Love Follows Natural Laws

Posted by
Eudaemonic Pie on Feb 10, 2002 at 04:59 (

Re: Trust (not fear: Sparrow) (Sparrow)

Sparrow wrote:

"The Trust is no better than the ‘Trusted.'"

This is exactly what I said in my post which you quoted. Trust is always indexical. There's also a reflexive quality; we trust/distrust our self. See my notes how science objectifies trust into an ethical practice de rigeur.

Why the caps? – ‘Trust'? – ‘Trusted'? Is this a reification out of experience? Or is it a norm for you? Do you see an upper terminus?

You continued:

"Trust is ill-placed if the person/system being trusted has no integrity."

How so? Why wouldn't trust index the integrity of what's trusted? Why digital? Why not analog? For instance, where's the integrity in stochastic or chaotic processes? -- including social processes? And how do we trust such processes? How do emergency room physicians trust triage decision-trees and make preliminary emergency judgments before medical tests ever come back? – how? what's the status of the object/subject's integrity under these sorts of stochastic, chaotic, or emergency conditions? Integrity?

And you went on:

"Integrity implies "truth-worthiness". Where do we find a Person of truth and integrity worthy of our Trust so that we do not Fear?"

See above on integrity. I wonder if my notion of trust (epigenetically) might include what you're calling integrity. If so, I agree with you.

I'd say trust always derives, ent. truth/true/trued/trueing. And healthy trust in behavioral biology entails a verdict in proportion to the truth/trustworthiness of the object.
Again, the capitalized "Person" is a reification. We humans can/do interact with god-concepts to be sure. Even atheists like me can do so, and fluently and robustly!

When you ask "where" we find such a Person, I say that the ontogenetic source of trust/love is parental and epigenetic. You're the pediatrician. You should know that.

But, if you're really asking "where" we find this reified-real "Person," be extremely careful, because you can reason by analogy for yourself just what kind of malpractice suit you'd face if you ever sent a child home with the wrong parent. That's why your science peers call you to peer review.

People who flunk out of science can go into seminary. And there's evidence that many seminarians couldn't even get into other professional schools for lack of qualifications.

Clinically, when you correlate that "Person" to "Fear" (your words above), then I say, like I've said elsewhere, that you're going to get infinite results in your observations (and patients) because your parameters are far, far too broad. If all you want to do is write an encyclopedia (like my mentor Mircea Eliade) of fear, then sure, infinite results are fine. Otherwise you need to narrow down; take patient narratives if the kid is old enough; obtain parental observations; your own observations; medical and psycho-social tests. Then let the index and scale and factor-analytic stuff relevant to "fear" emerge from observations, no? How else? Honestly?

But, again, if you insist on correlating observations to "fear," then how do you personally renormalize fear into all the other epigenetic features in the presentation? How?

Is your focus on "fear/Fear" a bit monopolar? Or, are you just trying to solve for fear as a single variable? If you think that reified "Fear" is obtainable in a well-integrated human experience, then what are the normative and prescriptive contents of "fear"? – is fear the summa of all that we humans don't know? – or just our known failures? – or what?

Worse, much worse, if you as the clinician introduce any reified "Fear" to the subject, and if you really do believe that "beliefs" influence a wide range from neurochemical to tissue to behavioral response – then aren't you opening yourself up for a huge, huge malpractice liability (like counselors who introduce false-memories) if you take it upon yourself to paramaterize in this way, and if you introduce "Fear" to your patients, when you can't validate the emperical status of your theory? And again, even if you want clinically to achieve an "integrity," doesn't the question still remain how you obtain "Fear" (without introducing it) in any integrated overall scheme/experience?

Behavioral biologists can disregard or discount verbal statements of assent/dissent to "Fear" and focus instead on analytic (weak) or behavioral expressions indicating extreme fear (e.g., rites of sacrificial appeasement, rites for merging with the Comet, blah, blah, blah etc.) without themselves fearing malpractice; but, can you? Won't scientists hold you to higher standards?
Don't you agree (please answer) with the scientific judgment that it is perverse to such wild claims as verified?

And you went on:

"Religious systems have always been open to exploitation."

This is an extremely hard call for me. How would you recommend that behavioral bio observations proceed? – how? -- treat religion as a mutable and unstable trait (exploitable: as your language above suggests)? – or, as fixed and stable (unexploitable except by manipulating fixed internal criteria)? And why not keep "integrity" in religion undefined a priori, and then just allow the data itself and the factors to arise from observations (clinically, or in the ‘environment') like other factor analytic approaches do? – that is, start from an assumption of no "integrity," expecting all religious expressions to be random frequencies, and then explain departures from that criterion? – why not let "integrity" emerge factor analytically, rather than define it in advance? We don't have to take the religious folks' word for what counts as "integrity," do we? wouldn't that be witchcraft? religious people don't even grant this favor to other religious people (Muslims to Jews, so on -- the fight like hell!),
– we scientists don't just gullibly take their words for it, but we observe them, right? – and we apply clinical or scientific criteria? Is this what you're saying about how you define integrity?

Off the cuff about the exploitability of religion – I'll say that in addition to people just dropping out of religion because of excessive manipulation in it (stupidity, etc.), we as a general population will see that artificial selection constraints like clergy malpractice lawsuits will increase beyond their newly emerging status for clergy who point parishioners to any – "Person of truth and integrity worthy of our Trust so that we do not Fear" (your words above) – if by "not fear" you mean a wholesale elimination of all fear. Utter fearlessness isn't healthy. It isn't a healthy part of integrity under any definition of integrity I've ever seen! Besides, most theistic systems incorporate notions of fear by reference to concrete examples ("God killed the Amonites!"), or by reference to psychologized inner states (if you sin, you'll miss the "peace"), so that fear is never eliminable, at least not by the normative standards of most religious beliefs themselves.

Isn't it naive to attribute a guarantee of attaining a subjective state of fearlessness to the "Person," when it's that very "Person" who generates, warrants, and even commands fear?

You said:

"E.g.: I practice almost 100% pediatrics and learning disability remediation."


I'm still curious or maybe I'm just lost why you analyzed "fear" as the ONE common denominator in our prior discussion? Why fear?

For instance, does the rooting reflex involve hard-wired fear?

Or, does generalized fear (say from abuse) inhibit the rooting reflex?

I know that reflexes aren't "learned" responses subject to learning disabilities; but that's my question – where does fear become a disabling factor? And is "fear" hard-wired into us, in our non-cognitive reflexive and instinctual faculties?

Back to my point about trust. I say trust has a scalar dimension. And other dimensions as well. Trust, not fear, is epigenetically prior and irreducible. Sure, we can make trust matrices if we want to get really fancy. Or even apply catastrophe mathematics to tease out latent (untrustworthy) variables in ourselves or in our environment (witness the enviro thread here!). And life itself (here commonsense and science do intersect) means inquiring into and appropriating trust in proportion to the trustworthiness of what's trusted. But again, all this is epigenetic (I'm not trying to prove this right now). I'd put trust as epigenetically foundational. Irreducible. Integrity to me is more optimal and coherentist (additive, transitive, non-contradictory) and happens at life's later cycles; but, I don't see any teleology imposed on us epigenetically to acquire integrity (I think I'm arguing against Ridley here). We can capitulate to "Fear" all our lives! Or, be healthy.

For instance, I trust my rockclimbing rope for the purpose of rockclimbing; and then only for the number of falls the rope is rated to sustain; and then not because any fall-rate slip attached to the rope tells me that the rope can sustain 7 falls, but instead, only because I visually inspect the rope sheath for fray and jump-tested or pulled on the braided core to check for damage and instability even if I've never fallen on that rope once; and then I'd never use a rockclimb rope to suspend the Brooklyn Bridge. And so on.

Again, I don't mean to argue this for now. I could care less about persuasion. This is just how I see it from my corner of the universe. But, I do say that trust is prior in our epigenetic hierarchy of basic senses. And this priority can be founded in commonsense, clinical, and behavioral bio observations. And science is one example writ large of the fine degrees of precision to which we can attain measured-trust.

You concluded:

"Love is a decision, based in a relationship between the Lover and the Beloved. It is not a feeling. It follows no natural laws, as does Science. It is most certainly a time-tested quality, and may exist in supernatural realms."

I take sharpest exception with this.

1). This is excessively cognitive ("not a feeling"). There's not one shred of evidence against our feelings as granular-integrative features in our lives. Damassio is just one example of a clear statement of this, "The Feeling of What Happens." It's the profoundest mistake possible to divorce feeling and cognition.

2). More, the fanciful reified relationship of "Lover and Beloved" can mean a lifetime of "Waiting for Godot." As poetic is this may sound, it is equally dangerous and fanciful. I can point at my wife. And she at me. There's nothing psychotic ("Lover" and "Beloved") about it.

3). The formula – "it follows no natural laws" – sure waxes poetic. But this is equally symptomatic of psychosis and clinically dangerous behaviors. Not only is it psuedo-science, but worse -- the empty dictum – "it [love] follows no natural laws" – is flatly contraindicated and is outright rejected by scientific studies from biology to sociology and a range of sciences in between. Even group selection is making a comeback in biology. How could anyone possibly say this?

4). What do you mean – "supernatural realms"? Again, I can point to my wife. She is my beloved. Where are these "supernatural realms"? – It's clinical malpractice in any health care or service profession to jump from patient narratives about supernatural realms to a verdict of established fact, without any intervening inferences and confirmations that these fanciful realms exist, right? -- narrative claims establish nothing because anyone can claim a "supernatural realm", no?

5). And what do you mean "time-tested"? If you really want to include a temporal dimension (as I do re trust), then don't we need to index religion against its whole epoch (like academicians of religion do: not theologians) and include such "time-tested" events as the Salem witchcraft trials? -- and Torquemada? -– "time tested?"

6). And how do you personally map from patient narratives of intrinsic time out onto objective calendrical time? what's the test for testing time? – especially when religions claim illo tempore?

7) Isn't the claim – "It [love] follows no natural laws" – more the realm of poetry and fanciful fiction? Isn't this why indexical knowledge (even in the LOC) is separated into fiction and non-fiction? Isn't it a learning disability to fail to distinguish them?

8) And why doesn't "integrity" mean falsifying such claims like love "follows no natural laws," and falsifying claims like "supernatural realms," and claims like "time-tested" (which is a mere front for illo tempore)?

9) Just because no scientific account can substitute for the experience of love doesn't justify wild extreme claims that love has no foundations in natural laws! Surely, I say love takes more work than work, including the work of science. But I can equally say that love means falsifying any such unfounded claims about anything that "follows no natural laws" (there's no such thing: except assertively), and love means falsifying all kinds of "supernatural realms" (even religions fight against each other!), and love means falsifying false claims of "time-tested" religious truths when "time-tested" really means a poetic deliberate ignorance of the history of abominable religious practices – love means falsifying any claim that's not trustworthy and could harm to my beloved. That's love. There's nothing supernatural about it.

10) Can you fault your own colleagues for their extreme hard testing to check whether you're trying to sneak the wild and unfounded and potentially extremely dangerous (like "It [love] follows no natural laws") back into science through the category "integrity"?

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