Carrie S.I. Jenkins
Es suggest that the one true love orever model is not sustainable as a universal norm since the divorce rate peaked decades ago and has been alling although non continuously since She s clearly pushing an agenda which would be ine if she weren t doing it misleadingly Ultimately while I think it s good or philosophers to clarify the relationship between the social and biological I really don t know whether Jenkins has taken us orward in anywayIII Is that all love isJenkins claims to be a metaphysician so I assumed that her conception of love asancient biological machinery embodying a modern social roleIts social Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda function is to take as input the attraction and affection that arises between adults and produce as output something resembling the nucleus of a nuclearamilywas an account of what love really is But this immediately poses a problem When someone says I love you to another person are they really saying my ancient biological machinery wants to embody a modern social role which will eventually output a nuclear amily This indicates that Jenkins is trying to give an understanding of love which is supposed to better analyze love that the traditional irst person way But this means leaving out of her analysis valuable aspects of love that might not be visible when considering only the third person biological and socialSo while she mentions the union viewNozick was also philosophically interested in romantic love which he thought of as a desire or a certain kind of union with another personRussell himself doesn t explicitly say union is the defining characteristic of love but he certainly thinks it is one of love s important eatures he writes that love breaks down the hard walls of the ego producing a new being composed of two in one He acknowledges the If My Love Were a Fire Truck: A Daddy's Love Song fear of losing one s own individuality in the process of becoming part of a new being but he calls thisear Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-The-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford foolish since individuality is not an end in itself and the loss of separateness is actually reuiredor a satisfying life Love Ready for Summer for Russell is the best thing that life has to give she immediately ignores this union view and jumps into a criticism of the last line alone according to which love is necessaryor a good lifeThis sentiment might sound sweet even cute But it s not A word recently coined by philosopher Elizabeth Brake describes Russell s attitude here amatonormativity Amatonormativity says that romantic love is the normal or ideal condition Cyberselfish A Critical Romp Through The Terribly Libertarian Culture Of High Tech for a human life so lives that don t include it are imperfect or abnormal Russell s amatonormative attitude becomes especially pronounced when he says that those who haven t experienced mutual sexual love cannot attain theirull stature and cannot A coerência textual feel towards the rest of the world that kind of generous warmth without which their social activities are pretty sure to be harmful He says The resulting disappointment inclines them towards envy oppression and cruelty This is a horrible and untrue thing to say There s two things to note here Theirst is that Jenkins has completely evaded the pretty strong point that a valuable aspect of love is union a disruption of the lonely and separate sense of self She might want to argue that multiple unions are possible maybe because the psyche is ragmented and context variant or that a single union isn t as valuable as it s made out to be But by ignoring it she ignores a pretty big part of what people think makes love valuable This later lets her say stuff likeRomantic love has always been intimately connected with the idea that people especially women are a kind of private property It has been a powerful tool in the enforcement of class structures racist segregation and homophobic oppression Are we sure we want to keep it aroundbut the only reason this even sounds plausible in context is because she s left out everything good about love There are other books which attack love or example Against Love A Polemic but Kipnis admits that hers is a polemic right on the cover Jenkins just portrays her book as an exercise in critical thinking out loud so she can t just use that excuseSecond Russel s claim about the necessity of love to a good life might be too strong but there s a perfectly legitimate view according to which all things being eual a life with love is better without Or even stronger a life without love is very likely to be not good As Hairspray teaches us without love life is like the seasons with no summer and life is rock n roll without a drummer If these are also amatonormative positions they might still be horrible but not necessarily untrue Jenkins needs to actually make her caseIV A consumerist loveTo return to the initial section the reason I think Jenkins removal of wonder entirely Dogs Behaving Badly from love is bad is because without a sense of smallness of respecting the givenness of love there is bound to be a drive to mastery See The Case Against Perfection Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineeringor this general argument It shows when Jenkins lays out her view of loveI think we are capable of striking the necessary balance of change vs caution changing what needs to change without destroying romantic love entirely Here s how Romantic love at the social level could have the First Year Teacher: Wit and Wisdom from Teachers Who've Been There function of taking as input attraction and affection between adults not necessarily a particular number or of particular genders and outputting intimate bonds and relationships that are special and significant in people s lives Optional add ons can then include sex kids home buildingamily building agreeing not to enter into other relationships caring or a dog together writing love poems whatever loats the boat of the people in the boat These optional extras would work like a buffet people would be April 16th: Virginia Tech Remembers free to decide on theeatures they wanted in their own relationships without acing stigma or what they did or didn t choose And they would be Mindful Living with Aspergers Syndrome free to switch it up over time going back to the buffet to add something new to their plates or remove something they didn t likeThissounds pretty bleak to me The idea that love can involve a union greater than its parts something that aims to be a commonramework joining people that is accepted as binding and can be taken or granted while the people within it grow together is all lost The sentiment that Joan Didion expresses at the death of her husband would be impossible under this understandingThis will not be a story in which the death of the husband or wife becomes what amounts to the credit seuence or a new life a catalyst or the discovery that a point typically introduced in such accounts by
The Precocious Child Of The Bereaved You Can Love Thanprecocious child of the bereaved you can love than person Of course you can but marriage is something different Marriage is memory marriage is timeOf course its not a logical necessity that a Jenkins style philosopher can t mourn deeply in this way but it s that what the now seem to mourn isn t the destruction of a bond a metaphysical union they operated within but just
the loss of a particularly useful set up Sure understanding social and biological unctions are important and itloss of a particularly useful set up Sure understanding social and biological unctions are important and it be idiotic to think love is entirely a mystery in every aspect and literally no one claims this But the image of love Jenkins builds is too muscular in its drive towards control and leaves ar too little space or valuing something that actually can t be chosen and understood Maybe I am romanticizing love but look at the alternativeIt s important to clarify that of course you don t ever own your partner in the way you do a consumer good but what I m alluding to is a particular stance towards your partner which is analogous to how we choose a consumer good simply or personal gratification and discard it once it has served its use I call this consumerist because it relies on respect or choice without any notion of a certain state of affairs being considered valuable in itself and not just because it is desired in the moment and I think this is a recipe or *our desires being left entirely up to what cultural advertising will tell us to an extent even *desires being left entirely up to what cultural advertising will tell us to an extent even than presently People picking out of a line of goods they re seen on tv also think they are Every Drop for Sale: Our Desperate Battle Over Water free choosers exercising autonomy we don t think they re any less of consumers because of this Of course someone who sees the effect of culture on patterns of love as non existent will disagree on this pointAddendum The spectre of redistributionAll while this is going on Jenkins does want to insist that callsor the redistribution of love cannot be sustained at allBut on pain of soun. Cal manifestation those anxiety inducing heart palpitations; we must recognize its complexities and decide or ourselves how to love Motivated by her own polyamorous relationships she examines the ways in which our parameters of love have recently changed to be accepting of homosexual interracial and non monogamous relationships and how they will Is love purely biological Is it just a social construct Is it both Is it a mystery better left unexplored University of British Columbia philosophy professor Carrie Jenkins delves into this thing called love with an open mind and heart and encourages us to explore it Reach for the Rainbow: Advanced Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse for ourselves As she says love is an extreme sport with the ability to devastate us We should at least be curious about what love means to us and society as well especially if we don tit into the love script This highly readable book will make you think and hopefully consciously choose your own love path Fascinating digestible philosophy what could I ask Jenkins introduces philosophical tools and concepts through the engaging topic of love The Troubled Waters flow of her argument gently guided me into deep waters while providing ample support to understand how I could take apart the artifacts of my own life to examine love as a human construction and a biological reality An excellent read all around I like Carrie Jenkins From her book she seems nice smart thoughtful and genuinely humble and open to discussing things I also think she s very brave to be so open about her polyamorous life and difficulties andor enduring the trolls she no doubt has to encounter constantlyBut while her book certainly makes some good arguments and raises some good points it s also pushing a particular agenda really hard which she s never explicit enough about making this entire enterprise somewhat unconvincingI Two uses of wonderMaybe a good place to begin is the epigraph right at the beginning of the bookThis sense of wonder is the mark of the philosopher Philosophy indeed has no other origin and he was a good genealogist who made Iris the daughter of Thaumas Plato TheaetetusThis is beautiful but it s also ambivalent You can either read it as saying wonder is the origin of philosophy or that it is the nature of a philosopher to possess and revel in a sense of wonder These don t have to be mutually exclusive but the irst opens up the possibility of a ield of inuiry that aims to simply answer all the uestions dot each i and cross each t and bring an end to sense of wonder Meanwhile the latter seeks to inuire into but not disrupt the wonderous nature of what s being studiedJenkins seems to all solidly within the irst campThe romantic mystiue as I see it has a lot in common with the eminine mystiue The romantic mystiue tells us that romantic love is also mysterious and intuitive and close to the creation and origin of life yet special and wonderful partly or that very reason The romantic mystiue likewise encourages us to accept love s nature passively and uncomprehendingly instead of trying to resist or alter it It is a disempowering ideology that celebrates ignorance and acuiescenceAndIsn t there something intellectually comforting about the idea that science can inally tell us what love really is Isn t it reassuring to think we might inally get some answers through the application of tried and trusted experimental methods to our deepest and most perplexing uestions about love It is to meI raise this in part to point out a difference in how she and I approach love but this also becomes a serious problem Owls: Birds of the Night for her later as I ll argue belowII On biology a little that s good and a lot that s misleadingTheirst part of the book is pretty great and it involves her noticing and trying to deal with both the biological and social dimensions of love She points out that we all have brains with their basic chemistry pretty much constant throughout human history and so we should take what science tells us seriously But there is a need to be careful about what science actually tells us and not let our biased assumptions let us read what we want into the scientific resultsShe points out Bon Bon Voyage (A Carolyn Blue Culinary Mystery, for instance that Helen Fisher argues that bipedalism in humans meant women had to carry children in their arms instead of on their backs and this made them vulnerable creating the needor a protective mate In response Jenkins points out that Fisher herself estimates that the bipedalism evolved some 35 million years ago while romantic love arose only 18 to 1 million years ago This suggests that women managed just Bon Bon Voyage fineor at least 15 million years in the middle without this need or a mate She also points out that there might have been many other solutions to this need including the creation of a sling and cooperative child rearing I don t ind these entirely convincing pointing to counterfactual possibilities doesn t mean something didn t actually happen but Jenkins does kick up enough dust to render the imperialistic reductive biological views of love suspectBut Jenkins still wants to hold on to a biological understanding of love and ar as I can see this means just acknowledging that specific hormones like dopamine oxytocin vasopressin and cortisol are released when people eel attraction to each other She argues that if we ignore this biological basis or love and hold on to only a social conception then lots of phenomena would be hard to explainShe proposes her own account of how love should be seen as both biological and socialI propose a new theory of romantic love At its core is the idea that romantic love has a dual nature it is ancient biological machinery embodying a modern social roleIts social unction is to take as input the attraction and affection that arises between adults and produce as output something resembling the nucleus of a nuclear A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency familyShe offers the metaphor of seeing an actor play a character and how we re able to juggle between thinking about the actor and the character without thinking we reailing to understand something Similarly she wants us to recognize both the social and biological perspectives as joint Unfortunately when you think about her particular definition a particular criticism she makes of others appears to apply to her tooThe third *Common Strategy Is Simply *strategy is simply state that love is both biology and society without doing anything to resolve the appearance of contradiction this createsTo see why I think this applies to her consider one of her examples she gives that she thinks shows love s biological natureConsider or example the situation of a lesbian couple in late nineteenth century England Suppose they are in love biologically speaking the parts of their brains associated with romantic love are active and they are under the influence of oxytocin dopamine and so on But social norms severely curtail their ability to engage in any of the kinds of bonding associated with romantic loveAccording to this the biological aspects of love like hormone hits are culturally independent they ll always be present regardless
Of Social Conditions Shesocial conditions She clearly wants to use this ramework to advocate Ravishing Ruby for accepting polyamory too because polyamorous people also would presumably beeeling love without being able to act upon itBut homosexuality is clearly not the only example that can be brought up In an incredibly racist society or example we can reasonably expect a lot of people rom different races who would have elt attraction in non racist societies to not eel love This suggests that the relationship between the social and biological is complex that she s willing to let on because the social can affect the biological itself even if imperfectly This suggests that her view of love doesn t really seem as robust as we might initially thinkMoreover even if we think homosexuality is somehow hard wired and immutable the case Old Yeller for bisexuals and the polyamorous isar Flying by the Seat of My Pants: Flight Attendant Adventures on a Wing and a Prayer from settled So when she saysIn the same way as homosexuality society s insistence on the one true loveorever model can t and won t shut down the neurochemistry of all the people who Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography fall in love with a new person after promising themselves to an existing partner or of all the people who grow bored of long term monogamous romance with their spouses We can keep trying to retrain the biological actor by diagnosing these individuals with a medical problem and attempting to cure their desireor others or their chronic boredom Or we can reconsider the On Being Human: Reflections on Life and Living failing social normIt really is dishonest because even if it can t shut down the neurochemistry of all people it mightor many or even most We simply don t know if the number of people who would even Frommers Irreverent Guide to Walt Disney World feel love non monogomously within the norm of lifelong monogamy would be the same as the number in a culture without the norm of lifelong monogamy Her argument is made exceptionally weak when she claims that high and rising divorce rat. What is love Asiderom being the title of many a popular love song this is one of life’s perennial uestions In What Love Is philosopher Carrie Jenkins offers a bold new theory on the nature of romantic love that reconciles its humanistic and scientific components Love can be a social construct the idea of a perfect airy tale romance and a physi. .