Archive for August, 2012

The Evolutionary Reason, The Romantic Notion, And The Over Use Of That 4 Letter Word.

I recently read an article that explored that this very question. The author pointed out that we use that word to describe our affections towards everything from food to technological gadgets, to music, to TV reality shows. We pledge our undying love to a mate or a spouse for all eternity. (Which it turns out last on average about 5 yrs. in American perception.) So what is this “love” emotion and why do animals such as humans need to develop such a thing. Why is it so prized and necessary to be long lasting? What it means really depends on what perspective you are considering.

Defining Love Chemically?

“Love”, chemically speaking, is the induction of a higher than normal flood of a few defined neurochemicals such as dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, Oxytocin, and other I am sure. Some stimulus that has been identified as fulfilling a need in the past causes us to react. (I’ll Get back to this one) The idea is to give us a “high” that millions of poets, artist, and musicians have written about. This intoxication changes our behaviors and hesitations in a notable sense to those close to us. This is necessary to make us overcome our mistrust of strangers normally triggered by meeting them. That immediate “high” eventually wears and resolves into a more sustainable stimulus chemical response as this stranger becomes an important part of our environment. At that point, missing that object of our “love” is a trigger for less then comfortable chemical reactions. Depending on how close, we may even suffer withdraw.

Love Defined Romantically

We think of “Love” as blind siding us, coming from nowhere. While simply not true, again I will defer. It is this “thing” that makes us “want” to be near and do things for another person. It is magical what draws us to them. Creating pleasure and comfort for them bring the giver pleasure and comfort as well. Words are hard pressed to describe the euphoric feeling of being “in love”. Though many have tried, as I will. I am not a graphic artist, my art is in my writing, sometimes I wish I could paint a 1000 words. I have said in the past that if I could paint “Love” it would be two people standing in front of each other with their beating hearts in their hand, offering them as an exchange to each other while simultaneously saying, “I offer you the unique ability to hurt me. I have only your promise and my faith in you to protect me.” This is about as romantic of a picture as I could imagine. I think I take it from an old pick my parents had of Jesus that was one of those ones that moves as you moved your head. It showed a similar idea.
In a nut shell, “trust” is synonymous with love. And here is a little inside track guys. (come in close, I don’t want the ladies to hear this.) Get a chick to trust you, that you will be there for her, to protect her and provide for her, she will melt in your hands (so to speak). It doesn’t matter how much, or how endowed your tools are. The world will spin. In return, so will yours. Alright ladies you can come back.
Love in the romantic sense is a desire to be associated with another person in the entire community’s eyes. They know the person that “loves” you is one of your protectors and vice versa. That is the point of marriage.

Defining Love Psychologically

Love in the psychological sense is the placing of trust and security in another person (or object). This person or object has been identified as something you can turn your back on without fear of attack that will help promote your comfort necessity level. Our minds are forever trying to streamline the decisions between subconscious lessons learned and the conscious decision. The more a stimulus (sight, smell, taste, feel, sound, and thought) imitates something we have already deemed as “safe” and “desirable” the more are apt to feel affection for it.
The first thing we love is our mothers. Held in her arms supplying warmth, protection, and nutrients she is the first stimulus. Animals of all types know their mothers by sent dominantly. These things become the basis for all that we “love” in the psychological sense.. Next up should be a father providing very similar stimulus of warmth and protection. As you learn and develop, these two people provide the image of what love should look like. This is an affirmation of the Freud observation that we marry our parents. These things that we associate with providing care and protection become triggers for our system to supply the chemicals to produce the romantic feelings of “love”. That thought is what I was deferring to. If you love and respect parents who are intelligent, kind, and conscientious of their decisions, then you will look for those traits in a mate. If you hate your parents and you will choose a more rebellious approach. If your parents are aggressive, violent, short sighted, degenerates, then so it will be that you are attracted to such traits in a spouse. Dating somebody who isn’t of your like ilk is a source of much anxiety. That doesn’t matter how healthy, stable, and functional (good for you) the other person is.

A Systemic Look

Keeping in the spirit of this blog, our emotions work like a network router. When you first turn it on, it enters this “learning” state where it takes data in and stores it. It uses this data to later determine the shortest path to achieve its goal of delivering your favorite blog post. When it does its job completely, the receiving computer sends back an “ack” to say, “good job”. If a path goes down and becomes untrustworthy, a router throws out that option. There is a building process to reestablish a path’s trustworthiness. Some routers have an option that makes no sense. You can shut down all the ports. At which point the thing is nothing more than an expensive paper weight. So it is when we are first born, we are warmed, fed, and protected. We observe the stimulus associated with providing those needs. Chemical reactions are assigned to make us feel comfortable. Then in the future we perceive the same stimulus and immediately, without conscious though release those chemicals as motivation to continue to pursue said stimulus. Somebody who provides a steady stream of stimulus that causes out bodies to produce these good feeling get out “love”. If that love is violated there is a process that must transpire to reconnect that trust factor again. If parents falter in their responsibility to provide protection and care it can cause a person who has no basis to identify stimulus to trigger the trust and love emotions.

The Evolution Of Love.

So why did we humans develop this emotion of love? Restating my primary thesis, “we are born into this world needing the 3 basics. Nourishment, warmth, and protection.” Love was a very efficient way to form social connections that would more adequately supply these needs. We are designed to love from the moment we are born. Our senses take something in that provides one of these needs and we assimilate that to our subconscious so the next time we see it, we know to desire it. Not sure how to get it at first, but we will know we want it. So as we grew and became more complex creatures with more complex lives and emotions, so too did our understanding of how to process love became more complicated. In the prehistoric days, you provide food, make a fire, and are strong enough to protect a woman she loves you. If you look strong and healthy enough to help forage, hunt, and bear children, you too were “loved”. As the techniques and meanings of providing and care moved into working land, to bringing home a paycheck, the things that defined these needs become less direct, obvious, and therefor conscious. Now, much of what attracts us to a mate are based on calculations based way down in the subconscious. The family love each other and depend on each other to become a stronger unit. Our love of “things” possessions has always existed. There are things like a spear, a flint rock, or a cave that we have loved.

Who (And What) Do You Love And Why?

Now snap forward to a Materialistic world with both parents working, divorce rates and split homes as the norm for about 70% of all children at some point in their lives. We no longer find we can trust other people to supply “food, clothing, and shelter”. “My parents got divorced, cheated, lied and contradicted each other, my spouse will do the same one day.” “My friends and schools and clicks have changed so many times growing up, why trust anybody but myself?” In inanimate objects we can “trust” to provide our securities. That food will provide nutritional security. Those sounds help me drown out physical threats. Money can buy all kinds of security. Clothing can provide warmth, social status, protection, or just remind us of some other person who provided some influence. We all long to belong, but now at an arms distance. So we associate with things that can’t leave us. Sports teams, patriotism, military services, political parties, religions, and so on. They provide this distant sense of need to belong to a community though we have long forgotten why that need exists in the first place. Believe me. Being a Cleveland Browns fan provides absolutely no security. We spend a lot of time “lusting” after things that we believe will provide us with more stability and protection. Cars, electronics, and houses we think will gain us security.
As a result of this disconnected constantly changing way of life, We have lost the ability to “love” each other. We have exchanged our “communities” of the tribal nature for close quarter, independent living where nobody knows their neighbors. When somebody says “I love snoggie (?)” What they mean is that that character behaves in a way that the person saying it identifies as agreeable to their philosophy. When they say they “love (my) I-Phone”, it means that tool makes it easier for them to get food, protection, or warmth. Some algorithm deep in their subconscious has worked out that this advances their goal of acquiring their needs.

Yes we do use that word too much. But like many other issues, it is a symptom of our dysfunctional culture/ society, and not something you can treat. It is a sign that we are pulling apart and becoming disconnected. There are all kinds of ill effects from that emerging reality. When I hear somebody say, “Love that burger” and then say they love me.. I feel like a piece of meat, or no better than.