Even in an age of fermented food and flourishing microbiomes, when it comes to thinking about infection, our imaginations remain dominated by an old script of good versus evil: the pure self threatened by pathogenic others. But as Lafarge points out, microbial cells in our bodies equal or even outnumber those that are ‘human’, while ancient viruses are inscribed in our DNA. So-called human life simply would not exist if the world were divided into binaries of self and other, good and bad, sickness and health.
Lovebug is an essay about the poetics of infection, and about how we can learn to live with multispecies ambivalence. Turning to microbiology, literature, mysticism, and psychoanalysis, Lafarge explores the uncomfortable intimacy between the human body and the many bacteria, viruses, and parasites to which it is host. How might we forge non-phobic relationships to our ‘little others’? How might we rewild our imaginations?