Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Watched Matrix Revolutions this weekend. I found myself, at points, accepting the philosophy of the bad guys, and not empathizing with the good guys.

Agent Smith:...Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something, for more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is, do you even know? Is it freedom or truth, perhaps peace - could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson, vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself. Although, only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love...

This is supposed to piss us, the viewers, off. We've just seen all this heroic and irrational self sacrifice for hope and love, complete with swelling Hollywood music in the background. And it works, as long as you believe that passionate, romantic love is a healthy and good thing:

"Punch him in the face for Trinity, Neo!"

But right now, for a lot of reasons, I see romantic, Romeo-and-Juliet-style love as a biochemical and cognitive pattern response to mating related stimuli that cause us to re-align our motivations and instincts towards creating and rearing offspring with this one particular member of our herd. It's the deep programming that takes our brains from perceiving ourselves as "on the market" to being "what, there are others I might mate with?". It's why being in love is intense, why it makes us think of little else than the object of our affectation, and why two people in love like nothing better than to get it on. And on. And on. It's critical to passing along our genes, which is why it feels good when we do it. Fall in love, that is. But as with many things that feel really good at the time and are good for passing on the DNA, it's not always the best thing to do.

I think I see falling in love for what it is. It's fun, but it makes one nutty and vulnerable. Maybe I've reached a state of clarity in which I can see the mating dance for what it is, and view it in all its oddity and insanity the same way I look at bower birds and elephant seals on the discovery channel.

Crocodile Hunter voice: "Ah, look, he's brandishing his cell phone and his car keys, to show off the resources he could provide her offspring. See how the females respond? Now he will select the one with the most apparent fertility and the lowest number of current offspring, since that will give his genes the best chance. "

Maybe I'm jaded on love. Maybe I'm objective. Maybe I shut it down because I don't want to become emotionally committed. Maybe I like the chase too much to want to settle down. Or maybe I fear what happens when one falls and puts all those emotional eggs in one basket, with no promise they'll be safely cared for.

I agree with Agent Smith. Humans often prefer to live in illusion.