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Old 10-03-2013, 10:43 AM   #1901
drael
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Sure, but does the way something feels affect what it is? Surely feeling like Napoleon doesn't make one Napoleon?
Interesting example. Hmmm, but if everyone felt you were napoleon?

Yeah, I think the way everything feels, effects what it is. Nothing would exist at all without anyone/thing to witness it, and nothing would matter at all if no one had hopes, desires, passions, emotions. In a way, the whole universe is founded on how things feel, and without those feelings, there would really be nothing at all.

In fact, if anything, from my beleif/perspective, what something "is", means really nothing compared to how it feels. Certainly with something like love, explaining it as a chemical reaction, doesnt do the feeling justice...(And perhaps similar with blue, if we are talking about some beautiful tropical ocean)

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Old 10-03-2013, 10:57 AM   #1902
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Interesting example. Hmmm, but if everyone felt you were napoleon?

Yeah, I think the way everything feels, effects what it is. Nothing would exist at all without anyone/thing to witness it, and nothing would matter at all if no one had hopes, desires, passions, emotions. In a way, the whole universe is founded on how things feel, and without those feelings, there would really be nothing at all.

In fact, if anything, from my beleif/perspective, what something "is" means really nothing compared to how it feels.
That's where we run into the distinction of subjective/objective reality, if there even is such a thing. I can certainly appreciate the idea of objective reality being at least unknowable and in that sense perception being reality, since all we really have is subjective reality, but one should always remember that their subjective reality is not objective, and therefore not necessarily applicable to anyone else.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:59 AM   #1903
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Certainly with something like love, explaining it as a chemical reaction, doesnt do the feeling justice...(And perhaps similar with blue, if we are talking about some beautiful tropical ocean)
The map isn't the territory. Couldn't it be that the chemical reaction is the method and the emotion the end? I don't see how that cheapens it in any way.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:00 PM   #1904
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See, the way the original question was framed specifically assumed that love is not that biological funtion, but necessarily something else.
What something else? I made no claims. I just asked questions and pondered if certain accepted ideas can be questioned.

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Love is the release of beta-endorphins, and particularly the bonding hormone oxytocin, as well as the consequent expression of behaviour stemming from the serenic, or 5ht1a receptor, which is anti-aggressive, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and engenders empathy and trust. In that sense, love is either engendered, via bonding, or expressed via disposition from previous bonding, or likely, a lack of negative social or interpersonal experience.
Wonderful explanation! This certainly explains the mechanics of it. After all one would expect a material/physical reaction to occur due to the process. But it is still mechanics. What is the cause?

The ancients did not lump all the various emotions that we label "love" under the one word. They had several variations, including:

Philia which they saw as a deep but usually non-sexual intimacy between close friends and family members or as a deep bond forged by soldiers as they fought alongside each other in battle.

Ludus describes a more playful affection found in fooling around or flirting.

Pragma is the mature love that develops over a long period of time between long-term couples and involves actively practicing goodwill, commitment, compromise and understanding.

Agape is a more profound love, it's not about exclusivity but about love for all of humanity.

Philautia is self love.

Eros is about sexual passion and desire. Unless it morphs into philia and/or pragma, eros will burn itself out.

Love is more easily experienced than defined.

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However, there are different biological ends of that equation, and the subjective experience is another thing altogether. But I am pretty sure I can quite precisely define love in terms of hard biology, or at minimum evolutionary motive.
And at this stage you would be proposing a theory, not a fact.

I think care needs to be taken here that the two are not mixed. Among the prevailing types of theories that attempt to account for the existence of love there are: psychological theories, the vast majority of which consider love to be very healthy behavior; there are evolutionary theories that hold that love is part of the process of natural selection; there are spiritual theories that may, for instance consider love to be a gift from God; there are also theories that consider love to be an unexplainable mystery, very much like a mystical experience. There is nothing to suggest that yours would be correct simply because you have well explained the physical affect of the 'condition'.

We must be ware not to mistake the map for the territory.

Is love an instinctive emotion, or is it a decisive and rational commitment?

In his best-selling 1956 book The Art of Loving, German philosopher Erich Fromm (1900-1980) examined these questions and others relating to love, and he puts forward a strong argument that love is an art which must be developed and practiced with commitment and humility: it requires both knowledge and effort. Fromm provides specific guidelines to help his readers develop the art of loving, and he asserts that "love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence".

In this theory the human need for love is rooted in our awareness of our individual separateness and aloneness within the natural and social worlds. This is one of the existential dichotomies which characterize the human condition: "Man is alone and he is related at the same time" (Fromm, Man for Himself, 1947). Many philosophers have addressed this paradoxical aspect of being human, and there has been a general consensus on the essential relationship between well-being, flourishing, even survival, and the experience of loving relationships and friendships. As the Irish poet Brendan Kennelly notes, "the self knows that self is not enough, the deepest well becomes exhausted." The possibility of love exists within an acknowledgement of this insufficiency.

Fromm claims that love has been widely misunderstood. According to his interpretation, love "is a relatively rare phenomenon and its place is taken by a number of forms of pseudo-love." For instance, the desire to escape aloneness may be expressed in a passive form of submission or dependence, wherein a person seeks an identity through another. Here, the individual renounces their responsibility and sense of self, and attempts to live through the perceived greatness or strength of the other.

Fromm insists that "paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love", and that the ability to experience real love is based on a commitment to the freedom and autonomy of both partners, far stranger also he observes "In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two."

According to Fromm’s interpretation, real love is motivated by the urge to give, "What does one person give another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has, he gives his life … he gives him of his joy, of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humour, of his sadness."

Something is happening here that is more akin to a mystery than purely a mechanical process directed by "beta-endorphins, and particularly the bonding hormone oxytocin, as well as the consequent expression of behaviour stemming from the serenic, or 5ht1a receptor."

The mechanics you described immaculately, the cause however remains a mystery.

Unless of course someone here wants to try such an explanation.

Way beyond my capabilities I am afraid.

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Like the experience of the colour blue however, the experience tells a totally difference story from the physics. and then theres the philosophy of it, and the conceptual drives, memories and associations, but at its heart, like the colour blue, it can be defined in clinical and precise terms - that just doesnt quite cover how it feels. Life is an experience as well, not a merely a play of mathematics.
I would disagree that it can be defined 'clinically'. The mechanics certainly may be observed but mechanics do not the process make.

"Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along." - Rumi

Thanks for the explanation though. Maybe we are getting closer.

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Old 10-03-2013, 01:41 PM   #1905
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No it's not, you asked us to pick between the two but I don't think it's such a clear cut question. If love isnt supernatural (which is what I presume you think the alternative to a mere biological function is) and love is the result of mere biological functions then what you saw the cat do (assuming you're not anthropomorphising) could be an expression of love and a mere biological function at the same time. I honestly don't understand why you think it has to one or the other when the answer could be both. Or none at all.
Sorry but no. I asked a question which seems to have provoked assumptions. I do not think love is in any way shape or form 'supernatural'. Love is completely natural (when it is actually real). But I also believe that love is extremely rare (real love I mean) for it to qualify as a mere biological function. I think there is more to it (no labels included or implied).

Also, the anthropomorphising of the cat's love implies (and I might be wrong here) a kind of superiority. I have taken my idea of love (presumably my idea is real because I am human) and applied it to an animal who (because it could not possibly understand love) was merely acting on instinct, purely expressing a biological function. If the animal's love is purely biological then mine would be also. Otherwise we are back to the old trick of man being superior to the creatures of the earth. Why could we not both be just simply expressing the same thing, i.e. love?

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TBH I see far more believers on this forum confusing science with atheism than anyone else.
On this forum perhaps but I would advise a visit to some of the more vocal atheist forums. As a fun little experiment I would advise you post a few threads questioning atheism and then sit back and wait. I guarantee some interesting results.

You would think some of these posters 'ideas' (and yes that's all they are) have been fully verified by the hallowed halls of science the way they carry on.

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Evolution has a connection with atheism in as far as evolution can even seen as anti-creationist propaganda by believers, which leads them to believe there is a link between atheism and evolution... which often leads them to think they can prove their own beliefs right (and atheism wrong) if they bash evolution enough.
I totally agree! I have noticed this as well. For me personally I have no conflict with evolution so I can't really relate to the common propaganda.

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I don't know why you all have this idea that atheists think Dawkins etc. are like religious leaders who cannot be questioned. The only thing atheists really have to agree on is that they don't believe in god.
This certainly seems true when engaging posters such as yourself (you certainly do not come across as intolerant in any way) but again I would strongly recommend a visit to some of the more excitable atheist forums where you can experiment by posting a few threads questioning atheism. You will soon see them.

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Old 10-03-2013, 01:50 PM   #1906
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What something else? I made no claims. I just asked questions and pondered if certain accepted ideas can be questioned.
Like you already said, you specifically set up a dichotomy of love - biological function. How does that not imply that they are separate?
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:00 PM   #1907
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This certainly seems true when engaging posters such as yourself (you certainly do not come across as intolerant in any way) but again I would strongly recommend a visit to some of the more excitable atheist forums where you can experiment by posting a few threads questioning atheism. You will soon see them.
Would it be fair of me to lump you in the same category as, say, Bill O'Reilly or the Phelps clan? Similarly I'd ask you not to categorize atheists by the lowest common denominator. It's got nothing to do with theism or atheism, it's about stupid people doing stupid things.
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:26 PM   #1908
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Would it be fair of me to lump you in the same category as, say, Bill O'Reilly or the Phelps clan? Similarly I'd ask you not to categorize atheists by the lowest common denominator. It's got nothing to do with theism or atheism, it's about stupid people doing stupid things.
You do make an excellent point. Perhaps I am guilty in doing exactly this. I must indeed be very careful not to paint a group of people by the actions of a stupid minority. Well pointed out and humbly accepted.

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Like you already said, you specifically set up a dichotomy of love - biological function. How does that not imply that they are separate?
You have already well pointed out the 'distinction of subjective/objective reality'. This can certainly be applied when discussing the reality (or lack thereof) of 'love'.

Objective reality is concrete, a set of facts outside of any one person’s perception, that encompasses all data. Subjective reality is an individuals interpretation, or perception, of this set of facts that exists outside the mind, and is filtered through the mind, senses and cultural conditioning. Objective reality is the absolute truth. Subjective reality is individual perception of what we believe to be true.

Since subjective reality is no more than our interpretation of the bits and pieces of objective reality that we have gathered, whoever regulates which bits and pieces we receive can manipulate our subjective reality and we might believe it to be objective reality.

Culture, the "system", works to make sure our perception fits in with the common perception, it needs to make our reality mesh with its authorized reality. But as Terence McKenna said: "Culture is not your friend." Everything that exists within the system exists to benefit it. Left unquestioned and unchallenged it leads to the problems we have seen plague religion.

Religion was never the problem, the culture which props it up is the problem.

My original question was not intended to divide but merely to question. Without questions you start setting up a docile culture and here you start your path to problems.

My original question does not just have two answers. Actually it has four possible answers:

It is love.

It is a biological function.

It both love and a biological function.

It none of the above but something entirely different.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:07 PM   #1909
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You do make an excellent point. Perhaps I am guilty in doing exactly this. I must indeed be very careful not to paint a group of people by the actions of a stupid minority. Well pointed out and humbly accepted.
Thank you for considering it.

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You have already well pointed out the 'distinction of subjective/objective reality'. This can certainly be applied when discussing the reality (or lack thereof) of 'love'.

Objective reality is concrete, a set of facts outside of any one person’s perception, that encompasses all data. Subjective reality is an individuals interpretation, or perception, of this set of facts that exists outside the mind, and is filtered through the mind, senses and cultural conditioning. Objective reality is the absolute truth. Subjective reality is individual perception of what we believe to be true.

Since subjective reality is no more than our interpretation of the bits and pieces of objective reality that we have gathered, whoever regulates which bits and pieces we receive can manipulate our subjective reality and we might believe it to be objective reality.

Culture, the "system", works to make sure our perception fits in with the common perception, it needs to make our reality mesh with its authorized reality. But as Terence McKenna said: "Culture is not your friend." Everything that exists within the system exists to benefit it. Left unquestioned and unchallenged it leads to the problems we have seen plague religion.

Religion was never the problem, the culture which props it up is the problem.

My original question was not intended to divide but merely to question. Without questions you start setting up a docile culture and here you start your path to problems.

My original question does not just have two answers. Actually it has four possible answers:

It is love.

It is a biological function.

It both love and a biological function.

It none of the above but something entirely different.
That's a good clarification, especially if you'd agree that one of the possibilities is that what we call love is a biological function. Given that, the best answer I can give for your question is that the process appears to be a biological function, but the trigger remains unknowable. One of the possible triggers would certainly be an evolutionary product that causes the mother to become attached to its offspring, similarly to the process of imprinting. I won't claim to know which explanation is correct, but there are models that can be proven to work, as far as we know.
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