Monday, March 12, 2012

I Love You... I'll...

Succeeding Little Divisibles.

This one began an essay, linked to something else, then noticed the timely comment by Save the Oocytes, which fit so well that a math focus begins the foray into love.  Save the Oocytes writes in response:

Your "math fail" is disingenuous, since your further claim seems to be that math itself is a failure, or perhaps a plot, maybe both.
Formal mathematics is a game played with logic and symbols, strictly prior to any attempts to apply it to the world. Geometry and arithmetic may have arisen as attempts to model reality, but that doesn't constrain them to the role you assign them in your demonization. 
Finally, your claim about the circularity in the definition of 1 is straightforwardly wrong according to the standard set-theoretic account (for those who concern themselves with foundations). 1 is used in the definitions of the fractions, not vice versa. Being "composed of" different fractions doesn't consign 1 to any kind of circularity; that (1/2) + (1/2) = 1 is a property of 1, not a definition. 
This is all not to take issue with your philosophical struggles against individualism, which I don't object to, so far as I understand them.

Math is a fun, useful tool, and remains so even though many (most?) of its users/advocates have begun to vest an unlife in it, using it not as a helpful game, but as a reality definer, and eventually, a reality substitute.  These are the IRS auditors who actually believe in their work; the economists who think they're accomplishing something useful, or the standard person ignorant of much mathematics, who just believes that important mathematicians "out there somewhere" understand all the numbers that make the world work.

"1" is really cool, and in a sense of shared understanding, 1+1 does indeed = 2.  This one says "I" all the time when speaking about myself, and it's not terrible.  "1," though, like "I," can tend heavily toward a segregation of this v. that, which disconnects any given node from the lightspring.

There are few (no?) valid absolute condemnations.  Math, just like bulldozers and enriched uranium and rifling projectiles, is a tool that can be terribly used, and is today.  It hurts any respectful consideration of "math" to do so, but in this epoch, where the religion of science ascends on wings of pragmatic genocide, an absolute conception of math and language is encouraged.

The terrible exclusions behind the absolutist language's "I love you" are hidden in plain sight.  Construed in the socially-acceptable (e.g., horrid) way, "I love you" is a mathematical phrase with clearly defined boundaries of grammar, subject and object, segregating the feeler, the feeling, and the felt-upon from everything else.

It's great to say "I love you," and to love, but just as with math, when the agreed-upon symbols become not just a cool tool, but an illusory life of their own, they leave behind a cold colder than frost.

How many can you love?  1?  5?  That's generally permitted.  50?  100?  Seventeen million?  Impossible by definition.

The modern-traditional "I love you" is the shutting of iron doors all o'er the kingdom as the faerie folk vanish.  Each word could be air quoted into horror: "I" "love" "you."  Its use is encouraged into a closing off:

I love you [more than others].

I love you [the most].

I love you [and you alone].

Parsed to its Anglo-Germanic roots, "I love you" becomes:

"[The discrete quantity which thinks and therefore is, in opposition to all other quantities, and which shall be deemed "I" for the purposes of efficiency]

[Grants to the subject of exchange a unique affection thereto]

[The discrete quantity which appears like unto me and is therefore an entity, which shall be termed "you" for the purposes of efficiency]"

Again, "I love you" is not bad.  The sword can cut either way.  Thousands of years of human culture have built up isolationist selves, causes and effects, and I love yous that turn humans into self-interested, independent pods, like so many car-pods on an individualistic highway system, allowed to say "I love you" to a limited subset of people.  Therein lies the terrible meaning that will swallow, in the end, all love.  The fact that some shadows of actual (transcendent, eternal, all-encompassing, doesn't-even-need-a-term-because-it's-always-there) love--of living in the flow and being overjoyed to recognize that you're really the same as "another" and love them and you for it--still exist in the saying does not mean the tendency of the saying, and its associated rules, deserve exoneration, anymore than a moment of genuine Christian charity cancels the sins of "the Church."

To "love" in that way is to expressly "not love" others.  It's like picking out one child in your class and telling them, "Great job on your book report!  You're really demonstrating intelligence and the capability of growing into a successful adult who won't end up starving in the gutter!"  Then smiling and blinking at just that one kid, running out the clock, and dismissing everyone to go home for the day.

How do you think the rest of them feel, in that example?  And what happens to the ones you don't love?

The crusade here is not to stop the saying of "I" or "you" or, certainly, "love."  Love's definition as exclusionary, though, is--like most absolute definitions--so strongly tending toward antilife in common usage that it merits specific addressing.

This tendency afflicts a great deal of pop phrases.  The next time you hear a politician saying "God bless America," what do they really mean?  Why, they mean "God bless America [and not Iran]."  So while it may be good in some ways to say "God bless ___________," it's an evil thing to say at other times.

I love you [more than others].

I love you [the most].

I love you [and you alone].

I love you [I'll kill you].

I see love, I can see passion
I feel danger, I feel obsession
Don't play games with the ones who love you
Cause I hear a voice who says
I love you... I'll kill you...
Loneliness, I feel loneliness in my room...
Look into the mirror of your soul
Love and hate are one in all
Sacrifice turns to revenge and believe me
You'll see the face who'll say
I love you... I'll kill you...
But I'll love you forever
Loneliness, I feel loneliness in my room...

1 comment:

  1. And, gawd, that "I love you" that ends with a question mark sound I hate above anything else.