Friday, September 16, 2011

The Love Delusion!

What would you call falling in love with somebody - a delusion, illusion, hallucination, assumption or imagination? 

Just like the whole god delusion, I feel there is something called love delusion. If you really think about it, romantic love is everything mentioned above. Consider a one - sided love affair. At various points since meeting someone till you supposedly decide that these grapes are sour, I guess you go through phases of delusion, illusion, hallucination, assumption and imagination. 

The story begins with seeing someone and getting a liking for them for some god forsaken reason. Our minds are trained to be vulnerable to emotions for the most part. I would call this 'love at first sight' sort of thing as an illusion as, in most cases it really is an optical illusion and your eyes get tricked.  By some way we get to talk to them and then start the remaining tricky things. 

We begin assuming that they like us based on their responses and reactions to us and conveniently begin to overlook the possibilities that the other person is just being normal and being nice to you and is not necessarily into you. This is a classic example of what we call 'confirmation bias' in psychology. We create a mental hypothesis that we and the other person are actually in love and are going to end up together. We tend to seek out evidence to prove this hypothesis of ours, sometimes so much that we ignore that in actuality; there could be evidence to totally disprove our hypothesis. 

Then we go to the next step, where we start further fooling ourselves. We begin imagining the other person thinking about us or calling out to us or looking at us even when in reality they might not really be doing it with any particular romantic interest  in us. Who knows they might be staring at us, thinking how funny we look. From there we begin justifying every stupid thing that they do to fit our perceptions about their feelings for us. This leads to sweet hallucinations, where everything seems to be the best in the world, because we slowly begin to drift into a beautiful world which is full of love and happiness. 

Then comes the worst part, the love delusion. We begin to totally believe that the other person is into us and loves us and would do everything to be with us. The whole justifying every action of theirs goes higher and higher. We now have a firm belief that the other person is in love with us and that's when we begin to look to refute any evidence which others point out to us, or we ourselves subconsciously begin to note that probably is disproving our hypothesis i.e. which nicely shows us that the other person is not really into us. This is what is called 'disconfirmation bias' in psychology, wherein our outlooks are based more on our beliefs than actual data. Having gone through all this, one fine day, we wake up to harsh reality that our hypothesis was completely wrong and that everything was just a mirage and nothing even close to reality. This happens both when we assume that the other person likes us and also when we allow the other person to exploit us and fool us with false indications. 

I can't help saying that in most cases, unless it happens mutually, the whole vague concept of love is nothing but something misleading and does more bad than good. As much as it is advised to use intuition as compared to scientific methods to find out if a person is into you, or is cheating on you or whatever; sometimes, it is not foolish to consider data being easily available to decide. Though you do need to strike a firm balance between both. Paradoxically, love just 'happens'. But if it is not mutual, it just nicely 'breaks'. I am the last person who should talking about this, but then as much as our reality is distorted by our idealism, imagination and perception, at the end reality is what really matters.

3 comments:

  1. I feel the same as you when it comes to love, god and reality. When you get to the core of this issue it seems that reality is formed in an individuals minds eye based upon subjective perception. I guess you could say every person lives in a seperate reality.

    “There is no one reality. Each of us lives in a separate universe. That's not speaking metaphorically. This is the hypothesis of the stark nature of reality suggested by recent developments in quantum physics. Reality in a dynamic universe is non-objective. Consciousness is the only reality.” - M.R. Franks (Universe and Multiple Reality).

    We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don't even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think this is reality. – Robert Anton Wilson.

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    1. Couldn't agree more! Our lives are just full of perceptions and it is a developmental process as well. While nativists and empiricists probably still argue about development of perceptions,truth is that no matter how it develops, eventually there is always this - your view of me and my view of myself.

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  2. Don't you think the word "love" is poorly defined here. How can real love be hurtful? It is like "how can untruth comes from truth?" A closer look would reveal that there is a problem with the definition of love. Love, in my opinion, means detachment from the fruits of the action or no expectation or all giving. So, the next question is why people suffer? It is because they have an active mind which employs senses. Senses receive information from the outer world that is ever changing. That means these senses interpolate and extrapolate a lot which are more likely to have an high degree of uncertainty. This causes error in their judgement...People suffer due to expectation and wrong judgement. Get rid of ego and mind, I am sure one will lead a very happy life..
    Vijay

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