Romance

I was thinking today about how romance appears to be a neocortex hack over the limbic system and reptilian brain (triune brain theory).

So romance is the stories we (our neocortices) tell ourselves to trick our lower brains into artificially inflating the value of our partner.

Consider:

“I searched for you beneath a thousand stars”

sounds better than:

“I fucked you in a nightclub toilet because we were both drunk and horny.”

Also:

“After so many years I found you — my destiny, my one true love”

sounds better than:

“We met through friends. I settled because I’m getting on a bit and I’m worried about my eggs.”

If a man buys his fiancée a $50,000 engagement ring, well, “She must be worth at least $50,000.”

The neocortex can use stories to attach extra value symbols to people and things. These symbols can fire the reward circuits (the lower brains). A good example of a neocortex symbol firing reward circuitry is money. Money is a concept only existing in the neocortex, yet it can inspire fear or motivation as well as a physical threat or enticement.

So with romance we take something pleasurable (sex, company, affection) and make it into a story with extra symbols to get free “hits”. Greedy. 🙂

The problem here is that, when the partner is lost, you lose all the extra investment you attached to them, too. You don’t just lose them — you lose the story, laced with its myriad reward circuit–baiting symbols. The more you lose, the more it hurts. And to explain the loss, you will have to create a new story — usually one involving them being an absolute shit. Since how else could you have lost so much?

Of course, the romance story also binds the relationship to time. It means the symbol can act as an ongoing calming agent for the lower brains, so they can stand down from high alert. The story also establishes social boundaries and expectations by declaring the resource claim or agreement. So it is multi-purpose.

But wait, let’s turn it around

What if the neocortex in this case is not creative, but reactive?

Maybe the emotions emanating from the lower brains are so strong that the neocortex is compelled to interpret them by immediately confabulating a convoluted yarn, to account for the why?, when? and how?, and therefore maintain causality.

Perhaps a bit of both is going on. Both processes take place and feedback into each other (co-creating systems).

Perhaps all of this just happens — there is no inherent separation between the processes, and the separations we apply to it are simply the world view of the left hemisphere.

This is a good example of how the only model that can describe a system fully is the system itself — and how the same phenomenon can be understood in an infinite number of different ways (model agnosticism, zeteticism).

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10 Responses

  1. Pat says:

    hey Illuminatus, I spoke to you on skype back in november about oneitis. I recently realized that if I become aware of myself assigning unrealistic value to a girl, I can prevent the oneitis from starting. Is this an example of an effective use of awareness of one’s own reality editings, and a reliable way of avoiding oneitis problems in the future?

    • Illuminatus says:

      Hi Pat,

      Awareness is definitely the foundation. What you’re doing at the moment is interrupting those unconscious processes which would have you put the girl on a pedestal.

      It gets harder once you’re having sex with a girl regularly, though, because the emotions become a lot more intense and start to revolve around other aspects of her — e.g. whereas before they might have focused on how “special” she is, now it might be more about how “loyal” she is. The stories change as the emotions shift and, especially if you’re new to it, many “values” WILL get under the radar.

      It can take quite a few iterations (“relationships”) before getting a semi-reliable handle on this. So don’t beat yourself up if mistakes are made.

      (Quote marks in that reply were to show concepts rather than sarcasm.)

  2. Vysotsky says:

    Illuminatus,

    Since a few weeks, I’ve been feeling the urge to fantasize about my old one-itis and searching for her on the web. It’s confusing, because I thought I was already processing the emotions which are associated with her.
    In fact, I’m not physically attracted to her, nor do I want to meet her (or I know, this is an unrealistic thought) and I’m aware that I don’t know her real personality.
    Is the girl still an one-itis or is this another issue?

    • Illuminatus says:

      Look into Carl Jung’s “Anima”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anima_and_animus

      My own idea about it is that the traits you try to demonstrate to her in your fantasies are the same traits you wish to be acknowledged for by the world (or at least your community or tribe). So the traits embody the contribution you wish to make to your community — or are even “supposed” to be making, if you believe in destiny or predetermined roles. E.g. in my anima fantasies I often talk to her about the very ideas I write on here. Then I take that as my cue to actually make that contribution.

      Maybe none of this applies to you; I don’t know. It depends what your fantasies contain. I would be interested to hear though, if you wanted to share.

      In my experience, getting over one girl just leads to the anima form being replaced by another girl. The cycle continues in perpetuity. That’s why I instead focus on outputting the TRAITS from the fantasies, and take the anima as being a guide on what I’m “meant” to be contributing to the world.

      In celebration of her ever-changing form, I wrote the following piano piece: https://soundcloud.com/bobby-badass/anima-whichever-form-you-take

  3. Vysotsky says:

    Wow! Really amazing tunes.

    “Maybe none of this applies to you; I don’t know. It depends what your fantasies contain. I would be interested to hear though, if you wanted to share.”

    Sure!
    Sometimes I imagine that I’m talking to her about my experiences with psychology/society/etc. (what I care about) or I’m giving her advice. I have some good (but not concrete) memories of her, she was interested in me (as a friend), but that interest affected me later as a drug. I didn’t love her. I loved her attachment and openness to me.

    Nowadays when I’m browsing among her pictures, messages, or blog posts, I feel a similar sensation (this is true for the fantasies, too).
    About a week ago I sent a mail to her, wherein I thanked her for the help to become a better person. But I think it was an “Ego Game” and I had narcissistic motivations.

    • Vysotsky says:

      “Nowadays when I’m browsing among her pictures, messages, or blog posts, I feel a similar sensation (this is true for the fantasies, too).”

      But I don’t want her as a girlfriend, so she’s not a “classical ” one-itis.

    • Illuminatus says:

      “Sometimes I imagine that I’m talking to her about my experiences with psychology/society/etc. (what I care about) or I’m giving her advice.”

      Okay, so based on what I wrote in my last reply, this means you want to be valued (by people in general) for your insights in psychology/society. You also want to give people advice, be a teacher, contribute to your tribe; be an elder. Giving her advice specifically tends towards a more paternal role. I believe we men are hardwired to want to fulfil these roles. Your fantasy is practically identical to mine.

      “But I don’t want her as a girlfriend, so she’s not a “classical ” one-itis.”

      I don’t think there is a “classical” oneitis. Oneitis, in my opinion, is never about having her as a girlfriend. It is always about either:

      – Being a father to her (representing what you want to GIVE)
      – Her being a mother to you (representing what you want to RECEIVE, in terms of approval, love, being valued etc.)

      I don’t believe oneitis was ever about sex, or wanting a girlfriend. I believe it was always about core values being represented in a human archetypal form.

  4. Illuminatus says:

    There’s a yin and yang thing where it’s always both. But you want it to be more paternal.

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