Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
It's not a thing. It will be a thing.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Love RDA

A reccomended daily amount of love
  (+5, -2)
(+5, -2)
  [vote for,

Yes, you heard me. Why is there no reccomended daily amount of love? There's an RDA for nearly everything else. Well, the obvious response to that question would be "what could one measure the love in?"

Before I can even create a recipie for my halfbaked RDA, I need to first quantify and then create a standard measurement of love. How would one go about quantifying something that fits under the mode of speech "abstract noun"? I'd really like to answer that one. For years I've been trying to pinpoint exactly what love is, despite reading hundreds of varying definitions and inspirational posters, I remain no closer to that goal than I have ever been. Most people who understand English know what the word "love" means at least in theoretical terms - a strong sense of affection and closeness towards something or someone. Being an emotion, it is obviously difficult for nerds such as myself to fully comprehend on a conceptual basis. Somehow, it is possible to experience love without entirely understanding it.

So, to get back to the point: Anthropologically speaking, love is an incentive to mate; to contribute to the species. It is influenced, if not entirely created, by hormones and pheremones (possibly even including oxytocin) that, when combined, generate a pleasing sensation and a flood of those ever-desired endorphins that tell humans to keep doing whatever it is they're doing. Humans, masters of evolution that they are, have based most of their society around this poorly-understood emotion and have elevated and glorified it beyond the "keep-the-species-going" chemicals it once was. Following this logic, one could define love as "overglorified endorphins that encourage procreation".

Having identified that love is essentially chemical, rather than attempt to quantify the emotion itself, one could simply use the hormones that CREATE* love and measure those instead. In, say, cubic centimetres per second (CC/S), referring to the amount of love-inducing hormones in the bloodstream on average at any one second. Of course, one would have to perform a lot of hormone tests to determine control and indentifying the normal, "default" amount of these hormones exist in the blood anyway before testing to discover roughly how much is produced as a result of, say, exposure to one's favourite smell, film or actor before finally performing tests on those who are "in love" (a term that is, in itself, difficult to consistently define) both in the presence and absence of the object of their affections.

Finally, after having ascertained roughly how much love (by which I refer to relevant hormones thereof) in CC/S maintains the average human at a satisfactory emotional state, one could finally determine a consistent and measurable minimum amount of love any one human should experience per day to maintain a healthy emotional and mental state. Following this, if said love could not be acquired through family or friends, one could reccomend certain items that induce the necessary hormones, such as kittens or romantic films, and the length of exposure required to obtain the minimum daily amount of love. Failing that, having already identified the exact chemicals involved, one could simply administer through a syringe or oral pill the required cubic centimetres of said chemicals.

Of course, this notion of a reccomended daily amount of love could work in reverse: in addition to a minimum, perhaps it would also be advisable to introduce a maximum in CC/S a human should produce per day. After all, too much of this much-discussed "love" can easily cloud one's mind.

I am aware that this idea is thoroughly flawed on a practical level, but I tried my best to get it to work theoretically. Critiscisms, corrections, praise and general comments will all be delightedly accepted.


*Any way of using italics on this website?

Angua, Nov 23 2009

If you'll excuse the self-promotion... http://www.jkp.com/...843106302/contents/
The appendix to this book goes into this sort of thing. [pertinax, Nov 24 2009]


       // *Any way of using italics on this website?   

       No - mostly because otherwise, we'll spend a few annotations on each idea that uses italics explaining how to use them.   

       That trick of using the names of complicated emergent properties for some of their constituents is so 1980ies.
jutta, Nov 23 2009

       Point taken.   

       EDIT: Well, I did break it up, but as it turns out my usual paragraphing format doesn't work and Halfbakery requires double-spacing to consider something satisfactorily paragraphed.
Angua, Nov 23 2009

       Would a hug suffice?
blissmiss, Nov 23 2009

       + for effort. And in situations where italics would be useful, I do *this*.
DrWorm, Nov 24 2009

       Blissmiss, a hug might suffice for some. The exact method would vary from human to human.
Angua, Nov 24 2009

       You'll need to think in terms of matrices, rather than scalar quantities. See link.   

       For the "kittens and romantic films" part of the system, you may find that the hormone oxytocin is relevant, but there are other variables too.   

       Also, you may find it helpful to distinguish between, on the one hand, being systematic and, on the other hand, being objective. The two things are often confused. Being systematic is vital for nerds such as ourselves, but being objective is sometimes unhelpful. The great trick is to devise ways to be systematic about the subjective data available to you.   

       And welcome, kindred spirit.
pertinax, Nov 24 2009

       Firstly, after reading a few sections on Google book preview (thanks for the link), well done on writing such a brilliant book, [pertinax]! Secondly, I think I might buy it myself...seriously, I'm currently under assessment for an ASD of some form, most likely Asperger's syndrome.   

       Thank you for the constructive anno', as a result of which I shall reconsider my theory, conduct further research and, if possible, update my halfbaked idea.   

       I am glad to be among you.
Angua, Nov 24 2009

       Welcome, your honorary two cups of coffee will be ready in a halfbaked minute. (that would be somewhere around the year 2012, not so precisely at the strike of 12:02 ).
blissmiss, Nov 24 2009

       The biggest problem, which you apparently appreciate, is the quantitative measurement of love. I'm not sure about using hormones, though. Morphine equivalents, possibly.
ldischler, Nov 24 2009

       I'm always surprised at the willingness of individuals to propose and adopt repressive and conformist strategies of external governance. Isn't love, of all things, an inherently individual need, filled by inherently unique mechanisms? I can think of nothing less likely to be effectively standardized, or with less unpleasant results. This idea receives a most vehement bone from me.
WcW, Nov 24 2009

       Love is indeed an individual need, but most individuals experience it under similar circumstances, for nearly the same reasons and definately due to the same chemicals. Hunger is also an individual need, satisfied by varying foods but essentially the same in its original evolved purpose and in the actual circumstances of its occurance. Ergo, love is as conformist as hunger; the need to consistently quantify and measure it is a simple human urge, the same urge that caused humans to quantify and measure time, which appears subjective to the individual, despite the fact that one second for [blissmiss] lasts exactly as long as one second for [pertinax].   

       I apologise. I am just rambling about time now.
Angua, Nov 24 2009

       Quantification is fine. A recommended daily allowance goes far beyond a simple measurement. An RDA in food sets parameters for what is and is not a starvation diet. It is considered a good guideline in storing food for emergencies and providing for dietary need. It is recognized by dietitians that even the most precise dietary plan is not as effective as the biological system of intake regulation, the end organism must be allowed to regulate their consumption sometimes at surplus and deficit to the daily allotment. The salt packet (or other salty ingredient) in a packaged food ration is far in excess of the RDA of sodium simply because salt excretion level of an individual varies from day to day and allowances must be made for this variation. (needless to say there are other examples) It is well recognized that the regulatory systems in the human body are calibrated differently in each individual. This is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors and has been extensively documented in mice and other mammalian models. This difference in calibration partly explains why drug activity varies widely and why some people are more prone to addiction and mental illness (as well as a thousands of other differences). In one individual a given concentration of dopamine in a localized area of the brain could be normal and in another that level could be elevated or depressed. Further there are cognitive systems that are also involved in perception and mood. My conclusion is that focusing on forcing brain chemistry into a "normal" state is actually fighting against the adaptive development of the brain. It would be far better to simply ask   

       "is there a set of activities (a K ration so to speak) which if made available to individuals would help keep them emotionally healthy"
WcW, Nov 24 2009

       //Well, the obvious response to that question would be "what could one measure the love in?"//   

       a loving spoonful?
squirrelecule, Sep 12 2010


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle