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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Love as a Self-Interest

When it comes to love my big problem with people's perception of love is that they treat love as some sort of magical and transcendental experience. A lot of people believe that their love in a relationship is unconditional and will last forever. This is of course not true at all. In fact, a neuroscientist should be able to induce the feeling of love in you towards a stranger, and by a simple rewiring of the brain he should be able to remove your feeling of love from your spouse. This just goes to show how simplistic and entirely reducible love really is. It cannot be magical or transcendental if it follows the same scientific concepts of neuroscience just as every psychological phenomenon in your mind. But I want to concentrate on a different aspect of love, that is couples often see love as a form of genuine love which is not based on people's own interest but rather all based on the interest of the spouse. And this is also not true.

Before I explain why love is not genuine love there are two things we need to understand about relationships. First, everyone is a prostitute, we just have our own prices. Maybe you would not have sex with me if it for $75, but if I offered you $100,000 I am sure you will. Perhaps the price needs to be higher but almost everyone has their own price. Thus, it is fair to say that people are prostitutes with varying degrees of prices. Second, and this is based on the first, is that relationships are just a form of non-monetary prostitution. When a boy and girl enter into a relationship each one does something for the other. The boy may buy gifts for his girlfriend, or take her out to dinner, or repair the sink, whatever it happens to be. But in return the girl will suck on the boy's penis, she would have sex with him, go to the kitchen and make him a sandwich, and so forth. The point is that the relationship between the boy and the girl is an exchange. The exchange is, in a relationship, sexual for possibly non-sexual services. Thus, from that point of view, a relationship is similar to prostitution, except the exchange for sexual services is not provided with money but by other services. This is the key point to understanding why relationships are not based on genuine love. The basis of all relationships is self-love. We find ourselves a spouse because the spouse is able to satisfy our desires well. Therefore, a relationship is based on self-love, the boy finds a girlfriend because she satisfies his interests, while simultaneously the boyfriend satisfies her interests. Hence is the birth of all relationships.

If you still disagree with thinking of relationships are being based on our own self-interests then consider this. A boy and a girl are in a relationship. The girl finds a new boy that she happens to like even more. What will be the reaction of her boyfriend? He would get angry, he would fall into a state of depression, might even break up with her after hearing that. But why?! If he loves his girlfriend genuinely then it must make sense that he would be happy! She is happier to be with a new boyfriend, if he genuinely loves her then it must follow that he must be happy too upon hearing these news from her. But he is not happier, he is angry and depressed. Because she leaves him. And as a result he loves someone who was able to satisfy his interests. That is why he is angry and that is why he is sad. Such a relationship is not mainly based on love of the other spouse but rather on love of the person for themselves.

Consider this one final question if you still disagree with me. I will assume you are straight because that is what more people are. If your partner one day magically turned into a guy would you still "be in love together" (whatever that expression even means to you). Be honest with yourself. And realize that your relationship is based on self-interest.


  1. Relationships -begin- based on self interest, but yall know people who nursed their incapacitated spouses for years.

    Never mind parenthood.
    Not all parents live up to it, but parenthood is one relationship where the expected norm is that the parent is totally invested in the kids welfare above their own.

    PS Side point, but I am surprise you never consider that a girlfriend might have sex for her own gratification, not as a service.

  2. "PS Side point, but I am surprise you never consider that a girlfriend might have sex for her own gratification, not as a service.":

    That is true. But it is not as common for men. Human nature primarily is to be sex machines. That is basically what we all are. Men are a lot more into sex than woman are. Thus, it is more common for a woman to exchange sex for services that the man provides her than it is the other way around or just for her own enjoyment.

  3. Lol Spinoza you're the real romantic

  4. "Lol Spinoza you're the real romantic":

    I am not in any relationship and I doubt I will be. There are three reasons for me thinking that. The first one is that I am psychically repulsive and have an tiny penis. The second one is that I care more for what I think is true than what I think other people think is true, and so my ideas are often seen as repulsive by other people. The third is that I have a lack of social skills with people, I love people, people are the most interesting creations in the universe that I know of, but they do not like me very much because my social skills suck. These three traits that I have completely kill any reasonable probability of me every finding a mate. I guess that is okay, can a philosopher be married?*

    *)To quote Nietzsche: "Every animal-therefore the philosophical animal too-instinctively strives for an optimum of favorable conditions under which it can expend all its strength and achieve its maximum feeling of power; every animal abhors, just as instinctively and which subtlety of discernment that is 'higher than all reason', every kind of intrusion or hindrance that obstructs or could obstruct this path to the optimum. Thus the philosopher abhors marriage, together with that which might persuade to it-marriage being a hindrance and calamity to his path to the optimum. What great philosopher hitherto has been married? Heraclitus, Plato, Descrates, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer - they were not; more, one cannot even imagine them married. A married philosopher belongs in comedy, that is my proposition - and as for that exception, Socrates - the malicious Socrates, it would seem, married ironically, just to demonstrate this proposition."