Evolutionary theory, along with today’s testicular dissection has made me a total love fatalist.
I visited the long-distance better-half last weekend in Chicago, and remember specifically thinking, “Love can’t be just a chemical. My feelings are too strong, too real, too powerful.” Love is almost always portrayed in our culture as not just a feeling of one person, but a connection between two people and their relationship. If you’re “in love,” it’s with someone else. It’s always “I love you,” or “we love each other.” People rarely talk about “feeling love,” the way they might describe themselves as feeling “sad” or “angry.”
But then today we were dissecting the abdomen and scrotum, and I had one of those depressing, “there goes the mystery of life” events again. More and more I just feel like we’re all just organic robots. Living cyborgs. We’ve got circuits that pull levers, flip switches, and sound alarms. But now I’m starting to wonder if we’re all just destined for some endless, meaningless reproductive cycle. I cut through a stranger’s scrotum today, ripped out a testicle from his body, and let it just hang outside his body for all to see. I started to get this strange feeling–it’s fleeting now–that we’re just organic robots with one sole purpose: to screw. I use said term as opposed to one of its more pleasant euphemisms because I’m curious how much of our emotions are really just tricks our lower brains play on us to keep us reproducing.
Is there love? Or is it just a chemical process euphoric enough to (hopefully) keep us with a mate long enough to mate and raise a child of our own lineage? Maybe we’re just evolutionarily advanced breeding dogs. We’re clearly built with certain parts in mind. (The penis in lab today seemed completely stripped of its cultural and societal contexts and symbols; I couldn’t help but view it with only evolutionary function: what men use to get their sperm into women.) Maybe culture, thought, philosophy, language, society, and art only get in the way of our one true duty: to reproduce. Maybe love (and hormones) are just a bunch of dirty little tricks so that we don’t spend all of our time thinking and pondering the human condition or watching televsion. It’s kind of counterintuitive from what society teaches, but maybe they’re just there to make sure our bodies keep on the evolutionary track.