I used to believe love was cultural. I had learned about how young romantic love is to Western societies, and though I have felt it myself thought my own experience was a result of my membership in modern culture.

Presently, though, I think there’s more to it. As we learn more about the human animal, it’s increasingly clear that social bonds are so critical to our survival that we are wired to seek connection.

While we could consign that need for connection to Platonic bonds and group membership, this is too Cartesian. We are not purely rational agents, and the emotions we bundle as “romantic” are as much a part of our humanity as the calculation that we are safer in tribes. Most of the many sensations we describe as love are, I now believe, fundamental parts of the human experience.

I still think monogomy is cultural. Which does not demean it; pairing is a great approach to encouraging social cohesion by balancing the risks of passion and jealousy.

I posted this in September 2022 during week 2533.

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