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Passions in Poetry

. . .a great mystery. . .

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Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


75 posted 01-05-2006 06:17 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Going to jump back a little bit:

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To believe that something suddenly becomes cold or something less than it is once the origin is understood doesn’t make any sense, I also can’t understand why you would prefer to believe that there is no love at all than a love created through evolutionary processes, could you explain?
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Stephen,

I'm a little surprised by your response here.

quote:
If I take your view seriously, it really comes down to the disparity between what we understand love to be, and what love really is.


That's not what he asked.

quote:
We think of love, in terms that defy mere egoism, and pragmatism.  The thoughts and feelings that love convey to us are sublime, and don't really fit with the discovery that it is just a chemical "tickle" in the brain to help an impersonal process of proliferating a certain kind of DNA.


Love is certainly more than a chemical tickle, you've either massively misread evolutionary psychology, conflated origin and identity, or you've made a strawman.

Or maybe all three.   

quote:
If this were true, many of our assumptions about love would be undermined, because we would now know the "real" story.


If love is indeed sublime, this can't happen.

quote:
The feeling that personal devotion to someone else is based upon something virtuous or lofty, would become necessarily mythic.


Only based on your assumptions.

quote:
I can't help but think that a person who believes in the evolutionary origin of love, would begin at some point to doubt it altogether.  (John seems to give us a good example of this, if I'm understanding him rightly, when he says that love is merely "a mask for lust")


Actually, at least from my point of view, even if it were really were a 'mask for lust'(to believe that, of course, would mean you aren't in love or don't remember when you were), it wouldn't matter.  

quote:
If you deny that this is a valid concern, on my part, I would refer you to a host of existential philosophers, who took the materialist view of reality seriously, and ran into paramount problems in maintaining meaning, purpose, and hope.  Many of their descriptions of modern "angst" are related to this tension between the "real story" of things, and the merely subjective definitions we attach to them.


Presumably, philosophy stops when they stopped being foundationalists?

quote:
In actual day-to-day experience I have seen it too.  I am currently speaking to a young friend of mine, who is not a Christian, about some deep issues.  He told me that it seems to him, if there were no personal God "behind" what's going on, he really sees no reason to feel optimistic about anything.


That's wrong. If you've begun by conflating origin and identity, the only way this makes sense to me is be confusing telos with process.

quote:
Marriage was one of the things he felt would become a casualty, if blind materialism were accepted.


And yet the divorce rate among aetheist is less than that of Christians.

quote:
In light of what you believe, do you never struggle with those kinds of thoughts?


Nope. Unless by that you mean, what do I want to do?

quote:
Maybe you've never followed the trail of your beliefs, in thought, to their full end, like the existentialist philosophers have.


No, what I think it is is the rational conclusion that foundationalism is untenable, but the hope(?) that some substistution can still be found lingers. This isn't a mistake of existentialism, it's still a foundationalist echo.

quote:
Or maybe you've chosen to remain optimistic about love, in a naturalistic scheme, in spite of where it might seem to lead.


Where does it lead in a naturalistic scheme?  

quote:
Francis Schaeffer referred to this as the dichotomy between upstairs optimism, and downstairs rationality.  If love is merely an evolutionary contruct, to believe that love is really love, there would have to be a Kirkegaardian "leap" into the upper story.  Ibsen once said that "if you take away a man's lie, you take away his hope".  To me, living as if the lie were true, but knowing otherwise, is unthinkable.


Ibsen is wrong. If you take away the lie, echoes and all, you realize it wasn't that important in the first place.

=====================

Okay, nitpicking aside, I really think you went wrong here. Whatever someone's viewpoint, as LR pointed out, they still feel pretty much the same thing you and I feel.

That should have been your starting point, not comparing two descriptions.

And with that said, I'll end with another description:

Just before he got married, my best friend and I sat at a bar over a few drinks and he exclaimed:

"You know, I don't know what love is, I just know I can't stand to see her hurt."



Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


76 posted 01-05-2006 08:07 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Stephen


“One doesn't have to ascribe to an afterlife, in order to kill himself, while killing others.”

Nor is it necessarily “love” that motivates to give one’s life;
it could simply be the heat, or imbecility, of the moment.
Beneath the gory glory there’s often a lot of stupidity.
As to the suicide bombers, like the Kamikaze, they’re  often
motivated by some notion of love, duty, devotion.  Like Lincoln
said: both sides think God is on their side.  So using even such ultimate
self-sacrifice is  proof of nothing.

John
Grinch
Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


77 posted 01-06-2006 08:08 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Stephanos,

Sorry I wasn’t back sooner; it’s been a busy week.

“If I take your view seriously, it really comes down to the disparity between what we understand love to be, and what love really is.  We think of love, in terms that defy mere egoism, and pragmatism.  The thoughts and feelings that love convey to us are sublime, and don't really fit with the discovery that it is just a chemical "tickle" in the brain to help an impersonal process of proliferating a certain kind of DNA.”

This just lands us back to my original question – Is love anything less once its origins are discovered. You say that you don’t believe that love ‘fits’ with an evolutionary answer; this sounds like a simple argument from incredulity, just because you don’t think it fits doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Try turning the argument on its head, what do you think love would be like if you believed evolutionary processes created it?  

I’m still short of time so will only be able to briefly comment on your summation points please excuse the brevity of my response and understand that the short replies are not meant to sound as derogatory as they do.    

”The materialistic evolutionary view of "love" is untenable for these reasons:

1)  It isn't compatible with our human assumptions about what love really is.

2) Because of #1, it has lead to either despair, or a blind leap into optimism, for many brilliant thinkers in existential philosophy.

3) There is no proof that "love" is more fit than its alternatives, in the "survival of the fittest" scheme.”

The evolutionary view of "love" is tenable for these reasons:

1) Incredulity isn’t a valid argument

2) #1 still isn’t a valid argument even when tied to the equally questionable argument from authority

3) There is proof that "love" is more fit than its alternatives (see below)


You maintain that lust is a viable alternative that satisfies both the need for reproduction and the need for survival, which would suggest that an offspring is at least as likely to be nurtured to adulthood if produced from a lustful coupling as an offspring produced from a coupling born of love. My premise is that love, when taken in the context of reproduction, is an evolutionary adaptation to assist the selection of a mate that would produce the best possible offspring in which to invest the time and energy to raise. Let’s take rape as an example of a purely lustful coupling and two childhood sweethearts in the fourth year of a happy marriage as an example of a coupling born of love. Which is the best bet as far as the survival of the offspring to adulthood is concerned?


Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


78 posted 01-06-2006 08:51 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“….. So much for biology.  But there is a point on the borderline
between biology and culture which really marks the symmetry
in sexual behaviour, I think very strikingly. It is an obvious one.
We are the only species that copulates face to face, and this is
universal in all cultures.  To my mind, it is an expression of a
general equality which has been important in the evolution of
man, I think, right back to the time of Australopithecus and
the first tool makers . . .

We, the hominids, must have supplied a form of selection of
our own; and the obvious choice is sexual selection.
There is evidence now that women marry men who are
intellectually like them, and men marry women who are
intellectually like them.  And if that preference really goes back
over some millions of years, then it means that selection for
skills has been important on the part of both sexes . . .

I believe that as soon as the forerunners of man began
to be more nimble with their hands in making tools and clever
with their brains in planning them, the nimble and clever enjoyed
a selective advantage.  They were able to get more mates
and to beget and feed more children than the rest.  If my
speculation about this is right, it explains how the nimble-
fingered and quick-witted were able to dominate the biological
evolution of man, and take it ahead so fast.  And it shows
that even in his biological evolution, man has been nudged and
driven by a cultural talent, the ability to make tools
and communal plans.  I think that is still expressed in
the care that kindred and community take in all cultures,
and only in human cultures, to arrange what is revealingly
called a good match.


Yet if it had been the only selective feature then, of course,
we should be more homogeneous than we are.  What keeps
alive variety among human beings?  That is a cultural point.
In every culture there are also special safeguards to make for
variety.  The most striking of them is the universal prohibition
of incest ( for the man on the street—it does not apply to
royal families).  The prohibition of incest only has meaning if
it is designed to prevent older males dominating a group of
females, as they do in, (let us say), ape groups.

The preoccupation with the choice of a mate both by male
and female I regard as a continuing echo of the major selective
force by which we have evolved. “


Jacob Bronowski
The Ascent of Man

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


79 posted 01-06-2006 10:55 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad,

Hey.  You haven't said anything to me in months.  I was beginning to wonder if you liked me anymore.    


Seriously,

It's good to hear from you.  I'd like to respond to some of what you've said.  Give me a few days.  (in the middle of a work week[end]).  


And Ron,

When are these Santa's caps gonna go?  

Stephen.
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


80 posted 01-07-2006 01:27 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Linguistically love originally comes from the Indo-European root leubh-. This is the same root that gives Latin libere/lubere "to please" and libido "pleasure", English leave (meaning "permission"), belief, furlough, and lief.  The word lof "glory"  preserved in old English works is also related to the abovesaid words.


"Lofdædum sceal / in mægþa gehwære  man geþeon." - Beowulf

"With glorydeeds shall / in tribes everywhere, man prosper."


[This message has been edited by Essorant (01-08-2006 11:59 AM).]

Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


81 posted 01-07-2006 11:45 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Some time ago I had a friend named Bob who,
in affectionate conspiracy with his wife, sent
their daughter to an expensive campus ostensibly
for an education.  However among adult friends
they were frank about investing in the prospect
of a worthy MRS.  They were among the nicest,
good natured, moral people you could meet,
yet even they had their notion that love was blind
so they might as well for their daughter’s future
do what they could to ensure that if and when her sight
cleared she’d find herself not that bad off.


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