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I have heard about unconditional love most of my life but I doubt I ever felt it. I had thought this was just another part of being aro, but another topic talked about it (and I just read an article about an alloromantic woman who did not maternally bond to one of her children, she has conditional love for the child and it creates stress in the family), so instead of derail that I would talk about it here. 

 

I feel that all the love I have is conditional. Maybe there are no specific conditions to meet to get love besides a deepening connection and time but my love has fault lines, as my love will dwindle or disappear if those conditions are crossed, basically they are like deal-breaker's for my love. Some people have less fault lines in my love for them than other people but everyone has at least one I can think of. 

Quote

Some authors make a distinction between unconditional love and conditional love. In conditional love: love is 'earned' on the basis of conscious or unconscious conditions being met by the lover, whereas in unconditional love, love is "given freely" to the loved one "no matter what".  (from the Wiki page)

It is the "no matter what" that I have issues with. 

Maybe it is my history, where I learnt early that there is no point in loving someone if they cause you pain. Love can easily turn to hate and I find it fairly easy to deal with hate so that there is no more pain. Maybe that is why I like animals, they are much less likely to hit any fault lines.

 

Anyway, I was wondering is my definition even right? or is normal for unconditional love to have...boundaries?

Have any of you felt unconditional love, for a squish, friend, or family or some-living-thing else?

 

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You monster, you! :gasp:

Just kidding :P Everything you wrote makes complete sense to me. I think it's all a matter of degree. Every love has 'conditions' in the sense that there are dependent factors that go into creating and maintaining emotional states. What if a parent who loves their child very much gets into some terrible accident and suffers brain damage and memory loss, such that they no longer feel love towards that child? What if a child grows up and physically assaults its parents? Can we talk about unconditional love in these cases? I don't think it's ever possible (or healthy) to say: there is nothing you can say or do that would cause me to stop feeling love towards you.  'Conditional' tends to be used in the context of 'high maintenance' parent-child relationships where the child has to 'deserve' parental love through external achievements (and it can be witheld in the absence of such external factors). I don't agree with that: I think parents should try to maintain a stable baseline of 'lovingness' towards their children wherever realistic.. But for this there many are 'conditions' (causes/dependent factors) going into this 'unconditional' state.

 

Maybe 'conditional vs. unconditional love' is just poor word choice? Maybe something like 'stable vs. temperamental love' would be better? I think children need stable love from parents (or 'parental' figures in general). They should expect ongoing support and reassurance, unless something goes very seriously wrong. And, incidentally, one of the things I dislike about 'pure' romantic love is its frequent brittleness and temperamentality when compared to friendship or familial love. The latter two seem generally more stable.

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8 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

I feel that all the love I have is conditional.

For some people my conditions are so minimal that they are in any but the most extraordinary circumstances non-existent. If they cross those lines it would be such a dramatic change in character that I either come to the conclusion that I haven't remotely known them and never genuinely loved them (just a fiction in my mind). Or that there was some very, very serious external cause (like having been brainwashed by a cult, being in the grips of addiction, etc.), which would probably make me forgive them and still love them.

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On 14/10/2017 at 4:27 AM, NullVector said:

'Conditional' tends to be used in the context of 'high maintenance'

I do understand the reading of conditional love as this, but then if it is not high maintenance that still doesn't mean it is unconditional. I always saw high maintenance and low maintenance as a separate thing from (un)conditional love, hard to explain ....hard to understand to explain. I do really like the terms stable and unstable! I have been working off the metaphor for love being 'seasonal flowers' or 'bedrock' from Wuthering Heights basically since I saw that movie when I was 10. Maybe my concept of unconditional love is so literal that it is purely theoretical. I do want to see unconditional love as a good wholesome thing but the only sorts of examples visible in life outside of fictional media seem to be abused partners who continue 'loving' their abuser "no matter what". ~maybe that is a different bag of worms. 

 

On 14/10/2017 at 9:26 AM, DeltaV said:

For some people my conditions are so minimal that they are in any but the most extraordinary circumstances non-existent. If they cross those lines it would be such a dramatic change in character that I either come to the conclusion that I haven't remotely known them and never genuinely loved them (just a fiction in my mind).

I like what you said here. Would you describe your feelings as unconditional love? if no, do you think unconditional love is something different than that? 

 

On 14/10/2017 at 9:26 AM, DeltaV said:

there was some very, very serious external cause (like having been brainwashed by a cult, being in the grips of addiction, etc.), which would probably make me forgive them and still love them.

My boundaries don't really care about external cause, I guess because they are tied up with trust and I don't think trust is self-healing, so any forgiveness is superficial as those feelings I have before will have disappeared forever. So I can probably mentally forgive them but emotionally my love is gone. 

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8 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

I like what you said here. Would you describe your feelings as unconditional love? if no, do you think unconditional love is something different than that? 

I would describe it that way. But maybe it's just the human tendency to seek absolutes IDK… Or perhaps I want to use this over-the-top description to say “it's not like this volatile romantic love!”. :S

 

In principle, I would agree with that:

On 10/13/2017 at 7:57 PM, NullVector said:

I don't think it's ever possible (or healthy) to say: there is nothing you can say or do that would cause me to stop feeling love towards you.

For example, if it came to light that my sister hired a hit man to kill me because she doesn't want to share the inheritance, yes, I would not love her anymore. But such “unconditional love”-breaking events would need to be really like this, world-shattering. It's the stuff where you would feel horrified for having been deceived to love somebody like this in the first place.

8 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

My boundaries don't really care about external cause, I guess because they are tied up with trust and I don't think trust is self-healing, so any forgiveness is superficial as those feelings I have before will have disappeared forever. So I can probably mentally forgive them but emotionally my love is gone. 

That's totally okay. :) And of course how you feel about it is absolutely in the norm.

 

Even if you were very much outside the norm that you wouldn't form any stable, loving relationships, this alone wouldn't make you a bad person. It probably doesn't have something to do with empathy. You could be like a quiet, wandering nun who always helps people in need but when somebody wants to thank her, she's already gone. xD

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10 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Or perhaps I want to use this over-the-top description to say “it's not like this volatile romantic love!”. :S

I should probably try to shift my understanding to something along these lines as it would be more useful a descriptor....and then maybe I wouldn't be giving weird vaguely fearful looks to people who talk about having unconditional love for other people. 

I guess I may have been exposed to too many people who use the term "unconditional love" who have very unhealthy loves that continue despite those sorts of world-shattering happenings. None of those loves endured to today but it seemed the only thing that stopped their love was time apart, not the trips to hospital or the betrayal of trust or the almost complete lack of feeling safe around them. Romantic and familial love can be weird.

 

10 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Even if you were very much outside the norm that you wouldn't form any stable, loving relationships, this alone wouldn't make you a bad person. It probably doesn't have something to do with empathy. You could be like a quiet, wandering nun who always helps people in need but when somebody wants to thank her, she's already gone.xD

xD

I can form stable loving relationships, but my goodness, helping random people then disappearing very much sounds like what I ended up doing when I was at university (free time + meeting strangers = helping out many people within my talents). 

 

I guess what has gotten me wondering, now that I know my original definition of unconditional love was off on the unhealthy end of the spectrum, is the fairly recent fast death of a previously deep stable love for a family member.  Our relationship was under strain because they were sick when I realised they loved me more than I loved them which. I don't know, made their love annoying? (now I do sound like a cold monster! and this might well be another blanket condition which affects all my loving relationships :o) They are healthy again, and more demonstrative of their love than ever (verbally and physically) which has thrown me into another period of avoiding physical contact from basically everyone. Because they are family my loving reciprocation is sort of an expectation which has become a burden to the extent I am thinking about getting a more demanding schedule so I have an acceptable excuse to avoid them more.  

 

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On 10/16/2017 at 3:24 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I guess I may have been exposed to too many people who use the term "unconditional love" who have very unhealthy loves that continue despite those sorts of world-shattering happenings. None of those loves endured to today but it seemed the only thing that stopped their love was time apart, not the trips to hospital or the betrayal of trust or the almost complete lack of feeling safe around them. Romantic and familial love can be weird.

Romantic love (Eros) and familial love (Storge – it also can be felt in special friendships :arolove:) with their instinctual force are decidedly un-Vulcan. That's why many aros also have been called “Mr. Spock” (one of the nicer insults). They are easily in conflict with a rationally applied ethical value system.

 

But if we go even further with precision, we see that it's really difficult to define ‘unhealthy’. In reality we never come even close to perfect Vulcanness – with romantic and familial love humans just tend to stray from it massively compared to normal friendship (Philia), which is more reflective. But where to draw the line and why? It seems difficult to give a completely rigorous argument.

 

And admittedly, while from an abstract standpoint I understand that familial love can be weird, this doesn't resonate much for me. Yet “Romantic love can be weird”, oh dear, how does it resonate. xD

On 10/16/2017 at 3:24 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I guess what has gotten me wondering, now that I know my original definition of unconditional love was off on the unhealthy end of the spectrum, is the fairly recent fast death of a previously deep stable love for a family member.  Our relationship was under strain because they were sick when I realised they loved me more than I loved them which. I don't know, made their love annoying? (now I do sound like a cold monster! and this might well be another blanket condition which affects all my loving relationships :o) They are healthy again, and more demonstrative of their love than ever (verbally and physically) which has thrown me into another period of avoiding physical contact from basically everyone. Because they are family my loving reciprocation is sort of an expectation which has become a burden to the extent I am thinking about getting a more demanding schedule so I have an acceptable excuse to avoid them more.  

Expectations to reciprocate can sometimes feel mildly annoying, but it comes mostly effortlessly for me; not a burden.

Spoiler

 

Except in the case of my father, whose character means “handle with great care”. He fits the stereotype of the pit bull lawyer: deeply cynical, hypersensitive to criticism, argumentative, judgmental, self-opinionated. Add to that a slightly sadistic-narcissistic streak (for example, he just really, really enjoys embarrassing my sister for her alleged “stupidity”1) – or maybe lack of insight how much he hurts people.

 

Am I disrespectful? Of course he also has a good side. I could always trust that he would never let me down. But I think I earned the right to give this objective description of his negative traits – they simply are there – because my efforts to keep harmony and a loving relationship in spite of his extremely difficult and challenging character have been just exhausting.

 

1 could be guilt for his “laissez-faire” parenting style, which maybe caused her academic failures. Of course, he would never admit mistakes.

 

Now, what you wrote intuitively seems cold to me, but it would be hypocritical to criticize you. Sadly, I have no further ideas what to do in your situation, it's like the purely academical discussion if aromanticism is pathological – I refuse to even argue against that as long as there simply can't be anything done about it (and no, there is no “cure” for aromanticism)! The big difference with familial ties is of course, that there you just have to accept your indebtedness / responsibility and act accordingly.

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Thanks for your response. I had never heard of 

7 hours ago, DeltaV said:

familial love (Storge)

before, or have a clear definition about eros and philia before -generally I didn't ponder love at all (until I found this site)

I sat down and thought about my situation with my new knowledge and realised I am reacting like a milder version of when someone is romantically interested. Intellectually I know the love is familial but somewhere along the line it got mixed up elsewhere.  Maybe time apart will realign my reactions? I don't know. But it is just scary that it happened, and I worry that it will happen again. Well that is sort of a conversation dead end as it is something I will have to work on by myself. 

 

On a brighter note, as accepting and loving someone within their known character, some of my relationships are equatable to unconditional love! as long as it doesn't get tainted with romance confusion :/ 

...and consent boundaries are respected 

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Ooh, this is my kind of topic.

 

I have always been interested in the concept of unconditional love. As far as I can tell, it seems to be the only kind of love I actually experience. Rarely, though.... but once I start loving a person, I don't seem to be able to stop. Even if they really piss me off... or if I don't see or hear from them for like 20 years or whatever.

 

On 13 October 2017 at 7:57 PM, NullVector said:

I don't think it's ever possible (or healthy) to say: there is nothing you can say or do that would cause me to stop feeling love towards you.

 

To me though, there's a (very necessary) difference between loving a person and being a doormat. Example: I love this friend of mine that I've known for a really long time, and I used to invest a lot of time and effort into keeping the friendship alive because I didn't want to lose it... but he didn't seem to like me doing that, and didn't seem to really want to talk to me much, so I had to accept losing the friendship. I still love him though, and always will. I don't think that love itself is ever unhealthy. It depends on what you do with it though.

 

There was another ex-friend I had that would sometimes randomly go on a verbal abuse spree. I thought that if I loved and accepted him for long enough, he'd eventually outgrow that. 13 years later, he went on another verbal abuse spree, and I decided that was enough. That was 2 years ago. I probably still have some love for him deep down, I just don't want to subject myself to his company. I also don't really want to think about him much, because it's unpleasant.

 

The "familial love" thing has confused me a lot though, because I don't understand how or why so many people seem to love people they're related to somewhat 'by default'... like... I have never felt love for my parents or any other family members except maybe one of my cousins (who, incidentally, I haven't seen or heard from ever since she got married, which was probably 20 years ago now). I like my parents... but love is a strong word, and I just don't really feel that way about them. I have felt guilty about this for a long time. It's like I feel like I'm expected to love these people, and I tried to, but I don't know how to. Most people I know love at least one of their parents, and maybe a grandparent or 2. I have no idea what that's like.

 

Why it semi-spontaneously happens with other people is also still a mystery to me. It seems to have something to do with who they are as a person, how kind they are, whether or not they're annoying, etc... but if I love them for their kindness, and they stop being kind... I don't stop loving them, so... it starts out conditionally and then the conditions go away? Or is it a defense mechanism - loving unkind people would be too painful, so I'd rather not start, but it's worth the risk for a person who is kind to begin with? I dunno...

 

Loving animals is really easy though - I love almost every animal I come across. Humans however are a completely different story. :rofl: 

 

 

On 15 October 2017 at 4:50 PM, DeltaV said:

For example, if it came to light that my sister hired a hit man to kill me because she doesn't want to share the inheritance, yes, I would not love her anymore. But such “unconditional love”-breaking events would need to be really like this, world-shattering. It's the stuff where you would feel horrified for having been deceived to love somebody like this in the first place.

If this happened to me (I don't have a sister, lol, but let's pretend I had one and actually loved her)... I would still love her. I would never trust her ever again, and would not want to have anything to do with her at all whatsoever. I'd be very angry and disgusted with what she did, and how she functions as a person... but I'd still love her. I guess I make some kind of a distinction between...

1. The person themselves... their essence, or soul or whatever. Some kind of unchanging thing that is unique to them.

2. Their attributes - personality, actions, whether I trust them, all sorts of things that can change over time. Ironically, also all the things that are involved with getting to know the person and whether I start to love them in the first place.

 

There's also a difference between how I feel about a person and how I act towards them. I would stop interacting entirely with the fictional sister in this case, but the feelings would still be there. I'd probably try to avoid thinking about her because the feelings would be painful. Thankfully it's pretty easy for me to avoid thinking about people. :P  My point, I guess, is that in my case love doesn't turn into hate. There'd be no ill will here, just sadness and disappointment. I wouldn't want to get revenge or hurt her in any way, and I wouldn't regret loving her.

 

I honestly don't understand at all how people can stop loving a person once they've started, let alone turn around and hate them and want to hurt them. For the sister example, I can understand why they'd not want to have those feelings for that person anymore... but it still feels kind of alien to me.

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On 25/10/2017 at 4:20 PM, SoulWolf said:

I don't think that love itself is ever unhealthy. It depends on what you do with it though.

 

That's an interesting way to put it. A lot of what you wrote reminds me of the buddhist concept of metta. It doesn't translate so well, but it's something like the opposite of ill will towards a person. You wish for that person to be well and happy. Even ( especially?) when they're behaving like a dick. They're probably doing that due to some source of unhappiness in their lives. You'll try to help then get past whatever is blocking their happiness if they're your friend. But if they really won't accept any help then you might need to distance yourself after a while, for the sake of your sanity. But you'll still hope that they "recover" one day and move past whatever it was that was making them behave like a dick towards you in the first place. So that part is "unconditional". Does that make any sense?

 

On 25/10/2017 at 4:20 PM, SoulWolf said:

The "familial love" thing has confused me a lot though, because I don't understand how or why so many people seem to love people they're related to somewhat 'by default'...

 

It probably makes sense from an evolutionary perspective that a strong "default" attachment would tend to develop between family members. A bit like filial imprinting in ducklings, lol. For individual and gene survival reasons. But yeah, as we get older, probably spending more time with the families we choose, rather than those we inherit by default, can be healthier for us.

 

On 25/10/2017 at 4:20 PM, SoulWolf said:

Why it semi-spontaneously happens with other people is also still a mystery to me. It seems to have something to do with who they are as a person, how kind they are, whether or not they're annoying, etc... but if I love them for their kindness, and they stop being kind... I don't stop loving them, so... it starts out conditionally and then the conditions go away? Or is it a defense mechanism - loving unkind people would be too painful, so I'd rather not start, but it's worth the risk for a person who is kind to begin with? I dunno

 

This makes sense, I think. The kinds of people you described tend to be more willing to accept help and friendship. It wouldn't make sense to try to help people that were totally unwilling or unable to accept help. You'd be exhausting your limited time and emotional energy on people for whom it'd make no difference. Unless they gave you some sign that they were trying and willing to change? (I try to watch out for these signs with people - they can be subtle; a lot of us seem to be really bad at explicitly asking for help). I suppose you're a bit like an investor with finite (emotional) capital trying to choose wise investments?

 

On 25/10/2017 at 4:20 PM, SoulWolf said:

Loving animals is really easy though - I love almost every animal I come across. Humans however are a completely different story. :rofl:

 

Maybe unconditional love (as you've described it) comes more naturally to animals? Meaning your "return on investment" is more guaranreed here than with people?

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On 10/25/2017 at 5:20 PM, SoulWolf said:

1. The person themselves... their essence, or soul or whatever. Some kind of unchanging thing that is unique to them.

2. Their attributes - personality, actions, whether I trust them, all sorts of things that can change over time. Ironically, also all the things that are involved with getting to know the person and whether I start to love them in the first place.

Do such lolling metaphysical entities as essences or souls exist? I'd say I'm agnostic about them. But if no such entities exist, you don't love anything real. Ooops.

On 10/25/2017 at 5:20 PM, SoulWolf said:

My point, I guess, is that in my case love doesn't turn into hate. There'd be no ill will here, just sadness and disappointment. I wouldn't want to get revenge or hurt her in any way, and I wouldn't regret loving her.

I didn't say anything about revenge or hurt… but the regret you mention, yeah.

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8 hours ago, NullVector said:

You'll try to help then get past whatever is blocking their happiness if they're your friend. But if they really won't accept any help then you might need to distance yourself after a while, for the sake of your sanity. But you'll still hope that they "recover" one day and move past whatever it was that was making them behave like a dick towards you in the first place. So that part is "unconditional". Does that make any sense?

Yup, that's a pretty good explanation.

 

8 hours ago, NullVector said:

I suppose you're a bit like an investor with finite (emotional) capital trying to choose wise investments?

This is a really nice way of putting it. It reminds me of something I read not too long ago...

 

Quote

there are many whose spirits are so locked in behind impenetrable armor that even the greatest efforts to nurture the growth of those spirits are doomed to almost certain failure. To attempt to love someone who cannot benefit from your love with spiritual growth is to waste your energy, to cast your seed upon arid ground. Genuine love is precious, and those who are capable of genuine love know that their loving must be focused as productively as possible through self-discipline.

Source

I like their idea that loving someone is about extending yourself. I think English needs a larger variety of words for love, or at least different ones for the feeling and the verb.

 

Like that saying "love is a verb" - well, yes and no. It can be, but it doesn't have to be. It's possible to love a person without showing it in any way whatsoever because maybe you can't show it safely for whatever reason, or it would be a waste of energy to.

 

 

3 hours ago, DeltaV said:

I didn't say anything about revenge or hurt…

I didn't mean to imply that you  did, just that it seems to be a common way for people to react.

 

3 hours ago, DeltaV said:

Do such lolling metaphysical entities as essences or souls exist? I'd say I'm agnostic about them.

It doesn't matter if they do or not...

 

3 hours ago, DeltaV said:

But if no such entities exist, you don't love anything real. Ooops.

The person exists, as a seperate entity from their attributes. I really only used the word soul/essence to make a point, as something to compare it to that people have probably heard of. I don't know what else to call it.

 

Even if the person dies (ceases to physically exist), the memory of them lives on. So like, there's this concept of them that's independent of their actions, personality, and whether they're currently alive. What would you call that concept?

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13 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

Even if the person dies (ceases to physically exist), the memory of them lives on. So like, there's this concept of them that's independent of their actions, personality, and whether they're currently alive. What would you call that concept?

 

You could say that they are "elsewhen". I don't know if you've ever seen those space-time diagrams from relativity? (I used to draw these a lot, back when I was learning physics). "Elsewhen" goes by analogy with "elsewhere". You wouldn't say that Jupiter's moon Europa, for example, doesn't exist because you can't reach out and touch it. It's just elsewhere. Similarly, you might say that an important person in your life who died still exists (you would still draw them on that space-time diagram, the map of reality) they are just elsewhen now (if you want to get technical about it, they exist as a world-line in your past light-cone).

 

It's a bit like when you throw a stone into a pond. The ripples would keep playing out after that and the surface of the whole pond and lives of all the creatures living in it is changed forever after. The lives of people who've died are still rippling out in space-time. If they are someone we loved then we try to carry forwards what was best in them and cultivate it in ourselves and others, so in that sense they're living on, as the world continues to reflect important parts of them and these reflections can spread out and show up in many places, if you know how to look for them. That's a kind of immortality. It's the only kind I believe in.

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On 2017-10-14 at 12:56 AM, DeltaV said:

For some people my conditions are so minimal that they are in any but the most extraordinary circumstances non-existent. If they cross those lines it would be such a dramatic change in character that I either come to the conclusion that I haven't remotely known them and never genuinely loved them (just a fiction in my mind). Or that there was some very, very serious external cause (like having been brainwashed by a cult, being in the grips of addiction, etc.), which would probably make me forgive them and still love them.


That's what I feel as well.
It reminds me of a passage from the book series Imperial Radch (I'm unsure which book it is in) where two characters discuss unconditional love and one of them states that if a person changes enough the person you loved is gone.

 

One thing that confuses me about many peoples view of unconditional love though, is that many people seem to think it means one would do anything for that person. I don't get how that could be the case. That just seem like a sever mental illness to me.

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On 10/28/2017 at 8:20 PM, SoulWolf said:

Even if the person dies (ceases to physically exist), the memory of them lives on. So like, there's this concept of them that's independent of their actions, personality, and whether they're currently alive. What would you call that concept?

Yeah, but if we don't believe that either time is untensed1 (B-theory of time) or humans have immortal souls2 then IMHO we can't meaningfully speak of existence after death. Gone! Sure we can have a loving memory, but that's not loving somebody – at least for this the object of love should still exist. Anything else seems just changing the meanings of words for me. I don't want to be hostile here, but that's just how I feel about it.


1 IDK maybe time is tensed (A-theory). The status of general relativity as final theory is … doubtful and the A-theory can be made compatible with it anyway. Yeah, I'm like Sanjaya Belatthiputta: “I don't think in that way. I don't think otherwise. I don't think not. I don't think not not.”

 

2 Still substance dualism a la Descartes must be wrong, I'm not agnostic about that! xD It can only be one of the more subtle conceptions of “soul”.

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On 29 October 2017 at 11:55 PM, DeltaV said:

I don't want to be hostile here, but that's just how I feel about it.

I didn't understand all the fancy science stuff, but it sounds like a pretty depressing way of viewing reality, and I'd really rather not. :P 

 

As far as I'm concerned, we can't even conclusively prove that physical reality itself exists, so everything else is pretty much up in the air at this point. The Matrix is run by unicorns and powered by rainbows. Can't disprove that either. :P

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5 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

but it sounds like a pretty depressing way of viewing reality, and I'd really rather not. :P 

Well, but in the end it makes no practical difference – it's the same view of reality but without indulging in euphemisms (which seem to be caused by mauvaise foi xD).

5 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

As far as I'm concerned, we can't even conclusively prove that physical reality itself exists, so everything else is pretty much up in the air at this point. The Matrix is run by unicorns and powered by rainbows. Can't disprove that either. :P

Indeed, but if there is no mind-independent reality, we have a great deal to explain what we actually do when we communicate or what we even mean by the most ordinary sentences like “It's raining today” and how such sentences can be true or false.

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On 26/10/2017 at 1:50 AM, SoulWolf said:

The "familial love" thing has confused me a lot though, because I don't understand how or why so many people seem to love people they're related to somewhat 'by default'...

I have never understood that either. So I do love the people who I grew up around whether they were related by blood or not, the love may be shallow for those cousins I have only met about 5 times but it is still there because we met and had fun during my formative years. But those other family members who I didn't meet until I was 18+? yeah, those people are as good as strangers on a bus. I don't get the whole 'this person should be special to you because they are related by genetics'. I guess that is a try for the familial imprinting in a world of scattered families and fast communication technology?

 

On 26/10/2017 at 1:50 AM, SoulWolf said:

1. The person themselves... their essence, or soul or whatever. Some kind of unchanging thing that is unique to them.

2. Their attributes - personality, actions, whether I trust them, all sorts of things that can change over time. Ironically, also all the things that are involved with getting to know the person and whether I start to love them in the first place.

I like the split you have here. Basically a split between the unchanging thing and the changing surface of a person? 

Though I do believe that 2 does effect the love towards 1. I do think that time apart from a person does shelter you from changes to their 2 aspects, and you end up loving them as an abstract form rather than their reality. If you don't see them often and your interacts don't strain the relationship I see nothing wrong with this sort of love continuing indefinitely. Is this sort of what you were saying @DeltaV? (I'm not feeling the healthiest so I think the antihistamines made my brain foggy to your footnotes)

The love I feel is tied to time, so with point 2 if someone changed I would still love the memory of who they were before the change but the change does fundamentally effect my current feelings for them. Basically exactly this:

On 30/10/2017 at 7:01 AM, Holmbo said:

It reminds me of a passage from the book series Imperial Radch (I'm unsure which book it is in) where two characters discuss unconditional love and one of them states that if a person changes enough the person you loved is gone.

I feel I must find and read these books now. But I would not in hindsight call any of these loves unconditional for the simple fact that they have in the current situation diminished to the point of nothingness. So I guess there is unconditional love until it is not. Does hindsight relabel the previous unconditional love as conditional because it has cracked and gone away?

 

On 26/10/2017 at 1:50 AM, SoulWolf said:

let alone turn around and hate them and want to hurt them.

so with my comment of love into hate (I was the first to bring up the interchangeability) it is more of a period of highlighting all their negative aspects and thinking about them negatively. I just do it as it is the fastest way for me to reach a place of neutral indifference. The emotional purge gives me emotional resilience to them if they continue being shitty. People who hate and want to hurt others are more into vengeance or revenge territory, generally because they are coming from a place of pain themselves. 

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