[p2p-research] Building Alliances (love)

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sat Nov 7 18:08:55 CET 2009

Michel Bauwens wrote:
> Yes indeed: emotion, myth, empathy, meditative witnessing ... Do you
> seriously think people didn't 'know" anything before the advent of math and
> science?? If you have a life partner, does she expect you to 'know' you love
> her/him by reference to math and science ???
> Wow, I know such 19th century scientism still existed, but hadn't
> encountered such reductionism of human complexity recently

Here is a related romantic comedy movie that wrestles with exactly that theme:
   "The Mirror Has Two Faces"
"Gregory Larkin (Bridges), a Columbia Mathematics teacher who feels sex 
complicates matters between men and women, is looking for a relationship 
based on the intellectual rather than the physical. When he overhears Rose's 
lecture about chaste love in literature, he becomes intrigued and asks her 
out, and is impressed by her wit and knowledge. He proposes marriage, with 
the condition it will be strictly platonic. The prospect of spending the 
rest of her life as a lonely spinster living with her mother seems far worse 
than a marriage without sex, so Rose accepts."

But, this other famous character suggests differently that love may or may 
not be expressable mathematically under some circumstances:
   "Star Trek: Data's Love Life (A Retrospective)"
"It isn't easy being a machine in love as Data, the android on the 
television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation" could tell you. If his 
predecessor Spock had women throwing themselves as his unemotional Vulcan 
feet usually to no avail, Data never could never claim to possess that kind 
of magnetic appeal. Where Spock was the brooding charismatic type, Data 
might be said to be the nerdy engineer with a pocket protector over his 
heart. Spock appealed to the tormented loners and the emotionally 
unavailable, Data was simply the nerdy nice guy and like his archetype never 
had much luck with women."

Different sentient beings may have different ways of approaching the 
universe. And what works for one relationship may not work for another. Did 
Data love Lal as a parent?

Were the mythical exocomps incapable of self-sacrificing love? Or Data here, 
when he protected them?
"When the situation on the particle fountain went critical the decision was 
made to reconfigure the exocomps so their power cells would explode when 
beamed into the particle matter stream but because of their survival 
instincts the command pathways would have to be disconnected. Data locked 
out the transporter controls preventing the exocomps from being transported 
because he did not believe that it was justified to sacrifice one lifeform 
for another. Commander Riker proposed to ask the exocomps if they were 
willing to perform this mission, when their command pathways were 
reconnected they reprogrammed the commands Data had entered and altered the 
transporter coordinates to send them inside the station core, instead of the 
matter stream. They solved the problem by distorting the particle stream 
frequency. Unfortunately, one of the exocomps did not survive, as it had to 
stay behind to disrupt the particle stream so the other two could safely be 
beamed back to the Enterprise. "

Love is a complex topic.

And humans can have many layers to their behaviors and personalities and 
relationships, as well as changes over time.

Quoting Milton Mayeroff from "On Caring":
“In the context of a person’s life, caring has a way ordering other values 
and activities around it.  When this ordering is comprehensive, because of 
the inclusiveness of one’s carings, there is a basic stability in one’s 
life; one is ‘in-place’ in the world, instead of being out of place. 
Through caring for certain others, by serving them through caring, a person 
lives the meaning of his or her own life.  In the sense in which a person 
can ever be said to be at home in the world, he or she is at home not 
through dominating, or explaining, or appreciating, but through caring and 
being cared for.”

What is the relationship between love and caring? A deep issue. And Mayeroff 
points out we can care for both people and ideas.

--Paul Fernhout

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