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RS

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Re: Confessions about love, relationships guilt and the world from a young sociopath.

Hi, Daniel--


Your letter is a good one which goes a
long way towards delineating not just your thoughts, but your
feelings about things as well.


I liked Before Sunrise at lot,
but Bridges of Madison County did not ring true for me. It seemed schmaltzy. Nevertheless, I see your point in referring to
those films: one can appreciate the intimacy of romantic love and see
the beauty in that intimacy without necessarily wanting to participate in it,
or even being able to participate in it. I had not heard that
idea from you in any of your previous posts, and so had been engaged
in using words to call forth in you exactly that appreciation, even though
romantic love was not really the focus of my interest, but rather the
kind of agape love which causes humans to care about
others, and so to embrace their human
weaknesses, instead of capitalizing on them. Now I see that my
efforts in that direction were probably unnecessary. You do grok it,
so it seems, but for you it ain't magic, and you probably wouldn't want to go there even if you could. I get that.


You are largely correct, I think, in
your analysis of the logical errors in my last letter. And I guess I
asked for such an analysis when I raised the subject of logical
mistakes by pointing to a category error in your views on love, but
my intention was not to move our conversation into a debate about
logical consistency. I have never tried, in this series of posts, to
mount a strictly logical argument aimed at convincing, but rather I have meant to evoke a
certain appreciation in you which I now see you already seem to have, at least in part.


For example, my mentioning the great
scientists' embrace of the mysterious nature of life was not,
as I see it, an an illogical appeal to authority, but
an attempt to show that some of the very best workers in the field do
not share your conviction that everything can be explained logically
or scientifically. I am sure you do not actually think that referencing
Eddington or Plank on the limitations of science is the same as
claiming Pat Robertson as an expert on contracts with Satan.
Eddington and Plank really are authorities on scientific
epistemology, so their views demand, at the very least, respectful
consideration.


Now your present post contains a
paragraph with which you, having familiarized yourself with the
writing on my website, already know I agree. It is this one:


"To oversimplify things for the
sake of brevity (since I have already gone on way too long! :)), it
is my opinion that romantic love is a combination of emotions/drives
like lust, affection and care. The emotions are triggered by a
combination of stimuli, both inside and outside of the brain. The
magic neurochemical soup, which includes oxytocin and dopamine, gets
to churning and badda bing, badda bang, badda boom, you are in love,
madly, deeply, passionately. This magic soup and its aftermath
compels people to have sex, conceive babies and often even gets them
take care of the chaps until they enter that really ridiculous period
known as adolescence. And wouldn't you know it, all of this just
happens to coincide quite nicely with the propagation of the species!
Evolution at its finest! See doc, no magic, mystery or meaningfulness
is required to explain or talk about love. The glory and majesty of
love is no more or less real than any other emotional experience the
brain generates."

Yes. No problem there, Daniel. I am with you until
possibly the final sentence. There certainly must be an evolutionary
explanation for any human tendency, and a brain-chemical scenario for
any feeling or emotion. But for me--and apparently not you--that
explanation is not the end of the matter, but simply the
physical basis for a great mystery. I understand that you believe
there is no mystery--that all can be reduced to the "magic
soup"--and I admit there is not a logical refutation for that.
So you and I see things differently in this regard. But again, it was never romantic love that was the focus of my interest anyway, but the agape kind which is different, I think.


I was pleased that you moved beyond
logic when you said, "I see a mess wherever I look when I see
humans relating. Yes, I see laughter, joy, and even beauty. But I
also see ugliness, hypocrisy, self delusion and rampant stupidity as
well." I too see the hypocrisy and stupidity of human beings--(now is the time to reference Pat Robertson!)--and it ain't pretty.
But aren't hypocrisy and stupidity rather shallow kinds of ugliness
compared to the deep ugliness of the human predator who required
love and care to survive as a child, but now will not return the
favor? I don't mean you, Daniel, who, I understand, brings an
essential honesty to the project of living with yourself in some
reasonable way, but the kind of criminal psychopath who often writes
to "Doctor Robert," why I don't know.


As for attempting to outwit you,
Daniel, I would never even try. For one thing, you seem too well
armed--and too well fortified--for me to want to engage in such a battle. But even if I
thought I could somehow "win" (whatever that would mean) such a contest (likely to be
a Pyrrhic victory at best), I have no interest in that kind of
affair--neither with you nor with anyone else. I have my own
awareness--for what it is worth--and you have yours. One doesn't
trump the other, and cannot. In fact, exploring one another's awareness in
this way barely scratches the surface of our respective humanity, so how could a "victor"
ever be declared? Besides, compared to the immensity of the universe, what I know or you know is so tiny, so
limited, so paltry really. How could having a slightly larger share of that tiny
portion, the little we can know, ever become a source of
pride?



This, by the way, is not to depreciate the importance of this conversation which to me seems worthwhile and meaningful. In fact, a good friend of mine, a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and Buddhist teacher whose views I respect, wrote to me that he thought the Forum, and particularly this thread, "has tapped into 'inner worlds' in a way that . . . face to face conversations cannot achieve without long periods of contact." If one is interested in inner worlds--and I know you are--that seems like a win-win.


Be well.

Website: www.dr-robert.com