What is pooooooooooooppin’, my bois? (That’s supposed to be “poppin,’” not “poopin.’” No one’s pooping, as far as I am aware). It’s your boi Danny, back at you from my blogging hiatus that neither of us knew was going to happen. Basically, the story of my life is that I code 24/7 when I’m alone, and my brain is convinced that blogging isn’t a productive use of time when there’s coding to be done. Shut up, brain. No one needs you.
I’ve decided that I’m going to celebrate my coming out of my blogging slump by having a fun lil discussion about love. Love is a topic that is near and dear to me because it’s particularly intellectually challenging. Actually, fun fact: two spring breaks ago, I actually wrote a couple blog posts about love from the perspective of game theory. The posts were about 9 pages long, and even more schmeagy than the content yall have to put up with on XFA, so those posts haven’t really seen the light of day. Note that two spring breaks ago was about a year before I actually wrought XFA from molten python, Django, and html. Man I’m happy I actually powered through and finished building XFA. Where else would I possibly siphon off the thoughts that so mercilessly rattle about.
Alright, let’s jump right into the deep end in terms of love. First, I’ll mention that this post isn’t going to be Danny’s 101 tips and tricks for finding “The One,” mostly ‘cause I have 0 experience with healthy romantic relationships. Heavens, that might be a fun post for another time. No, much to the chagrin of all you readers who actively seek me out for my relationship advice (approximately 0.1 people per year), this post aims to answer a bigger question, namely why love is the answer.
“The answer to what?” you ask. “I thought the answer to life, the universe and everything was 42?” Well, nerdy reader, contrary to the religious teachings of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to life isn’t 42, it’s love, so there.
Just kidding. I don’t know the answer to life. I just wanted to throw the click-baity title up for kicks and giggles (putting up click-bait on a personal site injects a certain amount of chaos into the reality simulation that I find particularly compelling).
Oh my gosh. I’m starting to get annoyed with myself. Pardon me for not getting immediately to the point. Allow me to get immediately to the point.
Love is particularly interesting to me because of how it affects human beings. I won’t try to describe love, an effort that is doomed to failure, but I can look at its basic characteristics and its effect on people. The aspect of love that I find particularly compelling is that love will often compel one person to partake in a set of actions that decreases his or her personal utility for the sake of another person. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends” comes to mind.
If you subscribe to the notion that life is a product of evolution, it may be surprising that human beings exhibit this particular behavior. Isn’t the whole mantra of evolution “survival of the fittest?” Why in the name of Odin’s left shin guard would humans have evolved in a way that compels them to harm themselves for the sake of another? Could organisms with that trait possibly have a higher level of evolutionary fitness than others?
Do remember that I’m a 20-year-old who is actively drunk on La Croix, but Imma take a lil stab at explaining this particular phenomenon, and I think you might like it.
The key trait of love that I think provides a good level of explanation for the intellectual query presented is the fact that one human being is able to love multiple people at once. If you model humanity as a graphical structure (within the context of graph theory) with humans being nodes and loving relationships being edges, you end up with a highly connected graph. If each human is in a loving relationship (either plutonic, parental, romantic, etc) with at least six other people, then even at third order, the love graph I’ve constructed could easily exhibit hundreds of connections between one person and the rest of humanity.
Bleh, I know you cool readers don’t care about graph theory, so let me tell you why it matters. Imagine you are in a particularly bad place in life, i.e. you lost your job, someone close to you has died, or something of that nature. At that particular point, you may not be in a position to lead a functional life. However, if you are in six different loving-relationships, then there are probably six other people who are willing to put their lives on hold to help you recover.
But that’s not even the best part! Those six other people probably know at least six other people each of whom would be willing to help you out.
What I’m describing is a highly connected, self-healing graphical structure! Isn’t that about the sexiest string of words you’ve ever seen in one sentence? Certainly is for this lad.
Now then, what about the evolutionary problem? The key issue in the perhaps counterintuitive argument I presented was that I was focusing on the wrong entity. Instead of looking at an individual human, look at humanity as the organism that has evolved to be the alpha on this planet. Humanity has evolved to have a particularly good knack at healing itself when a problem arises with one of its constituents.
An illustrative example of the point I’m making comes in the form of single cells. If you yodel on over to Google, you can verify that the average lifespan of a single bacteria cell is around 12 hours. You want to take a guess how long a single heart muscle cell lives? Probably not, so I’ll tell ya. 40 years. 40 frikin years. If you’re a single cell, it’s pretty great to integrated into a system of several trillion other cells built into complicated systems to ensure against single failures. Sure, this argument may have some logical holes in it, but 40 years is a longer time than 12 hours, I can tell you that much.
I understand that I’m not making a particularly complicated argument, but let me get to the juice. Say whatever poetic nonsense you want to about love, but at the end of the day, love can be understood as a chemical mechanism that compels people to form connections with others in a mutually beneficial fashion. You can make the argument that it’s in an individual’s best interest to play nice with other people, but I would counter that groups or organizations that are compelled by a loving motive are the most sustainable and expansive in the long run.
What’s particularly cool about the love-graph (patent-pending) is that its self-healing properties make it particularly sustainable, even despite its rich and diverse set of behavior. Systems that are stable and dynamic are particularly interesting because they’re able to interact with other similar systems in increasingly complex ways while maintaining stability.
And then, a large enough set of such complex, stable, and dynamic subsystems could potentially also form a type of self-healing graphical structure, which would then be able to form into a form of even greater complexity.
See where I’m going? The mechanism that we refer to as love within the context of humanity is actually perhaps the most effective tool in the universe for propagating and generating stability, order, and complexity. It’s a frikin anti-entropic machine, baby.
You could limit yourself by viewing love specifically as the deep, compelling emotion felt between humans, by why stop there? Personally, I find it more compelling to observe love-like characteristics in other highly complex systems than simply humans, and if you’re looking for a reason for why our incredibly complicated universe is the way it is, then perhaps the answer you’re looking for is simply love.
Anyhoo, that’s just some sauce for you to distill in your branium. If you disagree with me or the points I’ve made, or you have a different insight, please for the love of god send an email my way. I basically am always coding, so I’d love to take a quick break to spin up a fun lil email chain.
anYwaY, that’s all for now. I think I’m going to try for two posts a week, so I should have a bit more content coming your way from the ol XFA (that rhymed, massive flex). Byyee!