Sunday, April 28, 2024

A General Theory of Love

A General Theory of LoveA General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was alerted to this book a while ago, but only recently found it in the library. It’s not a new book, and it remains very brain-centric, which makes it, to me, somewhat obsolete. But then we’re all more brain-centric than ever, now fairly obsessed with intelligence, natural and artificial.

By brain-centric, I mean that we still imagine that our thinking and feeling both happen somehow *in* the brain. That is where we locate our consciousness, likely mostly because of the brain's proximity to our most basic senses.

A less brain-centric understanding of the brain might conceptualize it as more of a switchboard to orchestrate the interactions of our body-boundaries with the world we live in. Such a view would make the mind more of a microcosm than a computer; our contemporary machine metaphor for how things work. The mind and body interact, and emotion was never absent. Heck, emotion also pervades the cosmos. We just can't see it yet.

Of course, clever though we certainly are, our intelligence, highly untempered by love, is destroying us even as it elevates us. This book was instrumental in foreshadowing the impending paradigm shift we so ardently resist.

As Lewis demonstrates and insists, emotion is in no way subordinate or merely ancillary to intelligence at the core of what makes us human. We perish as easily from love’s lack as we do from stupidity.

To call it what it is, the behavior of our economic and political leaders is hateful. They celebrate a kind of disembodied merit, which discounts kindness as but a sales booster. They treat the symptoms of the dispossessed by drugs and prison in what is revealed by this book to be a vicious cycle which starts with being too desperate for survival to afford love.

Nobody but what we call the one percent now benefits from this ardor. The rest of us make do with bread and puppets between our overtime labor gigs in someone else’s interest.

Where is the love?

Well it’s been papered over by false passions for personal gain. We should know better; that there is no person without the social, and there is no social without emotional bonds.

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