Making sense of love and sex

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This website tries to make sense of love and sex, the only aspects of life which make life worthwhile to live.

Please note that I talk of love and sex, not just of sex, as I consider as inferior those sexual relationships that are not accompanied by the emotion of love.

At the base of the understanding of love and sex, as it is promoted on this site, is a "materialistic" understanding of the world.

"Materialistic", in this context, does not mean: driven by concerns for material benefit.

The materialism I refer to is a philosophical concept, built on the conviction that for everything that happens in the world, even in the realm of love and sex, there is a cause in the material world, and this cause can be investigated and understood. This is what science is all about.

Furthermore, once causes have been investigated and understood, such causes can be reenacted, or created. This is when we take the step from science to technology, and engineering.

Science and technology are applicable to the emotion of missing a loved person no less than they are to the construction of bridges over the Mississippi river. Which is why the first series of articles I ever wrote on love and sex was headlined "Engineering love". These early attempts are online at the domain:

The opposite of philosophical materialism is philosophical idealism. Now, this idealism doesn't refer to us being idealistic in that we try to build a better world, or, on a lower scale, a working long-term love relationship. Philosophical idealism refers to the idea that there is something outside the material world, on which the material world depends.

"Idealism is the doctrine that ideas, or thought, make up either the whole or an indispensable aspect of any full reality, so that a world of material objects containing no thought either could not exist as it is experienced, or would not be fully "real." Idealism is often contrasted with materialism, both belonging to the class of monist as opposed to dualist or pluralist ontologies. (Note that this contrast between idealism and materialism has to do with the question of the nature of reality as such ? it has nothing to do with advocating high moral standards, or the like.)"

I am not a philosophical idealist. I am a philosophical materialist. I understand that humans, though not all of them, can understand what happens in the world.

As they say: the proof of the pudding is in eating it. Or, the proof of our understanding is that we can make it. This applies equally to constructing bridges and to constructing optimal relationships of love and sex. However, there is an important twist to all of this. It is not just that, in as much as we understand the world, we can create it, but that, whether we understand the world or not, it always also creates us.

To illustrate this, let me refer to the naturalist science of the 19th century, and the effects it had on our opinions of life.

When Darwin summarized the emerging knowledge on the origin of species, and when, subsequently, humans developed the knowledge of genetic engineering, it wasn't just that we got better in shaping our world. Our new technologies also reflected back on us in no small dimension. Idealism took a major blow. And again, idealism will take another blow when medical science will have advanced to a stage, as it surely will, when in principle, it can afford humans an indefinite life span.

>Alas, we are not quite there yet.

But regardless of when our technologies will have sufficiently evolved for this exciting prospect, the fact remains that it is our technologies, or (to use an older, and wider, designation) our modes of production that shape our opinions, and that only with sufficient cognition, we can see beyond this.

Just as our knowledge on the origin of species has important roots in 19th century philosophy, so does our understanding of the manner in which our modes of production reflect back on our minds.

The following is quoted from the preface of Karl Marx' "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy", written in 1859:

"The general conclusion at which I arrived and which, once reached, became the guiding principle of my studies can be summarized as follows. In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness."

In the original German version, the above quote reads like this:

"Das allgemeine Resultat, das sich mir ergab und, einmal gewonnen, meinen Studien zum Leitfaden diente, kann kurz so formuliert werden: In der gesellschaftlichen Produktion ihres Lebens gehen die Menschen bestimmte, notwendige, von ihrem Willen unabhaengige Verhaeltnisse ein, Produktionsverhaeltnisse, die einer bestimmten Entwicklungsstufe ihrer materiellen Produktivkraefte entsprechen. Die Gesamtheit dieser Produktionsverhaeltnisse bildet die oekonomische Struktur der Gesellschaft, die reale Basis, worauf sich ein juristischer und politischer Ueberbau erhebt und welcher bestimmte gesellschaftliche Bewuusstseinsformen entsprechen. Die Produktionsweise des materiellen Lebens bedingt den sozialen, politischen und geistigen Lebensprozess ueberhaupt. Es ist nicht das Bewusstsein der Menschen, das ihr Sein, sondern umgekehrt ihr gesellschaftliches Sein, das ihr Bewusstsein bestimmt."

You can read an explanation, written more than 70 years ago, through the following link Society and Mind in Marxian Philosophy

While I refer to Karl Marx, I suggest that in order to evaluate his philosophical ideas, we better dispose of all that socialist junk that is associated with his name, and that we also better disregard his Communist activism (which was fashionable among the intellectual avant-garde during his times).

I also want to point out that his analysis of everybody belonging to a social class, the interests of which are reflected in his consciousness and ideologies, had more appeal in the 19th century but is less applicable to the more pluralistic and globalized present.

Nevertheless, it remains true that while on a social level, everybody's consciousness and ideology is a representation of the modes of production, this consciousness and ideology is, on an individual level, a representation, or simply a rationalization, of a person's interests.

I myself, of course, cannot escape the fact that my own ideology, too, is a representation of both, current technologies and my individual interests. However, I have at least a certain degree of awareness of this interdependence.

So, then, what are the salient aspects of technology, or the modes of production, that are represented in the ideas spread out on this domain?

I assume that my sexual philosophy is appropriate for a world in which basic economic needs are easily fulfilled. People don't have to worry about what they will eat next winter. Likewise, my ideology is appropriate for a world in which basic healthcare is affordable.

Thus people do not have one-on-one relationships out of economic considerations (with the sex part serving the purpose of siring offspring, rather than that of sexual satisfaction). More specifically, the sexual philosophy outlined on this domain represents a world in which females do not enter sexual relationships for purposes other than sexual desire. Women in the modern world have this privilege, which historically they were afforded only seldom, because they no longer have to align themselves with men for protection or out of economic necessity.

There is another important aspect of the human mode of production which liberates women from the task of seeking a man just for the purpose of having one. Medical technology has entered a stage in which it can assure those females who do everything right from the age of about 20, that they will never look older than in their mid-30s, even when they are 30 years older. Thus, women are under very little pressure to find a man at a young age, and for a life-long relationship, simply because they do not want to be alone when they are old. As they anyway stay sexually attractive until an advanced age, it doesn't make much of a difference whether they are 22 or 44. Women who are intellectually capable will always find an attractive man for an intimate relationship.

While I can see women in large numbers adapting to that new world order, and adopting the ideology laid out on this domain, men may have more ambivalent feelings towards it. Men with a competitive edge (among whom I would expect to find myself) will find my ideology appropriate, as it will serve their sexual interests. In a world, in which women select men along criteria of sexual attractiveness, those men who are among the sexually most attractive can have love relationships with many women, and the most beautiful ones.

On the other hand, men with a low sexual market value will likely hesitate to support the analysis offered on this domain.

They will find all kinds of excuses not to support it, and even flee into idealistic models of the world. But their idealistic ideology will often have its foundation in the fact that restricting female promiscuity serves their sexual interests, rather than in a genuine philosophical conviction. Many will be pretenders, consciously or unconsciously, because traditionalistic and idealistic models of the world serve their sexual interests.

In contrast to a materialistic, competition-centered model of the world, the traditionalistic, idealistic model may, for men, be much more egalitarian.

By imposing strict rules on the allocation of women among men, and by demanding a fairly high level of commitment, the idealistic, traditionalistic model avoids that a large number of men with a lesser sexual market value go empty-handed (or empty-bedded).

This explains why an idealistic and traditionalistic model of the world is so attractive to male migrants to Western societies, especially when the home countries of these male migrants (often in the second generation) follow an idealistic, traditionalistic path. In Western societies, their sexual market value is low, and they dream of revenge, and a less competitive world in which they are assured, or even allocated, their sexual outlet.

Women, of course, are not really asked in idealistic, traditionalistic societies. And while I can understand the appeal, the idealistic, traditionalistic model has for men of lesser sexual market value, the fact that it does not reward appropriately those men who would enjoy a substantial edge in a more competitive environment, means that idealistic, traditionalistic societies will, economically, fall ever further behind.

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