CopyRight @ 2004
Love is many things. It is best known as an emotion. That is a superficial description. It
must also be considered as a reproductive behavior, a meme, a behavior, a strategy and
other things. There are even specialized hormones
related to it. Love is considered here in three contexts. First is family love that
relates more directly to reproductive behavior. The second is love in a general sense
as the basis of cooperative strategies that are the morality of a society. The third
is just a state of mind.
Love is a behavior. It isn't necessarily related to a person. A person can be angry without being angry about anything or angry at anyone. Love is the same way.
Love is best known as it functions as a reproductive behavior. It is a bonding behavior especially useful to the extended families that are basic to human survival. Ultimately it is the basis of the most cooperative current survival strategy in existence.
Passionate love is another thing and quite interesting to all concerned. It does not necessarily have to even be sexual, though it usually is. It can also be based on emotional compatibility of different types. It is largely hormonally based and is more than a just a strategy or a meme.
How do you explain water to a goldfish? Love is that way. We certainly know when it is missing. It is hard to pin down love historically, but since many animals seem to exhibit it, I will assume that it existed well before human history. It probably has been a focus of evolution since human social systems started to become more complex.
Some historian say that romantic love has a history that only goes back to the 14th century. That has to refer to a meme or a behavior, because hormones are older than that. They were probably referring to traditional courtship rituals. Looking at something like that, it must be remembered that the habits of the different classes were recorded differently in history. In history, marriage is commonly refereed to as an economic relationship to retain property. Unfortunately, many people of history had marriage and children, but very little property. Property was a consequential strategy of reproductive survival.
Love is psychologically satisfying and consequently physiologically good for a person. This may be a love directed at another person or not. It may just be a state of mind.
Love is not only a motivation, it can also be an inspiration.
A primary importance of God to humans comes in the context of the Christian God and his teachings about love. This is cross referenced elsewhere. This whole book is based on human survival strategies based on cooperation. The most cooperative morality currently available is Christian philosophy. That philosophy is based on the teachings of a religion who says it is the primary commandment of their God. This commandment was to love God and to love one another. It seems unlikely that a less cooperative survival strategy can take us to the next ecology.
There is a meaning to our thoughts that isn't readily apparent. This is part of my
interest in memes. My description of Faith showed something interesting. The dictionary
definition of Faith is an unsupported belief. It is best known as an belief
in a God. It is more complicated than that though because faith is an inheritable traite.
Even the Bible mentions that and genetic studies show it as well. So how can genes lead
to a belief in God? In its original form and purpose, faith had little to do with God.
Faith is our basic survival instinct. A critical part of Faith is the instinctive drive
to seek out survival strategies, the basis of how humans live. In history, these are
complex moral systems that have been taught and husbanded by religions that are
personified by their Gods. The instinct to seek out survival strategies leads to Gods.
So the meaning of faith in genetic terms is different from the definition found in books.
The book definition is a corollary of the genetic meaning.
So what is the meaning of love in these terms? I have already talked about Love as a philosophical concept, especially taught by the Christians, that is a great facilitator of cooperation in a society. The trouble with Love is that there are hormones involved too. I guess I wouldn't have it any other way. Still, leaving out sexual and family love, there is a great deal of love in the society, for the society. This is based on an instinct to cooperate. That is how we have survived. Not only do we have a moral system teaching love, but we also have the genetic programming to love. It is perhaps closest in a team of any kind where the group is practiced at working together. Still, it is part of the general society as well. Like faith, some people don't have as much love, but it would probably be more common than faith. Cooperation was most developed by the Neolithic hunters because they had to cooperate and communicate well for the hunt, but faith seems to be something that has been a more recent focus of selection and evolution.
David Brin made a great statement about memes in his book 'Otherness'. He said that there
seemed to be five memes that reflected political and social character. They were Feudalism,
Conformity, Machismo, Paranoia and Otherness. Memes were a somewhat new topic to me when I
read this and I thought it was an excellent. You could really understand the meanings of
this Some societies seem to strive most for conformity. Some seem to reflect paranoia or
machismo. You can easily understand his meaning. He said that feudalism seemed to be a
nuisance that regularly cropped up. Otherness was his real main topic though. He said it
was the habit of curiosity about others and what they might have to offer that was new
In itself I really liked what he said. It seemed quite reasonable and fit into the idea of memes. It seemed to offer an explanation or a way of encapsulating my understanding of what I see as the character of different peoples. I tried to see if these principles applied to individuals. To some extent they did, but it still seemed more interesting in terms of how it applied to peoples of the world. It seems obvious that his reference to Otherness was a description of how he saw many of the people of the West. Still, I felt that Otherness was the weakest of the memes he described. The conclusions of this book make me think that perhaps there are better memetic descriptions of the West.
What is the primary meme of the Western Culture? This culture has been incredibly dynamic and is basically responsible for the advent of what we call modern science and technology. The culture does encompass a great openness and curiosity, but I still think Otherness as a description is off the mark. Reason suggests it is a meme based on love and centered around Christian Philosophy. It is a little hard to observe from the inside of the culture, but analysis shows it to be the case. I'm not sure what it looks like from outside of the culture, but in ways it is probably easier to observe. It is the hypothesis of this book that that meme of love has created a very cooperative culture by supporting a moral system that strongly promotes cooperation. Much of recent social, intellectual and technical progress and has been based on the cooperative potential of that meme and subsequent moral system.
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