -- and make people identify with the lovers' point of view. That my aim in this novel was not to put love on a pedestal and say, what a sweet thing it is; what a great thing it is. On the other hand, I look at it as almost a bad thing -- or not bad thing -- something that happens to us, to all of us. Then let's try to analyze it, see through it, and see how human mind and hearts -- if you make a distinction between them -- reacts to life. My -- I can also simplify my point of view is that lots of things are operating in our minds, in our spirit, in our blood, so to speak, when we are in love. And one thing that is important is that one part of our mind is seeing things clearly, knows that we are in love, that what we are doing in fact will not serve our love, but it will be in fact not good for getting or impressing the beloved. But we do those things. And when we are in love -- and this is the essential point about my novel too -- that we do things; one part of our minds observes with a bit of sadness and melancholy, thinking that this will not make us happy. This is one thing. The second thing that I focus on in the novel is to see analytically all the things that lovers do; that is, waiting for the phone to ring, resentment and anger, jealousy, finding yourself stupid or over-anxiety, angers, expectations, and a lot of illusions, delusions, and how we cheat or how we misguide ourselves when we are in love. My character Kamal in “Museum of Innocence” thinks that actually he is going to win over his beloved in two weeks, at most in two months, while he spends eight years running after her.
Question: How is love connected to the objects of everyday life?
Orhan Pamuk: The book -- at one point in the book, when my character is infatuated by love and feels what we popularly call love pain, he realizes that objects, things that are associated with his beloved -- objects that they shared together in their happy times -- have the power of consoling him, perhaps because they bring back the memories, the joyful memories they shared together. This we all know, more or less, from Proust's Madeleine. Or I'll give you an example of a movie ticket. Let's imagine that we have found a movie ticket in an old jacket pocket. We have already forgotten that we've been to that movie; we don't even remember we've been seeing that. But as soon as we have the ticket, we begin thinking, well, not only that we've seen the movie, but we remember scenes from the movie, because we have an object associated with those sensations and memories. All objects have that power, and when my character is badly in love and is not happy with his unrequited love, he begins to collect, or gather around, the objects that he had shared with his beloved. Later, after some time, he makes a museum of these objects. And my novel is in a way an annotated museum catalog. If you put the objects together and tell the story of each object, we have a novel. That was more or less the idea, how I composed this book. Then I'm also doing that; I'm also doing the museum. Maybe I should talk about it later more when I -- my museum is also about objects that these lover share, but also it's a city museum because they share the culture of Istanbul between 1975 until the end of the 20th century. It has also qualities of a city museum.
When it comes to love, the human mind is often split between feelings of disappointment and ecstasy. But how does one communicate this? The Turkish novelist and Nobel laureate spent ten years trying.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
- British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.
- Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
- Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
- Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.