Thursday, January 7, 2021

15 - Love 1

All you need is LOVE     (1)

1.1 – Visual example of a kind of love in action

Actions of love (in a very wide sense) in everyday life: 

Oh, yeah Alright 
Here we go again 
Hey hey, whoa no, da na, hey hey, yeah 

Give a little bit 
Give a little bit of your love to me 
Give a little bit I'll give a little bit of my love to you 
There's so much that we need to share 
So send a smile and show you care 
(Alright) … 

2.1. – Two flashlights on love 

 Love is the endless cycle of pursuit, triumph 
and ennui (boredom). 
Camille Paglia 

Love is blind, but marriage restores its sight. 
G.C. Lichtenberg 

3.1 – One question 

 • How was your first experience of love? (outside of your family of origin!)

That’s it, the process of “falling in love” doesn’t care 
about the goals and plans you have or had for a 
perfect predictible and boring future: 
L'amour est enfant de Bohême 
Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi 
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime 
Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi !

Attention please: Biases of this blog post about "love": I write down my ideas (or delusions) about the love form which is still mainstream in Western Europe, although its hegemonic force of the past is withering away year by year.

- Romantic love western style (two souls meet forever).
- Marriage out of love and not chosen by the parents.
- Living as a nuclear family alone in a flat or house. 

4 – The use of the word “Love” in language games 

The word “love” in itself is just a four letter word and doesn’t mean anything if you don’t embody it, that means you have to act on it and you have to do something to or for somebody that shows you are with that person. Also you have to spend time, energy, emotions and money for the “object” you love, that means you have to care and share. It’s an easy task at the beginning, when you’re just blinded by the light of a fantasized perfect love, but over time it will become more difficult. Without any action from the person who says “I love you”, the sentence just remains a feel good phrase without any real meaning. 

People can practice loving kindness meditation for all the sentient beings in the Universe and still not being able to connect and live in peace with other people around them. 

So it seems that writing and talking about love is a lot easier than to relate and care for the people you live and work with. 

  •  I could do loving-kindness meditations for a thousand beings elsewhere but had terrible trouble relating intimately to one person here and now. I had used the strength of my mind in meditation to suppress painful feelings, and all too often I didn’t even recognize that I was angry, sad, grieving, or frustrated until a long time later. The roots of my unhappiness in relationships had not been examined. I had very few skills for dealing with my feelings or for engaging on an emotional level or for living wisely with my friends and loved ones. 
Jack Kornfield 
A Path With Heart 

 “Love” is – in general and in my very personal estimate – the most used word (as a verb and as a noun) in pop songs, publicity, movies, TV series, so called low and high literature, fairy tales, myths, spiritual sermons and plenty of other cultural artefacts. 

“Love” is the feel good word par excellence, and when hearing or reading it our brain releases dopamine, which makes us feel happy, but as a serious side effect it blocks out completely our so called rational thinking ability. For giving a real world example, when somebody writes a spam email and puts in the subject case: “I love you!”, everybody opens it, even when the senders name is Giga-Destroyer-Dracula-Virus, and your frantic click to open the imagined love letter liquidizes all your files and data on your computer. That’s the power of the sentence: “I love you”. By hearing or reading this short phrase people just become blind and deaf to any other message, their rational part of the brain (neo-cortex) switches into frozen dead mode where it works on an even lower level than the non-existing brain of a sea slug (Attention please: No shaming of sea slugs intended!). 

The exaggerated use of the word “love” tells us that this elusive and overused good feeling-word is on one side so important that nearly everybody at a certain age talks about it, and on the other side, that love is so multifaceted and fluid that its semantic extension is nearly infinite. Linguists call that characteristic “Polysemanticity”. 

 “Polysemanticity” is fancy tecno speak of saying that a word can mean a lot of “things” and its opposite too. That implies that whenever somebody uses this word all kinds of interpretations and misunderstandings may occur and every body and mind understands something different when refering to the same word: 

  • When writers were not vague, they tended to contradict each other, disputing even the basic nature of love. Was it an emotion, an attitude, a sentiment, a personality type, a neurotic manifestation, a way of looking at the world, a means of emotional manipulation, a sublime passion, a peak experience, a religion, a desire, a mental state, a perversion of thought, a prepossession, a biological urge, a type of mystical experience, a weakness of the will, an obsession, an aesthetic reaction, a sacred state, a universal thirst, a glimpse of heaven? All were suggested. 
Dorothy Tennov 
Love and Limerence 

The polysemanticity of love gets even more complicated when we consider that humans in their everyday language games may speak about something without having the slightest idea whether 
1 - they talk about some real existing facts (the least probable option), 
2 - they are just giving an unfounded opinion on something they heard or saw recently (to a certain degree a viable option), 
3 - they just want to gossip and/or get validation from you (the social soothing and bonding option = most likely), 
4 - they just want to impress you with their “knowledge”, (option most chosen for mate selection or alliance searching), 
5 - they are just hallucinating and expressing their delusional ideas without any kind of awareness (competing with number thre for the most likely option), 
6 - or they express just a wish or desire which they want desperately to be true, 
7 - they are giving an explicit or implicit order (also very common),
8 - they invent an excuse or promise on some kind of behaviour,
9 - they are just pretending to be right about something to keep or augment their status,
9 - Other forms of communication: ... 

 All these different tactics of persuasion in everyday language games, e.g. speaking of facts, stating a personal opinion, expressing a wish, giving an order, talking in your personal dilusional mode, etc., combined with the polysemanticity of love brings us to an end point, where a lot of different behaviors in the outside world will be labelled as “love”. 

 For example, from the flirtations of two young people who just met a short while ago up to a marriage which counts for over half a century of a shared life, to the attachment to your kids, parents, friends, and your craving for your favorite dish all these so different between them, but yet you will describe each and all with: “I love …!” 
  • Besides loving a spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend, people can love their children, parents, siblings, pets, country, or God, as well as rainbows, chocolate sundaes, or the Boston Red Sox. Although the English language has only one word to apply to each of these situations, there are clearly different meanings involved. 
U. Masters and V. Johnson

Here a song with part of the lyrics of how some men describe their life – from hindsight - before they had met the person who was going to rescue them from a life in modern wasteland: 

I was walking through the streets drenched in oblivion 
I went through the parks with ghosts and with fallen angels 
I was without light, I was without sun 
I was walking without a sense I was dying 
I was flying over the sea 
With broken wings 
Oh love, you appeared in my life 
And you healed my wounds 
Oh love, you are my moon, you are my sun 

5 - When do we need “love”?

In an average life (that’s a statistical construct) falling in love starts very early, your first love “object” is normally your mother and this relation will mark you for th e rest of your life (or at least that’s the theory of psychoanalysis and J. Bowlby with his "attachment theory". Years later others conceptualized the "bonding patterns" of human mammals to explain the inherent problems of long term relationships). 

You may or will fall in and out of love several times in your life, from your first kindergarten crush to your college dreams and further on, and all these attachment cravings should finish when your body-mind unit somehow fades away from the visible material world. 

Humans can't survive without “Love”, that means without the care by adults of their physical and psychological needs from the beginning of their earthly life. Without love, without care, the human life form would have perished from this planet a long time ago. 

 But then again, the several fallings in and out of love during your life will always produce pleasurable feelings at the beginning and pain when a love relationships ends, and in general it happens quite often that the feelings of pleasure and joy get completly drowned by the deep hurt and pain of the end. That means that the person you love and care for most, may be the person who will hurt you the most, intentionally or unintentionally. So the highest excitation may finish with the deepest emotional pain! 

Although “All you need is love” is a little bit exaggerated, since you need things to eat and to drink, and other things as well, it's true that human relationships are the most important "thing" for (nearly) all humans. Whatever you do in life, you do it for and because of other humans you love or respect!

  • Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children. It can be romantic, platonic, familial, fleeting, everlasting, conditional, unconditional, imbued with sorrow, stoked by sex, sullied by abuse, amplified by kindness, twisted by betrayal, deepened by time, darkened by difficulty, leavened by generosity, nourished by humor, and “loaded with promises and commitments” that we may or may not want to keep. 
Cheryl Strayed 
Tiny Beautiful Things 

6 – Evolutionary aspects 

Love in its initial stage gets two people completely excited about each other and after some time and when they are still in love they will create – not always but still quite often - another new mini-me which will get half the genes of the mother and the other half of the father. That’s nature’s way to get a different immune system for every new inhabitant of planet Earth. 

Neuroscientists say that falling and being in love releases dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin in your brain and other hormons in your body and this is why we feel excited, full of energy and our perception of life is great when we are in an ecstatic love state. When dopamine circulates in the brain, we (or our mind) focuse our attention exclusively on the one and only person we are in love with. 

Your thoughts are concentrated on one person, since Evolution wants you to keep focused on the second (or first?) most important aspect of life on earth: resproduction of the species. So in the beginning of love you only focus on your choosen love “object” and you shouldn’t care about other people, because the task of reproduction needs all your energy, time and economic resources. 

 “Falling in love” activates the reward system of the brain, via output of neurotranmitters like dopamine and serotonine with the result that the initial stage of falling in love is being similar to the high produced by some street drugs (with the difference that falling and staying in love gets more expensive over time!) 

The infatuation stage is characterized by an intensive craving to see or talk to the special one you are adoring, and the imperious need to be closer to him or her. As mentioned already, this attraction is driven by the output of your brain chemicals, which cause the feelings of longing to be together, and a general excitement. In this special stage of a more or less long process you feel like you've found your soul mate, the one and unique person in the whole universe (nearby provinces included) which was meant for you since the beginning of deep geological time of planet earth. 

  •  Caitlin felt the rush of love: joy, heart palpitations, constant fantasizing. 
  •  But that was all a reaction to her "brain on drugs", as Norma explained the behavior to students in her love lectures. "It's all your mind's trick to get you to have sex and make babies." When a person is attracted to someone, as the professor explained, his or her brain becomes flooded with a cocktail of chemicals - ... Serotonin, ...Norepinephrine, .... Dopamine, ... 
Erika Hayasaki 
The death class 

But evolution doesn’t want you to be excited (happy) all the ittime, it’s not good for your survival prospects, so the pleasurable and enjoyable state doesn’t last very long, and the elated and euphoric feelings wear off anywhere after a few minutes to a maximum of a few months or years. Psy writers on love agree (again more or less) that the duration of the infatuation stage is somewhere from four to eightteen months. After that dopamine and serotonin output diminishes and the oxytocin production in your brain should go up to keep the relationship alive. 

The peak moment of the romantic love delusion: Promising every- and anything to your love object. 

The world has so many regrets 
So many things we promise. 
Only one I'm made for 
I loved you, I love you and I will always love you 

Whatever you do, love is everywhere you look, 
In every corner of space, 
In the slightest dream where you linger, 
As if it were raining love, 

 Falling or being in love is an emotion which a lot of people have somewhere in their life, and it’s the start for each human mammal on the path to the reproduction of our species, so evolution made sure that falling in love is one of the most powerful emotional experiences that humans can experience naturally (naturally = without the help of outside the body produced chemical mood improvers). 

 As internal and external drugs do their work, their emotional and physical impact changes over time, because a process called “habituation” sets in, but humans think that this strong emotion will last forever and a day and they promise something which they can’t really keep, which is: I will always love you. 

Considering the divorce rates in Western Europe and the US I wouldn’t bet my savings, even less my future, on this promise. 

The promises a human mammal gives away when flooded by pleasure and love hormones, and the information a second-hand car dealer tells you about the conditon of the rusty 35 year old Pontiac or Fiat 127 in the backyard have about the same level of trustworthiness. 

Rule of thumb # 16:

As always: Buyer beware! 
That means: Buyer, be aware!! 

  In the game of seduction and love, saying to your new desired object “I always will love you” has in most cases a higher degree of reaching your goals than saying: “I probably love you now, but I’m not sure how I will feel tomorrow morning”. 

 Although the second sentence is true, because nobody really knows how s/he will feel tomorrow morning, but telling the “truth” is not always the best way to seduce or bond with another human mammal. 

And even when the bonding works well in the beginning, then another mortal enemy is coming around the corner, and slowly by slowly, without any violence or bad intentions, destabilizes and devalues your most precious moments:
  • When we have an experience – hearing a particular sonata, making love with a particular person, watching the sun set from a particular window of a particular room – on successive occasions, we quickly begin to adapt to it, and the experience yields less pleasure each time. Psychologists call this habituation, economists call it declining marginal utility, and the rest of us call it marriage. 
Daniel Gilbert 
Stumbling on Happiness 

7 - Love is useful for (some are the same as for limerence)
  • Falling in love. 
  • Getting drunk and excited with self-made drugs (neurotransmitters, endorphins). 
  • Seeing everthing through pink-coloured glasses. 
  • Misjudging tremendously (but only temporally) the importance of another person. 
  • Losing your job and your friends. 
  • Getting run over by a truck while crossing the street and thinking of you lover. 
  • Getting used to the charming parents of your lover and your future political family system. 
  • Starting a new life. 
  • Knowing how it hurts when love is gone and you’re on your own again. 
  • Getting attached to someone else. 
  • Founding a family. 
  • Getting divorced again and re-marry (another victory of hope against experience!) 
  • Taking care more of other people than of yourself. 
  • To create at least one mini-me for the continuation of the species of human mammals. 
  • Dreaming about things to come (which will never happen or in any case different as imagined). 
  • Make a somehow boring life somehow more complicated. 
  • Making you a more civilized person (applies only to male humans: in a love relation they start to take a shower once a year, brush their teeth once a month, etc.!) 
  • Others: … 

Before you fall in love and make your life more exciting and complex, here are two unsolicited advices of what to look for and what you can offer in the marketplace of love:

  •  Good looks are an increasingly important form of supremacy – the contemporary world is divided between the attractive and the unattractive as well as between the rich and the poor. 
Michael Foley 
Embracing the Ordinary

How to fall in and out of love in a second:
  • Are you not Miss Smith, daughter of the billionaire banker Smith? 
  • No, I'm not! 
  • Excuse me, for a moment I thought that I had fallen in love with you!
Groucho Marx

And when it's over, sometimes memories and regrets may haunt you, which is a perfect start to write poetry and songs:

Hello, it's me 
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet 
To go over everything 
They say that time's supposed to heal ya 
But I ain't done much healing 

Hello, can you hear me? 
I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be 
When we were younger and free 
I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet There's such a difference between us 
And a million miles

Comment: As already mentioned (I repeat myself!), it seems that Evolution has “made” us in a way that the feelings of pain are always stronger than the feelings of pleasure or joy, since pain indicates that something is wrong or dangerours for our survival, whereas a happy state just says that everything is ok and we don’t have to worry about anything (but only for a while!). So the pain of a broken love may hurt more and longer than the pleasures of love, which passed by like a lightning in the night, reminding you of how life can or could be and then again only for a short moment:

to speak once more
of love
that some may yet say:
It existed
it must exist

To speak once more
of the joy
of the hope of joy
that some may yet ask:
What was that?
When will it come again?

Erich Fried

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