Thursday, November 03, 2005

Survival of the species and survival of the self

I assume my earlier discourse of love was rather interesting, or at least thought provoking. Now there are two things I’d like to call attention to: survival of the self/individual, and survival of the species.

If you ask me what the relevance of fear is, there is no direct answer. However, I can speculate that it somehow supports the survival of an individual. Yes, fear creates panic, which in turn gives us a sudden impulse to escape a situation of danger or threat to survival. It does not make sense if you extend this to a group which has many members in it. It fails to make sense there.

Now if you ask me how love is relevant to an individual, there is again no direct answer. However, it indirectly supports it's survival by surviving the species. How is this so? Well, it is actually a complicated process. Now imagine there is one predator that cannot be defeated by an individual alone. However, this predator can be defeated if it had to confront an army. No love, can imply cannibalism is a common phenomenon. Once that is true then how do you make an army if you keep consuming your soldiers the minute they are born…? No army means, not enough of defence to resist that predator. End result is that that individual can die due to predator attack.

Love and fear – together they make little sense. But with the idea of survival they seem to agree, but on different terms. In spite of this difference I see them both as constructs to survival, because they are elements or entities that aid in further survival in a way.

The opposite of love…Cannibalism

Having told you some strange fact about love let me put the question to you:
is it bad for the mother wolf to consume her offspring?

Technically, there is nothing wrong in the mother wolf eating her offspring, as long as it can act as an energy source. But once again, you have to think in terms of software and survival of the species.

The job of love is not only to bind the mother to the child. I believe it is to survive the species. Now if there was no such software, then yes, it is likely the mother can consume her offspring. But this does not happen that often. Well, it happens only in exceptional circumstances: for e.g., when food supply is scarce. In such situations the mother might be compelled to make a meal out of her offspring.

But otherwise, this event is unlikely. Why? Again because of the phenomenon called love. Now if there were no such software called love, then what do you think might be likely to happen? The mother eating the child – or cannibalism.

And cannibalism was a popular phenomenon in the days of prehistory. But then is it relevant today? Well, you might hear of small isolated cases, but they are not frequent. But then how do you explain why the phenomenon of cannibalism disappeared? Well, if you think of cannibalism to be the source of major diet of the wolf then naturally the species of wolves might turn out extinct. That’s why!

But then again, how is all this related to love? Love binds. In a society group where there were males and females, it was usually the females who reared the child. And sometimes it was possible that males consumed offspring of their own descent. So the females not only had to rear the child to maturity, it also had to protect it from other males. And love was software that supported this activity in someway.

The importance of love

People are likely to get a lot of ideas if I said “I believe in love.” Well, frankly I attach only a remote philosophical sentiment to it, because without love we would not have survived this far. I respect the phenomenon called love just because of this fact.

Maternal love is one of the most significant and popular forms of love. I mean to say that maternal love is something significant as far as proper child growth is concerned. But we should not think of only human beings as we discuss. Think of other animals and species. Think about the environment they live in where predators roam in search of food.

For the sake of discussion I take the example of a mother wolf and her offspring. This is an incident most likely to occur today if you are ever going to observe a wolf’s habitat and culture. It is strange to note that the mother cares for the child. Now suppose that the offspring is being cornered by a big black bear; the offspring utter a cry of help. And if the mother is nearby, she recognises her that offspring is in danger and rushes to the rescue.

What you might probably expect of the mother to do is challenge the bear. Yes if the mother wolf is successful she would force the bear out of her territory thus saving the offspring. Well, I hope now you gauge the importance of love from this small example.

It is love that binds the mother to the child. The mother sacrifices her life for the survival of her offspring. And this is an aspect of survival of the species. All this happens because of love. Now think of love in terms of some vital software. If this software was flawed then it could mean peril for the offspring.

Today love is perfect software; if it wasn’t, there would not be any wolves; and there would be humans either.