On Flirtation

Adam Phillipsethical awarenessOn FlirtationTorontoTrinity Bellwoods Park

**On Flirtation by Adam Phillips**

The fascination of what is unconvincing.
States of conviction conceal the sense in which we are continually making our mind up.
Flirtation: the calculated production of uncertainty.
Flirtation is a form of skepticism.
People who are good at waiting may have nothing better to do.
No loss, no morality.
Definitions are sustained by exclusions.
An adult is always a child who has failed.
A repertoire rather than a fate.
There is a history that our competence conceals.
Accidents are reminders that we are living too few of our lives.
Whatever is turned away from is marked as a danger to be faced or a loss to be mourned.
Judgment is fundamentally a question of whether something is edible.
Repression (and all defense mechanisms) are ways of retaining things by getting rid of them.
The past, ghost-written as desire, is driving us into the future.
Memories becomes forms of forgetting.
The past is in the remaking.
One only repeats the unrepeatable.
Repetition is forgetting in its most spellbinding form.
Transference – this unwitting repetition of early relationships – reveals the way one is continually inventing and reinventing the people one is talking to.
Did I dream that right?
Some people would never have fallen in love if they had never heard of love. (La Rochefoucauld)
One’s history never begins with oneself.
Fantasies are reliable because they can’t be achieved.
We police ourselves with purposes.
I choose objects to speak the secret language of myself.
Reading a book is a later version of feeding from the mother.
Ambition is a blackmail of distraction from the actual disorder of experience.
John Lennon’s life would not have been better if his parents had never separated because it wouldn’t have been his life.
Devotion is always a parody of its object.
What one is loved for in a family becomes a fate.
Only mediocrities develop.
Our most intense erotic attachments are to our categories.
We hold ourselves together by keeping things apart.
What I really am is what I am unable to imitate.
The escape from freedom.
Intellectuals are rarely impressed by people who are happy.
What is unthinkable turns to the body for expression.
Theory: where the tame things are.
How can we return to the future?
Even our most concerted projects are forms of sleep walking.
The pleasures and freedoms of misunderstanding.
We are not humiliated by our acts but our ideals.
One way we can get to know people is by betraying them.
We can suffer most as adults from not being able to let others down.
The real problem of adolescence is that most people can’t sustain it.
A poet’s words and rhythms are not her utterances so much as her resistance.
One of the most widespread diseases is diagnosis.
And so on (and off).