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Thread: What is Love?

  1. #1 What is Love? 
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    Is love nothing more than a biochemical reaction deisgned to make sure our genes get passed on? Or do you think there is something more?


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  3. #2  
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    On one level, everything is "to make sure our genes get passed on". Rhetorically: What is a ham sandwich?

    Subjectively, love is irrational.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    The short answer is yes; the long answer is that love may have started as a way to reinforce pair bonding but, like most human emotions, manifests as a complex interaction of many different influences and motivations.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  5. #4  
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    so do scientist know the exact process that goes on in our brains to create the emotion of love? or is it still elusive?

    Subjectively, love is irrational.
    Heh, heh, i believe i smell a reminiscent story.................would you care to elaborate maybe?

    -rolls eyes at self- my premonitions are almost always wrong.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by tritai
    so do scientist know the exact process that goes on in our brains to create the emotion of love? or is it still elusive?
    The raw emotion "love" is just a cocktail... I mean, you could inject it just like you could take a pill to make you depressed, or apprehensive, etc. But just what triggers us to manufacture this naturally, and how it affects our thoughts, is as complicated as the racing mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by tritai
    Subjectively, love is irrational.
    Heh, heh, i believe i smell a reminiscent story.................would you care to elaborate maybe?

    -rolls eyes at self- my premonitions are almost always wrong.
    Nah, it's a philosophical problem: Since love is good, and irrational, it fizzles under rational argument, leaving no good. Leaving just utility. Yet a really clever person would arrive through cold calculation to the same behavior gushy love urges anyway. Neurons (thoughts) vs. chemistry (emotion). We observe them in harmony, so which leads which? I would say that thinking love (a purely rational, neural arrangement) even if one can coax some feeling out of it, is not the real deal - rather, love is thoughts enthralled to chemistry. So, love is irrational.

    Most of the time we can pretend to ourselves our love "makes sense". But truly falling in love, one knows it ain't so, and doesn't care.
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    Pong, at their basis, cells are chemistry. Everything that you "feel" is done through your brain, through your neurons. Your beating heart and your sweating palms and the butterflies in your stomach - all mental in their origin, all triggered by the specific movements of specific nuerotransmitters through the networks of neural cells. You cannot separate "thought" from "chemistry." They are one and the same.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Pong, at their basis, cells are chemistry. Everything that you "feel" is done through your brain, through your neurons. Your beating heart and your sweating palms and the butterflies in your stomach - all mental in their origin, all triggered by the specific movements of specific nuerotransmitters through the networks of neural cells. You cannot separate "thought" from "chemistry." They are one and the same.
    Maybe I disagree. I reckon an essential distinction between neural structure, and neurotransmitter. 11 + 11 = 22 whichever neurotransmitters are in play, because it's structural. I consider that "pure thought". What I called "chemistry" is shorthand for distributed neurotransmitters and.... um, chocolate. Nonstructural. That's synonymous with emotion or feeling. I don't deny fluctuating chemicals play a crucial role since we have parallel structures keyed to different sets of transmitters.

    I do know that ultimately "everything's just chemicals" but I think you'd know what I mean by "brain chemistry". When I said "love is thoughts enthralled to chemistry" I meant, for sad example, talking to the dog after drinking a bottle of wine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Pong, at their basis, cells are chemistry. Everything that you "feel" is done through your brain, through your neurons. Your beating heart and your sweating palms and the butterflies in your stomach - all mental in their origin, all triggered by the specific movements of specific nuerotransmitters through the networks of neural cells. You cannot separate "thought" from "chemistry." They are one and the same.
    Maybe I disagree. I reckon an essential distinction between neural structure, and neurotransmitter. 11 + 11 = 22 whichever neurotransmitters are in play, because it's structural. I consider that "pure thought". What I called "chemistry" is shorthand for distributed neurotransmitters and.... um, chocolate. Nonstructural. That's synonymous with emotion or feeling. I don't deny fluctuating chemicals play a crucial role since we have parallel structures keyed to different sets of transmitters.

    I do know that ultimately "everything's just chemicals" but I think you'd know what I mean by "brain chemistry". When I said "love is thoughts enthralled to chemistry" I meant, for sad example, talking to the dog after drinking a bottle of wine.
    And yet, a neuron without neurotransmitters is just a cell sitting by itself among millions of others, with no way of communicating with them. I will grant that some areas of the brain may be more dedicated to conscious thought and other areas may be more dedicated to emotion, but their structure and mechanisms are the same, and at this point who knows how interconnected and/or separated these functions are from each other.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    And yet, a neuron without neurotransmitters is just a cell sitting by itself among millions of others, with no way of communicating with them.
    I'm unsure what your point is. Technically, that's true, in the same way a transistor has no way of communicating to other transistors, without voltage. Still, it's the structure - the neuron's particular branched connections to other neurons - whether idle or active that embodies content. A particular voltage or AC frequency powering a complex circuit, not really. A calculator's still a calculator when you turn it off.

    I hope you're not suggesting neurotransmitters do any thinking in their own right.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    I will grant that some areas of the brain may be more dedicated to conscious thought and other areas may be more dedicated to emotion, but their structure and mechanisms are the same, and at this point who knows how interconnected and/or separated these functions are from each other.
    Here's an analogy to thought and emotion, as I see it: Suppose you keep a cryptic journal, written with a rainbow of inks. Anybody just looking on it under full lighting sees many coloured words overwritten and jumbled such that any one word is hard to make out, and reading an apparent sentence, left to right and word by word, yields nonsense combinations. Your cipher of course, is selectively tinted glasses. One day you might feel like blue tint, so then you write, wherever you see blank space with those particular glasses, using any pen whose ink is visible to you through those glasses. Maybe on bad days you use red, and so forth. It turns out that by employing this system you can cram a lot more content into one page. Now suppose your weak eyesight requires reading glasses, and you only have tints to choose from, no "clear", in other words you can't read or write your own journal without some filtering.

    The filtering is the neurotransmitters. The words though - the actual content - are the neural structures.

    I think that if one sees brain as keyed overlays, as opposed to discrete functional areas, a lot falls into place. I'm not denying some areas specialize, though. It best explains how cognition and emotion relate. I can't accept that people have, like, happy corner in their brains, from which their happy thoughts stretch out to connect truths shared with sad corner, and so forth.

    Another filter we employ to differentiate or activate specific ...overlays... is frequency - the "brain wave". But I imagine this is more sophisticated than a simple system-wide clock tick.
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    I think the way brain chemistry effectively can be thought of as the origin of emotions is that those very structures that hold the associative recordings of your life was necessarily directed by the brain chemistry in the first place. A brand new computer as an analogy means nothing on its own. Only once you power it on and start pumping it full of data and programs can it perform a function.

    Similarly, the neurons on their own mean little. They have some pre-existing programs in them (DNA), but these can only function, and indeed is defined by, the chemical reactions it produces. In fact, from the very start of their evolutionary path their development was steered by chemistry affected by the environment in a myriad of ways.

    I suppose one could argue that stored information might be structural (not sure if they know yet), but then one could argue further that those structures are ultimately chemical in nature themselves.

    IMHO
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I suppose one could argue that stored information might be structural (not sure if they know yet)
    It is, we know.

    The Western trend in brain surgery puts patients under general anesthetic now, but there's a lot of information from the historic practice of having patients fully conscious and engaged in conversation while under the knife. We'd touch a bit of tissue with electrical probe before cutting, checking for bad cognitive effect. If so, try another spot. By blind luck we were able to conjure particulars.

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    but then one could argue further that those structures are ultimately chemical in nature themselves.
    Like a ham sandwich is ultimately chemical. :? Actually I seem to recall reading something about quantum theory and odds of a synaptic transmission taking place, or not, or maybe...
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    Love is an illusion brought on by our body to encourage mating, in my opinion.
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    Applying for a Job at the CIA

    A few months ago, there was an opening with the CIA for an assassin. These highly classified positions are hard to fill, and there's a lot of testing and background checks involved before you can even be considered for the position. After sending some applicants through the background checks, training and testing, they narrowed the possible choices down to two men and a woman, but only one position was available.

    The day came for the final test to see which peson would get the extremely secretive job. The CIA men administering the test took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow our instructions whatever the circumstances," they explained. "Inside this room, you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her." The man looked horrified and said, "You can't be serious! I could never shoot my wife!" "Well," said the CIA man, "you're definitely not the right man for this job then."

    So they brought the second man to the same door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances," they explained to the second man. "Inside you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her." The second man looked a bit shocked, but nevertheless took the gun and went in the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes; then the door opened. The man came out of the room with tears in his eyes. "I tried to shoot her; I just couldn't pull the trigger and shoot my wife. I guess I'm not the right man for the job."

    "No," the CIA man replied, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go home."

    Now they only had the woman left to test. They led her to the same door to the same room and handed her the same gun. "We must be sure that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances; this is your final test. Inside you will find your husband sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill him." The woman took the gun and opened the door. Before the door even closed all the way, the CIA men heard the gun start firing, one shot after another for 13 shots. Then all hell broke loose in the room. They heard screaming, rashing, and banging on the walls. This went on for several minutes; then all went quiet.

    The door opened slowly, and there stood the woman. She wiped the sweat from her brow and said, "You guys didn't tell me the gun was loaded with blanks. I had to beat the son of a **** to death with the chair!"
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    I wonder if the above shows true love.

    Hmmm............. :-D :-D
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  16. #15 Evolution of Emotion 
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    This had been breathtakingly intellectual until your joke. If you're going to say something that isn't funny, at least have it not take so long to read. : )

    Love does not make sense as something evolved to the purpose of continuing genetics or mating:
    1. Love nearly always tends to commit individuals to bearing children with only 1 other individual in their lifetime, thus decreasing differentiation and hybridization.
    2. No other animal exhibits love, nor had humans before Neanderthals, and yet none have had enough difficulty in 'continuing their genetics' to establish the apparent need for such an emotion, including humans.
    Emotions evolve exactly how instincts do. Only, due to a larger brain size permitting more information networking, they are more complicated. Instincts can be compared physiologically to a top-down computer programing script, while emotion would be like a source engine. Like a genus of moth that could not efficiently build a cocoon would die and no longer be seen; so would a clan of hunter gatherers who did not hunt as a group of kill for protection. The reason that things like camaraderie, selflessness, and loyalty exist with humans and not with wolf packs is simply brain size. Within that, I don't know enough about hormonal reactions or neural structure to contribute to that discussion.

    Emotion still exists because it motivates action beyond that of baseline survival, in a society where sociological advancement has replaced sharp claws in terms of what makes an individual successful.
    Humanity cheats Natural Selection because its inferiors are allowed to continue to exist. Inevitably, there will be no way to escape obesity, diabetes, stupidity, and hair loss. Do me a favor by killing yourself and your family.
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    This had been breathtakingly intellectual until your joke. If you're going to say something that isn't funny, at least have it not take so long to read. : )

    Love does not make sense as something evolved to the purpose of continuing genetics or mating:
    1. Love nearly always tends to commit individuals to bearing children with only 1 other individual in their lifetime, thus decreasing differentiation and hybridization.
    2. No other animal exhibits love, nor had humans before Neanderthals, and yet none have had enough difficulty in 'continuing their genetics' to establish the apparent need for such an emotion, including humans.
    Emotions evolve exactly how instincts do. Only, due to a larger brain size permitting more information networking, they are more complicated. Instincts can be compared physiologically to a top-down computer programing script, while emotion would be like a source engine. Like a genus of moth that could not efficiently build a cocoon would die and no longer be seen; so would a clan of hunter gatherers who did not hunt as a group of kill for protection. The reason that things like camaraderie, selflessness, and loyalty exist with humans and not with wolf packs is simply brain size. Within that, I don't know enough about hormonal reactions or neural structure to contribute to that discussion.

    Emotion still exists because it motivates action beyond that of baseline survival, in a society where sociological advancement has replaced sharp claws in terms of what makes an individual successful.
    I agree that trying to rationally describe love using genetics is impossible considering it is an irrational process.

    we finally have an Intelligent and judging by the picture attractive woman on the forum
    i think i'm in love =)
    everything is mathematical.
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  18. #17 Re: Evolution of Emotion 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical Seductress

    Love does not make sense as something evolved to the purpose of continuing genetics or mating:
    1. Love nearly always tends to commit individuals to bearing children with only 1 other individual in their lifetime, thus decreasing differentiation and hybridization.
    Everything has it's costs and benefits. You may decrease genetic variability, but if you instead choose to devote large amounts of time and energy to each single offspring you have, they will be of that much higher quality, with that much higher chance of surviving to reproduce on their own. It's a trade off.

    This is why we see the evolution of the pair-bond - when it takes the concerted efforts of both parents in order to successfully raise offspring to maturity. Many birds pair bond as well, some of them for life, as bird hatchlings are very helpless when they're first born and have to be fed by both parents until they are fledged. If you love your mate, you are more motivated to stay with that mate and help her/him raise your offspring.

    2. No other animal exhibits love, nor had humans before Neanderthals, and yet none have had enough difficulty in 'continuing their genetics' to establish the apparent need for such an emotion, including humans.
    That depends on how you define love. Between non-related adult individuals of opposing sexes, I call pair-bonding love.

    Emotions evolve exactly how instincts do. Only, due to a larger brain size permitting more information networking, they are more complicated. Instincts can be compared physiologically to a top-down computer programing script, while emotion would be like a source engine. Like a genus of moth that could not efficiently build a cocoon would die and no longer be seen; so would a clan of hunter gatherers who did not hunt as a group of kill for protection. The reason that things like camaraderie, selflessness, and loyalty exist with humans and not with wolf packs is simply brain size. Within that, I don't know enough about hormonal reactions or neural structure to contribute to that discussion.
    Again, that depends on how you define comraderie, selflessness, and loyalty. From where I stand, I can see all of these things in other animals, with the only conceivable difference between them and us being a matter of degree. I don't know enough about computers to follow your analogies, but emotions are nothing but motivators, your genes' way of pushing towards certain, more adaptive behaviors. If you love your spouse, you are motivated to stay with them and cooperate in raising a family. If you hate people who are not members of your hunter-gatherer group, you will be motivated to fight and possibly kill your competitors for the limited resources available.

    Emotion still exists because it motivates action beyond that of baseline survival, in a society where sociological advancement has replaced sharp claws in terms of what makes an individual successful.
    Social success is important in MANY animal species. Baseline survival is never the ultimate goal of a species - reproduction is. Survival only does you any good if you can continue to successfully reproduce.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    >>....only 1 other individual in their lifetime...

    Not in their lifetime - in a six or seven year period - the time it takes a child to become mostly self-sufficient, in a tribal hunter-gather environment. The "seven year itch" is a real thing, and has evolutionary origins.


    I'm just saying, no, human mating "for life" is a recent cultural construct, not a biologically determined one.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexer
    >>....only 1 other individual in their lifetime...

    Not in their lifetime - in a six or seven year period - the time it takes a child to become mostly self-sufficient, in a tribal hunter-gather environment. The "seven year itch" is a real thing, and has evolutionary origins.


    I'm just saying, no, human mating "for life" is a recent cultural construct, not a biologically determined one.
    I'm sorry Vexer, but a seven year old child is not self sufficient in a hunter-gatherer society! Detailed caloric studies have shown that children in many hunter-gatherer societies do not produce as much food as they consume until they are around the age of 18. And nor will hunter-gatherer women wait to have another child until their first one is completely sufficient - thanks to the help provided by their mates, they can have several dependent offspring at once, but that does mean that it will be some time before all the children from that marriage are completely independent. Many such cultures have marriages that last for most of their reproductive lives.

    However, many of these cultures, like the !Kung, are also not very strict about extra marital affairs, and some cultures, like the Ache, allow frequent divorce and remarriage. So the strict idea of mating for life is, as you say Vexer, probably a more recent cultural construct, but not because of the independency of children.

    But then again, are modern marriages so sacrosanct? The rate of divorce has been increasing steadily for a long time. I don't think mating "for life" is necessarily so prevalent in modern humans either, probably no more so than it is in many hunter-gatherer societies.

    But, extended investment in offspring, especially compared to other animals, is the same for all human cultures. And, in fact, parents in modern western cultures invest even more for even longer in their children - just think of college and graduate school. Remember, it's a trade off between quantity and quality. If you have to put that much effort into each offspring, can most people afford to have six or seven children?
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  21. #20 Re: Evolution of Emotion 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical Seductress
    Love nearly always tends to commit individuals to bearing children with only 1 other individual...
    Here you mean romantic love AKA mating. But love knows other objects. There is stronger love between parent and child. Stronger too, if you can call it love, in the bee for her queen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical Seductress
    No other animal exhibits love
    I think you mean no other animal exibits the cultural trappings of human romance. :?

    If you mean no other animal loves its mate, consider the ardently monogamous prairie voles. They huddle up in lifelong pairs. They invest disgusting amounts of time and energy copulating and basically making out, on and on, to keep each others' hormonal levels on a plateau of intoxicated addiction. The bonded pair just keep re-pairing as long as they live, to maintain that plateau. Separate them, they grow ill. This so mirrors and even surpasses the human experience, you'd have to call it love unless forbade by human exceptionalism.

    If you mean no other animal loves selflessly, for the sake of love, consider dogs. I don't even like dogs, and I can't help notice.
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  22. #21  
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    1. If you want to see something absolutely hilarious, and epically sad, go to one of the topics in the Religion forum, and compare the ideas discussed here to what is taken seriously there.

    2. You are right that offspring quality corresponds to survival. Also a good thing brought up was the parent-child, as an early interpersonal relationship, is another reason why things like love developed to begin with. Survival, however, and 'passing on genetics' are different things. I was addressing the bogus statements about love mysteriously increasing genetic variability and promoting the bearing of children. Though perhaps partially correct in abstract ways, that is a one-dimensional cop-out of an answer.

    3. Bee loving a Queen? Get real. Workers don't even know the queen exists. It is also questionable to compare "monogamous sexual relationships" in animals to "love," and then, especially, to "child bearing and quality." I don't think anyone did this, but I see it coming. There are plenty of animals that breed with one mate and then abandon their 3-4 offspring the same way spiders abandon their thousands. Furthermore, there are plenty who mate with many, and then raise their offspring closely. Obviously that increases "quality" and that offspring's chance of survival, but how much "quality" does a lion or crow need to survive? You would have to look at each genus' history in order for that NOT to be a logical fallacy.

    4. Animals and Love / philosophy.
    It is also one-dimensional to confine 'love' to a purely evolutionary definition. There is one condition that allows for every aspect of human Virtue, and that is choice. You cannot call someone a 'good' person who does not choose to do righteous things. Doing them blindly, much the way an animal follows an instinct, is nothing more than following a set protocol of programmed, top-down processing. I like to call such people "Christians." Hence, you cannot call a wolf 'evil' because it slaughters sheep, and you cannot call a prairie vole 'loving' because it follows a pair-bond.

    5. I'll be away for a couple weeks, but I'll come back-
    Humanity cheats Natural Selection because its inferiors are allowed to continue to exist. Inevitably, there will be no way to escape obesity, diabetes, stupidity, and hair loss. Do me a favor by killing yourself and your family.
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    I find your references to "a one-dimensional cop-out of an answer" interesting. Certainly the evolutionary definition of love (which itself is still an issue of contention, and most likely will be until we have a more detailed understanding the neurochemical processes that underly this emotion) is only one viewpoint of many that a person could choose to refer to when trying to understand the nature of love. But it is the scientific viewpoint and we are, after all, at a science forum. It is the preferred "dimension" of discussion here, except perhaps in the Religion and Philosophy subforums. So please don't accuse us of giving "cop-out" answers simply because we do not dwell on every possible viewpoint.



    Re point 2 and 3: I think you are the one who is committing a fallacy here. No one is saying that pair bonding is absolutely the best way to ensure offspring success out of all possible reproductive behaviors. Consider:

    There is a rather large difference between the way a spider reproduces and the way, let's say, emperor penguins reproduce. A female spider mates, lays her thousands of eggs, and leaves them to their own devices, offsetting their helplessness by their sheer number and the likelihood that at least a few of them ought to survive to reproductive age. Emperor penguins form pair bonds for one year only, and abandon their single chick after that year to its own devices.

    However, that one chick has a far higher chance of surviving to reproductive age than do any single one of the spider's offspring - yet, the net total reproductive success for a female penguin is probably not that much higher or lower than that of the female spider. It's simply a representation of two alternative methods of reaching the same goal, and which method is used depends on a combination of chance and the constraints of the environment. Neither one is absolutely better than the other.

    The same goes for animals who invest a great deal in their offspring yet do not pair bond, compared to animals who invest AND pair bond. No one is saying one way is absolutely better than the other, only that given certain environmental conditions and certain evolutionary histories, the formation of pair bonds can potentially be adaptive, and the reason why they are adaptive in those cases largely has to do with the effect on offspring investment by both parents.



    Re point 4: You are making some very clear statements about choice, here. You are saying that ONLY humans make choices and that they are NOT ruled by their instincts, while animals ONLY follow instincts and NEVER make choices. I could almost call this a "one-dimensional" view point.

    I will agree that humans are probably much more enabled to make conscious choices about their behavior than most other animals, but I would not draw so clear a line as you do. Ever since I've gotten into the field of behavioral ecology, the more I've learned about human behavior the more I see that we are influenced in many ways by our genes and instincts, and probably to a much greater degree than most people would want to believe. And the more I've learned about animal behavior, the more I see that many animals must make complicated decisions throughout their lives on the path towards reproductive success, and I find it hard to believe that they do it so automatically as many people would want to believe. There is a gradient, to be sure, but the dividing line is blurry and may not actually exist.



    And on a final note, let's just think about that bee and her queen for a minute. Queens in most eusocial insects have guards. Now, for those guards to do their job right, they have to know that there is this one individual whom they need to follow and protect. They have to know she exists, in other words. They might not know WHY she is important, but they know she is. And they have to be aware of when she might be in danger, so that they can react appropriately. And finally, they have to be motivated to fight to the death to protect when she is in danger. Now I won't try to say that bees experience emotion in the same way humans do - but certainly some form of the feelings of love and loyalty for the queen would serve the adaptive purpose of getting those guards to protect her.

    Is that what happens? At this point, science doesn't know. Like I said, greater insights into neuroscience will probably be required before we can formulate an answer. But at this point I'm not willing to rule it out.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  24. #23  
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    1. I don't believe that I used or implied any absolutes.

    2. Choice with regard to virtue, not logic.

    Can you teach me about how the brain functions; as in, how chemicals produce thought and memory?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical Seductress
    1. I don't believe that I used or implied any absolutes.

    2. Choice with regard to virtue, not logic.

    Can you teach me about how the brain functions; as in, how chemicals produce thought and memory?
    In a nutshell? - no; not on a forum.

    Although I would quantify love as being a necessary emotion for the survival of the human species during its very early days; when death and danger lurked around every corner (the stone age). I'll give you a quick example of why i think thats the case:

    1) A man and a woman would happily die to save their child. (This ensures survival of the next generation)

    2) A man would happily die to save his woman (Exactly the same - she is the child bearer and can live on to give birth to other children in the event of his death - with another man; sure this fact isnt going to be at the forefront of our minds but it may take seat in a mammalian brain system)

    3) Love could also be a very selfish trait - you love something that is kind towards you and makes you feel good; therefore you want to hold on to it, you weigh up the pros and cons of self-sacrifice (sub-conciously) and once you come to realise that the cons of a bit of self-sacrifice (spending money to buy presents for example) are less than the cons of loosing that person who "makes you feel good" then a little self-sacrifice is inevitable.
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical Seductress
    1. I don't believe that I used or implied any absolutes.
    My apologies if you feel I skewed your words, but be reasonable:

    "that is a one-dimensional cop-out of an answer."
    "Bee loving a Queen? Get real. Workers don't even know the queen exists."
    "You would have to look at each genus' history in order for that NOT to be a logical fallacy. "
    "Doing them blindly, much the way an animal follows an instinct, is nothing more than following a set protocol of programmed, top-down processing."

    These statements sound fairly absolute to me. Now if you still maintain that they are not, then again you have my apologies, and I'll keep in mind that to you these are not absolute sentiments.

    2. Choice with regard to virtue, not logic.
    I'm not sure how this relates to my response to your comments on choice. All I was trying to say is that your distinction that the fact humans are the only beings that can make choices allows them to be the only beings that can be truly virtuous is debatable. From what I know of animal behavior I think some non-human animals can, at times, make choices. And from what I know of human behavior I think that many humans, at times, act much more on genetically-influenced instinct than they do on conscious choice.

    Let's take an example of virtuous behavior: You choose to help your friend do his homework. In your conscious mind you're doing it because he is your friend and it makes you happy just to be able to help him. In your conscious mind you're not expecting anything in return.

    But I could argue that throughout the history of human evolution, we evolved extremely high degrees of cooperation with other members of our groups, so that we could work as cohesive units and out-compete other groups. In order to motivate us to maintain this beneficial behavior, we evolved genes that led us to desire to cooperate with and help members of our group, genes that make us feel happy doing these things. This accomplishes the goal of making us more cohesive and working better together.

    I could argue that you didn't make that choice. I could argue that you were only doing what our species has evolved to do, and thus, by your definition, you are not being truly virtuous.

    Scientifically speaking, I'm not sure where we stand on this subject, and exactly what degree of choice humans really do have over their genetic influences. You could be right, and humans could be the only animals who make true choices - but we don't know that yet, and I think it will be a while before we do.

    Can you teach me about how the brain functions; as in, how chemicals produce thought and memory?
    My understanding of neuroscience at this point is fairly basic, but even so it would be an awful lot to write it all out in a forum post, lol. If you really want to learn I think a good place to start is here:

    http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/web/course...nitiveSciences

    MIT posts online material from its courses for free, in an initiative to let anyone have some access to high level education whenever they want. I hope to go through a lot of these myself when I have some free time, because this is a subject I'd like to learn a lot more about as well.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  27. #26 Re: What is Love? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by tritai
    Is love nothing more than a biochemical reaction
    After sex with a psychiatry student, to paraphrase: "Let's imprint each others faces for a while."

    Bonding. That's how it works. One may be conscious of it, honest and lucid. Heck, a heroin addict may be conscious of addiction, honest and lucid. It works just the same. Maybe better in a way. "Nothing more than a biochemical reaction" does not seem so weak when one is the biochemical reaction. I mean, understanding that one's blood is low in iron does not diminish craving a steak in any way, rather enhances it!
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    Paralith,

    “but a seven year old child is not self sufficient in a hunter-gatherer society!”

    Self-sufficient enough that it will not slow the tribe down. Is all that’s required. I think my point stands.
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexer
    Paralith,

    “but a seven year old child is not self sufficient in a hunter-gatherer society!”

    Self-sufficient enough that it will not slow the tribe down. Is all that’s required. I think my point stands.
    But without continued support from that child's parents it stands little chance of becoming a functioning member of its group and successfully reproducing. And if you're going to talk about evolutionary origins, which you did in the original post that I responded to, that is what is required. No less.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Paralith


    Ok, let’s:


    Detailed caloric studies have shown that children in many hunter-gatherer societies do not produce as much food as they consume until they are around the age of 18.

    I don’t believe this.


    And nor will hunter-gatherer women wait to have another child until their first one is completely sufficient –

    I’m saying they will wait (by their various means) until the first child is older than six or seven. Old enough to look after itself within the tribal setting.


    And, in fact, parents in modern western cultures invest even more for even longer in their children –

    Only because of ‘recent’ cultural changes - unrelated to ‘evoltutionary’ effects.
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vexer
    Paralith


    Ok, let’s:


    Detailed caloric studies have shown that children in many hunter-gatherer societies do not produce as much food as they consume until they are around the age of 18.

    I don’t believe this.
    Here is the paper:
    http://www.soc.upenn.edu/courses/200...gs/kapl00d.pdf

    In specific, look at Figure 3, which shows production and consumption curves for both men and women across different ages. Men do not produce more than they consume until around the age of 18, and women do not produce more than they consume until around the age of 45 because once they finish growth and skill development, or even before that time, they begin to reproduce, which of course has high caloric demands. You will also notice that men don't reach their peak productivity until some years later than that - the paper discusses the high skill level required and how long the learning process takes. This data is gathered from four hunter gatherer groups: The Ache, the Hiwi, the !Kung, and the Hadza.


    And nor will hunter-gatherer women wait to have another child until their first one is completely sufficient –

    I’m saying they will wait (by their various means) until the first child is older than six or seven. Old enough to look after itself within the tribal setting.
    The !Kung have some of the longest known interbirth intervals (time between births) of any known hunter-gatherer or natural fertility population - and it's about four years. For most groups it's shorter than that.

    Reference for the !Kung:
    http://foragers.wikidot.com/female-r...ive-adaptation

    I highly doubt that any child is self-sufficient by the age of four, and most certainly not by the age of 2 or 3.

    And, in fact, parents in modern western cultures invest even more for even longer in their children –

    Only because of ‘recent’ cultural changes - unrelated to ‘evoltutionary’ effects.
    No, not necessarily unrelated. According to some hypotheses that pattern is due to behaviors that evolved when we were hunter-gatherers and how those behaviors function in the modern environment. It's a combination of cultural change and our evolved behavior. But I won't go into details on that unless you'd like to discuss it further.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  32. #31  
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    what is love? baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    what is love? baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more
    Haddaway to do it!

    lol

    Love only hurts when it pierces and penetrates

    After that it's just one big long orgasmic sigh

    Which is why cupids arrow is so sharp

    But ahh what an angelic sweet face he has too
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  34. #33  
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    1. I was waiting for someone to be immature enough to post something about that song. Thanks for ruining the progression of intellect; it is like when a beautiful Mozart piece is ruined because you hear it played in a skittles commercial, except, in this case, the opposite.

    2. Is it this thread's conclusion that love is a result of the long time duration, and high resource demand required to develop an individual capable of providing benefit to a group?
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  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical Seductress
    1. I was waiting for someone to be immature enough to post something about that song. Thanks for ruining the progression of intellect; it is like when a beautiful Mozart piece is ruined because you hear it played in a skittles commercial, except, in this case, the opposite.

    2. Is it this thread's conclusion that love is a result of the long time duration, and high resource demand required to develop an individual capable of providing benefit to a group?
    1. The OP asked an unanswerable question. Lighthearted fun doesn't stifle progess, it cultivates it my dear. It builds social relationships and eases the mind. If you only want cold, hard facts, read a textbook. We are human and behave as such...especially in a forum environment. You aren't a moderator, so mind your own business.

    2. Nothing written here concerning the "purpose" of love is conclusive. We can't even satisfactorily define "love", therefore "What is love?, baby don't hurt me" is an appropriate response.
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  36. #35  
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    1. Mozart was an irreverent hacker who illegally pirated music from the Vatican. If alive today he'd likely download the Super Mario Brothers theme, and improve on it... though a fellow who writes titles like Leck mich im Arsch (Lick my Ass) may be more inclined to South Park or perhaps the mindfuckingest heavy metal possible. I think Mozart would have happily written a Skittles ditty.

    2. Gottspieler's right: we haven't defined love yet. Someone tried to narrow love to mean romantic love animals aren't capable of.

    I can't accept love is only "a result of the long time duration, and high resource demand required to develop an individual capable of providing benefit to a group". Not with newly-hatched geese bonding to the first bicycle they see and growing up trying to model the bicycle's behaviour. I do call that "love" since to me love is a loose category not exceptional to humans.
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  37. #36  
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    I admit this is a hit and run response, but:

    I'm sorry Vexer, but a seven year old child is not self sufficient in a hunter-gatherer society!

    But it can keep up with the tribe. It's a 'dependency', mobility limit, if not strictly a calorie one (I now do "believe that").

    Younger kids have to be carried. And etc.
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    I think that many people love Love more than anything they say they love.
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  39. #38  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynical Seductress
    1. I was waiting for someone to be immature enough to post something about that song. Thanks for ruining the progression of intellect; it is like when a beautiful Mozart piece is ruined because you hear it played in a skittles commercial, except, in this case, the opposite.

    2. Is it this thread's conclusion that love is a result of the long time duration, and high resource demand required to develop an individual capable of providing benefit to a group?
    For goodness sake lighten up girl!
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