I've been discussing my dreams with Laura a bit more lately. In retrospect,
it had been shockingly easy to convince her I was a machine. Or maybe
she still doesn't really believe it, but doesn't care that I do?
now she seems quite impervious to the idea that her love for me, too,
is mechanical. She insists again and again that it is "genuine". I try
to tell her there is nothing ungenuine about the love of which I speak,
but she cannot make the leap between them, cannot see how they are the
same, that her plainly evident introspective feelings are the outcome of a
"Love" is such a slippery word to begin with, like "God". It is exactly
whatever the speaker means by it at the moment, and thus impervious to
any challenge. If one drills down too closely to its meaning, one
finds it has moved and become something else; because when it becomes
too clear what you are talking about, well, that can't possibly
As my own mind is progressively shaped by the thoughts of those before
me (those who once were me but not, and thus my own thoughts, but
not) I find the concept of love neatly partitioning itself within my
mental vocabulary, attaining a new crispness of expert familiarity. As with
the many Inuit names for the handful of truly distinct things we just
label snow, my mind has a unique name for each facet of love.
With this simple arsenal, the slipperiness fades and the matter becomes
Perhaps I will endeavor to invent spoken words for
these distinct concepts, introduce them implicitly to Laura over the course
of time, give her mind the same handles that mine has, to see if this enables
her to grasp it as I do.
Having distinct facets laid out neatly before me also allows
me another type of analysis: to see what is truly common amongst them all,
and thus just what subconscious twinge it is that leads people to bind
them all under one word--in effect, to see the true meaning
It is, quite simply: to value.
is the induction of something or someone into our implicit mental list
of things which, in service of our own ultimate and unseen goals, need
to exist. The various feelings of love are the ways in which that list
perturbs our wants and focus in a given moment, the way each hypothetical
action or outcome is assigned its emotional color in service of that love.
There are many types of love, and many distinct mechanisms behind them, but
the common thread is pain at the thought of
an object of that love being removed from our sphere of existence. The
converse is often true but not always, and this is the source of much
confusion over the meaning of love. Not all love brings joy or pleasure.
Love comes in many magnitudes, from the love of ice cream to the love of
country to the love for one's child. Some do not call it true love until it
approaches or even surpasses love of self. And love comes from many
directions, programmed into us gradually through an integration of emotional
associations, or suddenly, through genetic imperatives.
Some do not call it
true love unless it defies conscious explanation. Indeed, many forms
of love explicitly defy the conscious mind, as they must to redefine what
matters to us.
Thus love is, in a sense, the very foundation of consciousness, the helm
of our will, the spark of purpose that turns a calculator into a directed
being. A machine without love--and I mean love in the most mechanistic
way--is just a machine. A machine with love, now that is a dangerous
thing. A spider, a snake, a man, a tinc, an avatar, an elder. One must
ask of each: what do you love?
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