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Theory of love

Occasionally when reading I run across a phrase or sentence or paragraph, which really rings a bell for me. The bell may be recognition of the compatibility of the point to my own conclusions or perhaps the point caused an epiphany, or other reasons. When I encounter such a point I often copy it and store it in a file for later analysis. One such point is as follows: “Platonic idea that the giving and receiving of knowledge, the active formation of another’s character, or the more passive growth under another’s guidance, is the truest and strongest foundation of love”.

My analysis of this sentence led me down a long trail over an extended period of time to an understanding of the meaning of the statement and to an agreement with the meaning of that statement.

When studying philosophy I had read some of Plato’s work and had a slight remembrance of one of his Dialogues in which he dealt with the subject of love. After some study of the particular Dialogue in question and some further study of Plato’s general philosophy I realized what was meant by the point made in the sentence I had saved.

Plato wrote, “An unexamined life is not worth living”. I find this a bit hyperbolic but nevertheless agree with the general point. Plato also argued that the giving and receiving of knowledge, the active formation of another’s character, or the more passive growth under another’s guidance, is the truest and strongest foundation of love. Plato judged that the basis of love is centered upon the mutual struggle for truth.

I would not attempt to explain why Plato’s Idealistic philosophy leads to this conclusion but I think one can find justification for this point of view by considering the nature of the parent to progeny relationship. Considering the nature of evolution one might easily discover that the origin of love could be observed in the obvious relationship of present day mammals. The educational relationship between the animal mother and their progeny are evident to the most casual observer.

I often watch the Discovery Channel on TV. As you probably know this channel often has a great documentary on animal life. Their audio/visual presentations give the viewer wonderful insights into the life of animals. Often the animals in question are large mammals such as lions, gorillas, monkeys, etc. I find verification of Plato’s theory every time I see the relationship between mother and progeny in these documentaries.

Evolutionary Psychology is based on the theory that all human psychological traits, such as love, must be traceable to our evolutionary ancestors. The source of love in humans is evolved from the mother infant relationship in early mammals (perhaps).

I find this theory of love makes sense. Do you agree?

From a psychologist I used to ( maybe I still) know, Love is a myth, and a convenience. Seems logical to me. Why so much Plato, and no Aristotle? Honestly asking.

Charles - Texas
QUOTE (anima_kulture+Dec 13 2007, 12:15 PM)
From a psychologist I used to ( maybe I still) know, Love is a myth, and a convenience. Seems logical to me. Why so much Plato, and no Aristotle? Honestly asking.

Charles - Texas

Love is an instinct. I think.
Truth for a lion cub is what is the correct manner to deal with a snake, or an elephant, or etc. All of which the cub learns from the mother.

Love is an instinct without which mammals would not have survived.

We have all kinds of ways to use the word love. If we remove all the contingencies we will find that in all cases the essence of love is an emotion, i.e. an instinct.

I love chocolate, I love mom, and I love April in Paris. Love is an instinct and love is an abstract idea. Remove all the contingencies and you are left with the emotion we call love. That feeling resulting from the emotion is really what we are speaking of. We attach that feeling to many things. Just as we attach fear to many things and these emotions help the species to survive.

"gravity has never been responsible for people falling in love"

Albert Einstein

love obviously is not a light reflecting object that we can kick!!!!! yet its existence is undeniable!!!
QUOTE (coberst+Dec 13 2007, 11:24 AM)
Love is an instinct. I think.

That is how I saw it, until I was shown that it is nothing more then a convenience.
You don't need it to actually be happy, or to reproduce the human species. It is icing on the cake, but either way you still have the cake.
I wonder if anyone has considered the possibility that 'emotion' may be one entire bodily function, that we react with in many different ways, depending upon circumstance?

What are the emotions? The primary emotions are happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. The secondary or social emotions are such things as pride, jealousy, embarrassment, and guilt. Damasio considers the background emotions are well-being or malaise, and calm or tension. The label of emotion has also been attached to drives and motivations and to states of pain and pleasure.

Antonio Damasio, Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, testifies in his book “The Feelings of What Happens” that the biological process of feelings begins with a ‘state of emotion’, which can be triggered unconsciously and is followed by ‘a state of feeling’, which can be presented nonconsciously; this nonconscious state can then become ‘a state of feeling made conscious’.

“Emotions are about the life of an organism, its body to be precise, and their role is to assist the organism in maintaining life…emotions are biologically determined processes, depending upon innately set brain devices, laid down by long evolutionary history…The devices that produce emotions…are part of a set of structures that both regulate and represent body states…All devices can be engaged automatically, without conscious deliberation…The variety of the emotional responses is responsible for profound changes in both the body landscape and the brain landscape. The collection of these changes constitutes the substrate for the neural patterns which eventually become feelings of emotion.”

The biological function of emotions is to produce an automatic action in certain situations and to regulate the internal processes so that the creature is able to support the action dictated by the situation. The biological purpose of emotions are clear, they are not a luxury but a necessity for survival.

“Emotions are inseparable from the idea of reward and punishment, pleasure or pain, of approach or withdrawal, of personal advantage or disadvantage. Inevitably, emotions are inseparable from the idea of good and evil.”

Emotions result from stimulation of the senses from outside the body sources and also from stimulations from remembered situations. Evolution has provided us with emotional responses from certain types of inducers put these innate responses are often modified by our culture.

Inevitably, emotions are inseparable from the idea of good and evil.”

Important remark!

Now, if we look to the rest of existence for evidence of 'emotion', we can tie this in with the objectivity of our concepts of 'good' and 'evil'. For instance, could we say that a grain of sand had emotion? - Therefore 'good' and 'evil' cannot be universal 'constants', and must be ideals emotionally produced by the originator of the concept, the Human (or whichever 'creature') concerned, and on whichever 'level' it is capable of, or that it chooses to conceptualize.


One day the penny will drop.

There are no primary and secondary emotions 'love hate fear disgust' there is only one Primary program 'Pursue happiness' (Messianic Law)and plenty of secondary programs that are programmed into the human robot as auxiliaries all subject to the Primary. How many people have you heard say that survival is our basic nature? If that was true suicide would be impossible, it is not, non-pursuit of happiness is impossible meaning that in everything we do the human being is pursuing happiness. That doesn't mean we cannot do something that will make us unhappy because we clearly can but only as a means to an end. So the human being can kill himself but only when he calculates that the pleasure he gets from living is outweighed in his mind by the misery and the fear of the consequences of dying. It is the fear of the consequences of dying that stops most people from committing suicide but when the pain of liviing exceeds the pain caused by the fear of dying - suicide and it is not a maybe it is a must. Why do you think the Creator keeps us in ignorance and indeed let's the religious fanatics terrorise us with mythical stories of hell fire and damnation?
paul h
>there is only one Primary program 'Pursue happiness' ....

Well I had a different one. (but I like yours)

Program for human life = If then else.

Every thing else is just plug in's, add ons or updated definitions for anti virus / hacker defense wink.gif


Read the paper on "Neural Architecture and Human Behavior", if you're really interested in a scientific answer to the question instead of rhetoric.

The Law of Attraction is that a person's self-image includes perceived deficits, and when that person sees in someone else strengths where they feel they are weak, then that's chemistry for a relationship.

"Love" is the process by which a person's identity melds with another person's identity, creating a merged identity that's shared (when two people are in love).

Note that "attraction" helps guide the species towards a superior mix of genes, and maximizes the likelihood that offspring will survive.

The merged identity also ensures (usually) that the parents will care for their offspring which embody the traits of the combined identity.

My apologies if none of this makes fodder for sappy love songs or poetry, but we're descended (mostly) from people who found in each other the strengths they felt they lacked in themselves, and created offspring that (sometimes) had all the strengths of each of their parents and none of their weaknesses.

Just as often, their offspring had all the weaknesses of both, and natural selection and/or dying without progeny helped weed-out the less-desirable genes from the species. This process gets screwed up whenever two people with nothing going for them get together and have a bunch of kids, which happens all too often.
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