Opinion Editorial

The Geneva Shore Report


 By James Strauss


Years ago a man named E.O. Wilson created, and then expounded upon, a social discipline that he called Sociobiology. As envisioned by Wilson, sociobiology was a new social science that accounted for virtually all human behavior by attributing it to origins firmly rooted in genetics and man’s biological foundations. Wilson’s new discipline ran counter to all generally accepted doctrines of the time. His work was eventually abused, bruised, and finally struck down by the intellectuals ruling almost all other social sciences. Wilson himself was eventually pilloried into turning away from his pursuit of the causes for human behavior and into applying his intellect toward the study of the effects of global warming.

Ironically, global warming is now deceptively referred to as climate change, by the same sort of cowardly, self-serving scientists who went after sociobiology with such wild abandon. Why did Wilson’s ideas inspire such virulent response? One of the basic tenets of Wilson’s work (that all of man’s behavior is caused by his or her genetic determinism) if believed, would threaten six or seven existing social sciences and could have caused them to become irrelevant, if not downright extinct. Such cataclysmic academic events could not be allowed to occur within the confined construct of artificial wisdom most advanced social sciences were founded upon and maintained. E.O. Wilson became the baby thrown out along with his sociobiological bath water.

Wilson also defined the word love. You know that four-letter word.

The word that’s bandied about, as describing a magical ‘forever emotion’ occurring between humans of the opposite (and sometimes same) sex. What is love and what does it mean? Is it an emotional necessity, a luxurious and rare state of mind, or is it a survival necessity mankind must endlessly pursue? Wilson defined love as a word substituted for the phrase intense need. Wilson described humans tend to fall in love with those people who meet their needs, long term and short term, as well as those that directly support their survival. For eons human beings did not marry or join up with one another because of love. Life was more practical. More recently, however, Western cultures have embraced a romantic definition of love. For the past four hundred years love has been depicted as a very special and ephemeral joining of two minds by one exotic single emotion. Emotion has replaced practicality, with varied consequences. One consequence has involved all love-oriented cultures coming to understand that love is not necessarily eternal, which led to the introduction of divorce. Divorce came along as a solution to the problems engendered when love is transitory and passing. It might also be argued that love never existed in the first place in those relationships, since about fifty percent of supposed martial love unions lead to divorce.

Was Wilson right about love simply being a replacement word for need, or is the romantic concept of love a more accurate description of what’s going on between humans in this current day and age? The enhanced role of human emotion has been one of the most successful byproducts of evolution. Today emotion rules planet earth in almost every respect. Aside from geology, some hard sciences and possibly an impacting asteroid or comet every once and again, nothing much survives on earth without some kind of emotional decision being made. Even global warming, and the potential catastrophic results for everyone from its likely results, appears to be effected by human emotion, and that guides our response to it. Human beliefs based upon human wants, rule just about everything.

All flora and fauna survive based upon how much human beings want that animal or plant life to survive. Air quality is the result of human decisions, based on emotionally guided belief systems. The same is true for water quantity and quality. The common expression “make love not war,” becomes meaningless when you consider that both words are based on competing needs. The only difference is one of scale. The competition for a human mate can be every bit as serious, harsh and violent, as the competition for survival or dominance among tribes and nations. Religion came along thousands upon thousands of years ago as mankind attempted to derive a system of principles that explained why this obvious competition among humans was necessary, and also required for it’s continuation. Following most religious beliefs, the righteous must be allowed to survive and procreate in some sort of comfort, and the not so righteous must be condemned to fail and die in misery. Interestingly, at any time, in almost all religions, humans can change from one identity to another. The righteous can be become not so righteous, by sinning. The not so righteous can return to the flock, by repenting and being punished or sacrificing something in return for forgiveness.

Where is love, and what is it?

Is it not the balm that allows the meeting of hard-edged, right there in your face, tremendous need? Is the fulfilling of such human survival needs not a form of love? In fact, is not the potential for the satisfaction of such needs inherent in true love, and does it not comprise the most intensely displayed forms of love? Is humanity adrift upon a vast sea of love? Or is it sailing along a practical course guided by a veritable ocean of needs, all the while disguising these craven and earthly needs as love? To be “in love” is almost universally agreed to be separate and distinct from simply loving another person. Would “being in love” not be more honestly described as “being in hope?” There seems little doubt that it feels better for everyone to believe in love, and being in love, rather than allowing the word “need” to overshadow all human behavior. Warmth is a vital component of physical and psychological human health; there can be no questioning that. The word need is a cold word. It feels much better to believe in God as a loving creator, than to think of the invention of this entity as being merely a human-seeming construct detectable only to certain few acolytes who are funding their own needs. It feels much better to be out here, afloat on this planet in the warm waters of a Sea of Love, rather than bobbing atop a seething ocean tossed about by random needs and deadly waves of dreadful violent potential.

Nostalgia brought on the share of Phil Phillips
and his Sea of Love



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