It’s been said that love is many things. In the simplest of terms it can be defined as a strong bond or attachment between individuals. But if we are all truly bonded at the subatomic level, then does it not stand to reason that love itself is universal?
And yet we are all, to some extent, victims of our own perception. It’s easy to get hung up and miss out on the bigger picture. This is especially true when dealing with matters of ego.
Evolutionary human biology is tricky business, but mating rituals have remained remarkably similar throughout the ages. Tribal members evaluate potential partners, consciously or not, primarily on the basis of physical appearance and virility. So while society has evolved greatly over the course of the last 250,000 years, biology has been very slow to catch up.
Or to adapt one of Alvin Toffler’s great analogies to serve my own point: If society is a sleek, $150,000 Audi R-8 blowing by you at 120 mph, biology is more like a broke down school bus, stuck in the exit lane with its blinker on.
Ask most sensible people what they look for in a mate, and you’ll tend to hear the same answers: compassion, wit, sensitivity, honesty, intellect, and so on. And yet while these are highly evolved social traits that demonstrate refinement, this is really all they are. Because while society continues to evolve at a lightning quick rate, we are inevitably still rooted in primordial mud.
The Evolutionary Totem Pole: There is an inescapable hierarchy for both male and female species based on physical appearance and virility. In simplest terms, it is an X-axis starting at 0 and extending to 10, with a near infinite number of plot points in between. And since none of us are either the most or least desirable members of our species, we all fall somewhere into the vast middle of the spectrum.
Scenario #1: After careful consideration, you have identified somebody whom in your estimation would make a fantastic potential long term partner. In your mind, you can visualize the two of you together, engaging in routine day to day activities. You plot out dinners and vacations. You fantasize about what it would be like to lay next to them, to feel their skin against yours or the warmth of their breath. Yet unfortunately for you, this person does not view you in the same light, and after an open exchange of emotions where the truth is laid bare, you retreat, feeling as though life is suddenly not worth living anymore if you cannot live it with them. Sadly, these emotions can take weeks, months or even years to recover from.
Scenario #2: A long-time acquaintance of yours approaches you and indicates in no uncertain terms that they have been harboring feelings for you for quite a while. While this person might exemplify many if not most of the character traits you may normally claim you’re looking for in a significant other (compassion, wit, intellect and so on), you simply are not attracted to them-- they don’t “do it for you”. What’s more, no amount of additional refinement, generous gestures or even outright bribery on their part could ever change the fact that you just are not interested in them that way! You try to let that person down gently, tell them that it’s not them, that there are plenty of others out there and so forth, but your words ring hollow. Now you are wracked with guilt, because at one time or another, the same thing happened to you.
This, in essence, is the human condition.
"Sometimes I go about in pity for myself. And all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky".
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