On Saturday, May 13, 2000 10:21 AM altamira firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> How important is the physical aspect of the potential lover?
It matters the type of love. Romantic love definitely involves a
physical -- more specifically, a sexual, aspect. Without it, I'd say it's
not romantic love, but some other sort. (Check out Nathaniel Branden's work
in this area, from _The Psychology of Romantic Love_ to his many other
> What if a person develops feelings of deep friendship and love for someone
> with whom they've corresponded on the internet? And then the person finds
> out that the object of his love is somehow physically inaccessable--maybe
> the loved one resides on a faraway planet or is a consciousness arising
> a computer network?
Is this purely an academic question? Or is this an attempt to justify
Interesting coincidence: several days ago, I finished reading Peter S.
Beagle's _A Fine and Private Place_. In this, his first novel, part of the
plot is the love between two ghosts who cannot come to any physical
consumation. (It's not his best work. I think _The Last Unicorn_ is his
best and is also a "must read.":) I would not claim that Beagle has all the
answers here, but it was a good read.
> The consciousness is still there for the person as it has been throughout
> the relationship, but now that any chance of physical contact is
> will the friendship change? George Bernard Shaw once said that "The
> love affair is one which is conducted entirely by post." But could one
> a love affair with someone who, as far as the person is concerned, is pure
But was Shaw being serious? Often, he was being funny or sarcastic or both.
> What if the pure consciousness is so far superior to anyone else the
> person's ever known that he realizes he'll never be able to love another
> human? The physically inaccessible being is his "one-and-only"...
> Would the person suffer extreme despair and want to die?
I think this would depend on how the consciousness is constituted. First of
all, I would question the use of "pure" here, but that's a minor quibble.
What I mean by "constituted" is what sort of tendencies and such it has? As
humans, we are social animals and our tendency to flourish in society. This
is not an argument for communitarianism, but merely underscores an important
part of being human.
Whether all consciousness, especially consciousnesses superior to ours
(along what parameters would this be measured? IQ?:) need this sort of
social setting is debatable. Several years ago in _Objectivity_ 1(2) Marsha
Enright proposed that humans need relationships also to see themselves. Her
notion is that each person uses another person's consciousness as a sort of
mirror. So, perhaps even a superior-to-human consciousness would also need
such a mirror, though perhaps one that is on the same level, to get the kind
of feedback it needs to understand itself. (See her "Why Man Needs
Approval" -- which is, sadly, not online. See
http://www.bomis.com/objectivity/ for more on _Objectivity_.)
Also, romantic love usually implies some sort of equality. Being
romantically "in love" with someone who is markedly unequal in an important
way makes it less like love, I feel, and more like some unequal relationship
such as parent/child or teacher/student or mentor/protege. Sadly, I believe
a lot of so called romantic relationships are just that, but then it is hard
to find someone who is an equal yet who is also different and interesting in
My two cents!
Daniel Ust, Love Doctor:)
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