Coded gray.

Sunday 9 July 2000

Screenshot: The Sims. Wedding.

Pic of the day: It seems even my Sims understand this better than I.

What's the glue?

One of the things I really don't understand is the family thing. It seems so essential to humans that I'd bet it must be an instinct. But however much I observe it from a safe distance, I can't find out exactly how it works.

I can see why the family unit is so popular. Children are helpless and clueless. There has to be an adult around to feed them, protect them and inform them. Furthermore, there has to be two adults to even get the kid started.

This is all very logical. But once I look closer at it, logic seems to be the last thing on people's minds. Instead, they act on raw emotion, and are even proud of it. The idea of using logic in these things is seen as an abomination, a monster of the mind. Go figure.


I'm not completely ignorant, people. For instance I know that ordering a baby is generally considered more fun than the next several months of waiting for it. (Hey, it's a bit like buying books on-line, right? Only worse.) So anyway, I am not surprised to see that people perform the ritual of baby summoning repeatedly while taking care that no baby actually arrives. This may not be logical, but it is certainly understandable. Fun beats logic most of the time.

So I have aired the idea that people move together with someone of the complementary gender in order to have fast, easy access to a baby summoning partner. No such luck, according to one reliable correspondent. On the contrary, hanging out with someone day and night over a long time is likely to make the baby summoning ritual less exciting. OK, so the logical thing would be to live with the one that makes the good cakes, and drive over a couple times a week to the one who makes the baby summoning fun. Right? Uhm, I guess this happens. But it is not supposed to. What gives?

Here's where the concept of "love" comes flowing in through the gaps in the logic. Parents are supposed to love their children. Sometimes they also love each other, or at least some adult. It's supposedly similar to liking someone very much, and wanting them to be happy and safe and have good things. In extreme cases, people are more concerned that the loved one is well than themselves. Love between adults make them want to hang around with each other. Incidentally, it also improves the quality of baby summoning for those to which it applies. Which seems to be most.

OK, so parents love their children and want to hang out where the children are, and conversely they don't throw the baby out with the bathing water, tempting as it may sometimes be. Supposedly the parents were originally meant to love each other so that they would hang out together for the time necessary to have a child and wean it, perhaps more. Of course, being the hi-tech race that we are, we have mucked this up royally, so sometimes the arrival of the baby is way out of sync with the rest of the process. But at least we understand the basic ... uhm, no. We don't.

What makes two adults love each other? This I do not know. I thought perhaps it was them being suitable as a co-parent. But again, no. And a good thing too. Because the ideal co-parent is probably already in use. Even so, it's kind of irritating to see that the selection of a love-mate seems to be not just nearly random, but often also temporary. I know some processes in nature are chaotic - hey, I should know better than most. Still, this really seems to be too important to leave to chance. But not only is it left to chance, but it is seen as very important that it be left to chance and not be understood or scrutinized in any systematic way.


I think I don't love the way most humans do. I love my friends who have proved themselves. If not proved their worth, then at least their potential. Friends who can reach out to the world better than I can directly. It makes sense to prioritize them. To share with them, to help them as needed, or even a bit more than needed. They increase the meaning of my life. But this is not how humans love, it seems.

Instead, it seems they love by making themselves baby-like, by becoming emotionally dependent. "I can't live without you" as the songs go. Babies would certainly be right to say that, and even toddlers. Not that you'll hear toddlers admit that, ever. But someone who has proved that he can live quite well without even knowing the other's name, for years and years? And now suddenly becomes fatally addicted? Yeah, right. That sounds so believable...

Perhaps I shall never find out. While I am able to love, I seem not to be able to fall in love - the chaotic binding to someone and making myself emotionally dependent on someone else when it was not necessary. And I guess this is a thing that cannot be understood from description. Still, it would be worth a try. If people were not so secretive about it. Of course, it doesn't help that they probably don't understand it themselves.

Still, as the saying goes: Live and learn. I would be happy to stick around and observe more. Who knows what may happen, given time?

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