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A member on here, recently asked. Does love exist ? I have now got to a more considered, if sadly longer, sorry, response to the question, which some of you with time to waste may like to read, which is.

By defining love as any emotion or instinct which leads to social bonding behaviours, not directly linked to mating, then, certainly yes. Since as I understand the science, then at least in the most basic forms of, for example, pair bonding and care for offspring, it evolved a minimum of three different times, probably many more, in at least three different groups of animal, mammals, birds, and fish. Which would be strong evidence that it is caused by quite a strong underlying natural law.

That is the science so far, but I would make personal speculations beyond that, and say.
It is interesting, that it never seems to have evolved in amphibians or reptiles, at least not the modern ones. Perhaps because it does seem, that even the pair bond type of love, is related to, and only evolves, in species which exhibit continuing care for their offspring. It could be that pair bonding is a needed adaption in species that care long term for offspring, but it could also be, that it is at the same time a useful spin-off from parental affections which did not need therefore to evolve separately, just kept. Since nature is always thrifty with adaptations, often making one mechanism serve many roles. ( Our noses help us to breath, smell and taste, while elephants even use them to manipulate as well, birds use feathers to fly, keep warm and display etc. ) And while therefore love may have evolved mainly to serve the use of parental care, the same mechanism may also have co-evolved other uses, at the same time, to enable pair bonding and other social bonds to form, such as the love of mutual supporters. ( Friends and allies. ) All of which enhanced social networking, and would therefore be very useful to animals giving long term care to offspring.

And there is some evidence that you are looking at only one mechanism, since love often expresses itself in the same ways for different groups in our social circle. We don't notice that, because it seems banal and obvious so we never give it a thought, but it is a notable thing that we actually express different forms of love/affection in the same ways. For example, we kiss our children, our sexual partners and our friends. Whereas if we were dealing with three separate instincts, which separately, it would be at least plausible to expect different expressions, such as, groom your children, kiss your mate, hug your friends, all exclusively. Whereas in fact, apes for example, commonly use grooming as a bonding behaviour with friends, offspring, and sexual partners. While in the case in of, for example, the fish called Cichlids, many species of which, mouth brood, or in other words keep their offspring safe by holding them in their mouths. Yet it is also a commonplace in the same genera to kiss sexual partners, in other words to use the same organ in a similar way, to express interest in both offspring and sexual partners. And there are probably many more examples.

So yes, I would say that all the evidence supports the idea that not only does love exist, objectively and outside of human culture, but that it is a natural emergent property of evolution, as is social behaviour generally. Reached by evolution several times in different larger complex animals, and therefore following inevitably from natural laws.

Fernapple 9 May 30

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Yeah, I'll buy that.


Hey Richard
I was reading this last night in a 5 mnt break at work , and no time to write a word , plus , realized , had no words in any language to put my thoughts tghr . I saved the post to revisit .
Reading it again this afternoon , but time still an issue , getting ready for work soon .
Thinking .
Here is what I got to bring , that’s what I see for “ love “. I am gonna skip 40 yrs of using the word , walking the walks and singing the songs , nothing sticks out in my mind like “ great testimony of love “. Hello and good byes , sharing / itching / scratching . I ll give u this :
Last Thursday night , I got a page that they bringing me a 67 yr old lady , direct admission from eastern shore hospital .
Coming to me at 2300, after spending whole day at ER there , her primary care seen her labs after a routine visit , and told her to pack a bag and go to the hospital . Labs did look hideous indeed , kidney failure like no other , in a person without any apparent reason for such diagnosis .
The word was multiple myeloma , and the lady I received it was a hot mess of emotions , scare , anxiety , questions , and physical exhaustion.
Shortly after she arrived and situated and hooked up to everything , energency dialysis was the word , and 300 monkeys jumping around to prepare access , this and that and the other .
Every body got a piece of her body to work on it , and my job is to coordinate it all . And keep her alive . My lady was soft spoken , cordial and kinda quiet .
The first real words we exchanged in privacy btwen monkeys jumping and people in and out , were these :
“ this is gonna be stabilized the next 24 hrs ma’am and we gonna figure it out . Breathe and tell me what can I do to get u to smile “
_” coucho . I worry about coucho Mara . He is home alone . I called my sons but they won’t get there until tmrw . Do I have cancer ? What’s gonna happen to coucho . Coucho won’t make it without me , coucho is my worry right now “
Richard , that’s love . Coucho is a 6 yr old dog of hers and they live tght in her old house .
That lady couldn’t give a f about anything else , life included , besides coucho .
I have this to bring to the post . Coucho is loved . And anyone who is cared like that .
And I have to get ready for work 🙄

You are a wonder.


"Hugging and other forms of nonsexual touching cause your brain to release oxytocin, known as the "bonding hormone." This stimulates the release of other feel-good hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, while reducing stress hormones, such as cortisol and norepinephrine. These neurochemical changes make you feel happier and less stressed. Research suggests that being touched can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure, lessen depression and anxiety, boost your immune system, and even relieve pain."


Although that quote refers to non-sexual touch sex affects neurotransmitters in a similar way. BDSM causes so much release of neurotransmitters that many practitioners feel a significant drop within a day or two similar to that experienced by club drug users described as "suicide Tuesdays" and may cry for what appears to be no reason.

The lack of touch may be one of the reasons social distancing in the time of this pandemic has been so brutal on our mental health.

MizJ Level 8 May 30, 2022

That adds much to the post, interesting thank you.

@Fernapple You're welcome. You might enjoy watching lectures by Robert Sapolsky of Stanford Univ., there are plenty on YouTube.


Can I surmise that cold-blooded species are also cold-hearted?

Not at all. Many decades ago, I came across an article where a Japanese fishing boat rescued a woman whose vessel had sunk. The was buoyed in the water by what appeared to be an oil barrel, but as the rescue vessel drew closer, they saw she was being supported and kept alive by a large sea turtle. Once the woman was safe, the turtle disappeared into the depths. Also, films show alligator mothers to be quite caring of their young, at least in some species.


Do two or more searches.

  1. What does a man who loves a woman do?

  2. What does a woman who loves a man do?

  3. You can devise other searches, like “What does Donald Trump do?”


Love is an emotion but in the long run is a decision. When you decide to love someone you know it was greater than lust.


I love bacon cheeseburgers! I know most people probably don’t approve of my perversions with pigs and cows, but the attraction is very real to me?! 👀

Buck Level 7 May 30, 2022

I simply could not be bothered to respond to such an inane and pointless question, hence my erstwhile silence in that regard.

I remain silent, therefore I am. Lol

You probably have a great deal more sense than me.


IMO, Our relations with everything are based on our Interests.
Love means the desire to Whom or What can secure, provide and answer our needs & Interests. then A Good relationship is when both sides care about the other one's needs & Interests as well.
I think any other definition is just a big Lie/Misunderstanding like GOD.
To me, it's the most selfish/self-oriented behavior/desire we have! like a business, things are stable till we can make and keep a good balance and a win-win situation for both sides of a relationship.
this can simply explain the childhood complexes, our social bonds, hormone-driven behaviors and ...etc.
even when with heroic behavior and sacrifices we answer another greatest desire.
to me, it's kinda another side of survival instinct.

Diaco Level 7 May 30, 2022

Yes that is why I made my definition very broard to include just about any form of affection.

We are rarely going to love someone who is against our own interests. I hardly see that as selfish behavior

@twill people change during the time, that's why we have break-ups
and divorces. not just in relationships, but in businesses, social relations... everywhere! even here, we have the block/unfriend options.
Oh, being selfish/self-oriented isn't bad in general, it's the key to the survival instinct.
the issue with being selfish is what's the Cost!? Do we have to pay it from someone else Interests?!
this's where Law, Morality, ...etc try to regulate our selfish/self-oriented desires, to keep society's bonds stable and functional.


Yes, I think you have a point about love being an emotion or instinct that has evolved in humans and animals that care for their young. Perhaps going a bit further, that same kind of love and caring can extend to the larger community of alternate caregivers and those dependent on them, and life partners or romantic interests. Those kinds of love are often reciprocal though not always. True love, that is mutually felt might be the unicorn, but some lucky people find that as well, not just dependence, but love.

But I feel that love can also be extended to material and also intangible things, in the way of that we might love a piece of art that makes us feel good, or a place where we feel welcome and filled with awe and wonder, or music that makes our heart beat dance with joy, the smells of food that tastes good and make our bellies happy, and a lot of things that we can love, even though they don't love us back, except to give us that good feeling.


Do we not love what we have invested in, emotionally & physically? ( not financial)
Have we not invested in our offspring?

@Matias Well, I have art that I "like" but I also have art that I "love" because it resonates with me more deeply than other pieces. I guess the "love" and "like" are varying degrees of the same idea, much like the "like" and "love" buttons on this site...

The love of material things is definitely different than human love, where the human might love you back, and it's a delicate living breathing thing in that it needs to be nurtured but not smothered.

@Matias Oh, and my love for a piece of art, for example, isn't unrequited, because it rewards me and fills me with wonderful feelings, and doesn't change, so it's a safer bet for someone like me who is a bit unlucky with human love.

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