Nov 302008

There’s an episode of Futurama where the main character, Fry, falls in love with a robot programmed to be like Lucy Liu and to love Fry. Fry’s excited when she says stuff and dotes on him like a real lover might and everyone else says stuff like, “she’s programmed to do that”. They’re implying that this is somehow inferior to “real” or “authentic” love that loves you for who you are rather than because they’re “forced” to.

However, isn’t it pretty much the same thing whether a woman or man loves you “for real” than if they have to. You end up in a romantic or physical relationship both ways. Imagine for a moment that you have this love potion that can cause anyone you’re interested in fall in love with you. Why would that affection be “inferior” than if a series of random events caused a high enough probability to allow a relationship to develop?

The only thing I can think about is validation. That is, wanting to believe, “I am deserving of love and a worthy person”. What are your thoughts?

Also, in the same episode of Futurama, they show a propaganda video that shows people just making out with robots all the time and society collapses, which is not good for anyone. This reminded me of how, for the sake of society or other larger unit, we are convinced to do things that are not always in our best interests. For example, people believe jobs are necessary and the consumerist culture that has grown up to attempt to constantly grow the economy, but jobs are not necessary and things can’t make you happy, but enough people have to be convinced that they are for the system to function. Or, how, according to Dan Gilbert who wrote in Stumbling on Happiness that people with no kids are happier in their day to day lives than people with kids. However, enough people have to be convinced that having kids is a good thing so that humanity doesn’t just die.

Anyhoo, to recap: why is someone’s care or love because they “have to” inferior to “authentic” or “true” affection.

  2 Responses to “Why is someone loving you because they “have to” inferior?”

  1. I liked your article, however you could go further and actually question the very nature of “true love”. when people “fall in” love, is it really their own choice or are we programmed, very much akin to a robot to do so? say you are a guy sitting on a subway and you come across an attractive girl, take a moment to question why is it that she seems attractive to you? is it not for the same reasons that a bee is attracted to a flower, that is over million years of evolution certain characteristics which are indicative of better reproductive opportunities have become more salient. however this is just another way of saying we have been programmed to find it attractive. The very notion of love and relationships is so ingrained in our culture that we never really question the nature of it. most movies place love on a pedestal, as something magical, beyond the reach of science and reason. but if you really look at it, you might be a bit disappointed, especially if you like to think “you” (your conscious self) is the one in the driving seat navigating life through the virtue of free will.

  2. Haha, I agree with that. I vaguely recall reading a study that showed that over 70% of marriages occured between people who lived within like a 7-block radius of each other.

    Additionally, John Gottman claims to be able to predict whether a marriage will last with over 90% accuracy over a 4-6 year period. The biggest indicator of breakups? How you fight.

    Thanks for commenting, very insightful. I was looking around your website and I’d like to meet you some time, I have an interest in time management as well. I’m sending you an email.

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