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It is a small leap from this to Denis de Rougemont’s argument, three hun- dred years later, that romantic love is an invention of Western cultural propaganda. 1 Why would we willingly plunge ourselves into a state of suffering with no apparent practical benefit? Barthes takes this a step further, anatomizing love as a series of symptoms and mind states like those of any sickness: it will pass if we allow ourselves to see it for the objective phenomenon that it is.