Worry and/as Love: From Francis O’Gorman’s Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History

Following on from a much earlier post on Rilke on love and solitude, I wanted to share a passage that struck me from the book I am currently reading, Francis O’Gorman’s Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History:

Love that works well, whatever else it is, requires some recognition of another’s difference, another’s (semi-) independent being. …  Worry, however, as I’m thinking about it here, is an easier kind of “love.” It’s easier than love. Worry substitutes that difficult recognition of another’s separateness with the demands of the self. Worry enables love to become, with sometimes horrible visibility, the extension of neediness. The worrier who mistakes worry for love is someone who, characteristically, frets about another’s safety, or health, or job security too much. The fretting is more conspicuous than anything. This is a familiar kind of familial love but it isn’t only familial. Here, worry’s no doubt born from a particularly intense breed of insecurity manifested in fearfulness about letting go; from a difficulty with recognizing dissimilarity; from a more general human problem about not knowing what to do with Someone Who is Not Me.

Francis O’Gorman, Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History, p 57

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