Re: Human faithfullness [was Re: Fwd: Lanier essay of 2001.12.04]

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sun Dec 09 2001 - 18:14:32 MST

At 03:24 AM 12/9/01 -0800, Robert B. wrote:

>I always solved the concept of jealousy and faithfulness by
>informing girlfriends I would simply determine whether or not
>a child was mine. That approach rationalizes jealousy very

Oh dear. That might work for you, my good Mr Spock (but wait! that can't be
right--Robert is a wildly emotional seeming dude, and the better for it),
but it has no bearing on how the genes+culture bias toward feeling jealous
*actually works*. When I had my first fit of numbed, almost vomitous
jealousy, I had been vasectomized for nearly a decade and the woman I was
involved had gotten her tubes tied in her 20s. The possibility of `sneaky
fucker' reproduction therefore had *zero* impact on our feelings... except
via ancient biases inaccessible to rationality. On top of those, of course,
was a complex web of higher-level structures--one's fragile sense of
self-worth, terror of loss of love and the prospect of loneliness, all the
rest of the rich process that makes us human in a social setting.

Damien Broderick

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