Monday, September 5, 2011
The Economics of Love
A while ago, I wrote a post called "Low Expectations..." which was about the economics of disappointment. I suppose it's time to cheer up the scene with something different. I made the point in that article that disappointment is a waste of time. It does not motivate any sort of action, or change, and does not make your psyche feel better or worse. The opposite could be said for love. Which may seem strange. At least, to me, love and anger, or love and sadness, seem like they should be opposites. But there is a lot of similarity across them. Mainly, something is GAINED from all three. Whether that be knowledge about who you are (what makes you happy, sad, etc..), or whether it be knowledge on how deal with others (someone makes you furious...). Disappointment does none of this. But love is more powerful than anger or sadness, because both of those feelings can be captured there.
I have had 2 experiences this year that truly made me appreciate this emotion. (No details... Sorry gossip-queens). And in the words of Joni Mitchell, "You don't know what you got till it's gone." Alright, edit that: ALMOST gone. It was only when faced with the prospect of losing what was there, that I found myself acting and performing feats that I never thought I would. The ACTIONS love springs can be so sudden and powerful, you don't realize what you did or said till later, and sometimes you don't do the best things. But you always DO something. You might say love is the perfect incentive. And another economics oddity is shown here. People are given more sadness by losing something than they are given happiness by gaining it. I don't know if Ms. Mitchell knew that when she wrote that lyric, but I think she got it pretty good.
It seems wrong that such a wonderful thing as love should lead to pain, as it often does. But pain, even emotional, passes. The human body and mind are engineered to sustain a lot of brute force, you know. Love, so long as you don't purposefully kill it, is always there. The sadness from love and losing, I believe, comes from making incorrect associations. Let's say you lose someone dear to you or you will no longer be able to "do the things you once did," as people say. Our first reaction is, "Oh, I can't have any more hamburger's with Larry! My love is gone." But did you love eating hamburgers with Larry? Sure, you enjoyed it. However, that memory or event wouldn't be as memorable or important if you didn't ALREADY love Larry. It has nothing to do with WHAT you did together. Take any of those memories with someone you love, that you BELIEVE are WHY you loved a person. Replace your loved one with someone else, even someone you find attractive, or funny, or admirable. While the events don't become un-enjoyable, do you suddenly love this new person? NO. There is no equation to love. It's intangible and can't be created willfully.
So let's put it in econ terms? Love requires no inputs. It was no costs, since sadness and anger can actually be positive things to feel. It is in infinite supply, too. You can't over-use it. In fact, the more love you feel, the more it builds. And it will give the ability to motivate yourself to do great things. Love is the world's greatest resource.
Loving is more important than being loved. If you do love, be thankful, even if it hurts you sometimes. Even if it makes you feel vulnerable or "weak" or embarrassed. You have something that not many do. You have the ability to tap into this incredible resource and do amazing things that require more than just hard work and skills. But now look at me. I'm turning love into a thing to be analyzed and used. I stand by all that I just wrote, but please, the more important point awaits. And this point doesn't take as long to explain.
If you love someone, make sure he or she knows it, even if it's awkward. Make sure that person knows you're never really gone, even when it seems like you are. Make sure you don't try and forget and that you always miss him or her, even just a tiny bit. Make sure the love you felt and feel makes you a better person than before, even when it's difficult. Never shy away from your feelings and hide your passion. You will always regret your actions with the ones who never knew. And what if you don't get these things back? Well, friend, smile, be brave, be good, and never give up on love.