Now I’m all hobbling around in pain. Which reminded me of something I’ve observed several times, but haven’t commented on yet – when I’m ill or injured, I feel the emotion of love more strongly.
Not constantly, of course. Mostly I’m grumpy and achy. But when I’m around others I feel a greater desire to interact with them. I feel more warmth at that interaction, and a great deal more happiness when talking with or being around others. Touch is especially nice. I even feel a heightened level of love and affection for my SO (who, presumably, I love all the time).
This seems to simply be the other side of the much-publicized studies that show The Powerful feel less empathy. When you have power you don’t need other people as much, so you simply care less for them. For the most part I’m doing alright. I have a decent job which I feel secure in, and enough money for all my basic needs/wants. I’m a white male in a society that gives huge privileges to white males. I live in a safe neighborhood in a stable country, and I’m still young and healthy and (I’ve been told) somewhat attractive. I don’t really feel I need others in a visceral sense (even though I know that I do, intellectually), and thus the intensity of my emotional attachment to others is muted.
But every now and then I get sick. Or I suffer some injury. And all of a sudden everyone is wonderful, people are the best things ever, and I love all my friends and family. This seems to me to be alliance-strengthening behavior, in times when it is biologically obvious I need some allies! The blatantly exploitative nature of my emotions is embarrassing. As is their short-sightedness. This is the least appealing time to have me as an ally. My emotions should have been cementing alliances back when I was strong, and a desirable ally to have! It’s a bit late now! “Digging the well after your home has already caught fire”, as my parents would say (they’re from the Old Country).
But evolution is a short-sighted and stupid creator. Mainly I just feel frustration at being reminded that yes, I am just a conglomeration of hormones and chemicals that act subconsciously in ways that tend to ensure my genetic survival, rather than in ways I would consider morally or intellectually appropriate. Evolution ain’t ethical, and my surge of love is another damned example of it. I guess I should try to enjoy it while I can. It’s nice to feel that warmth among others coming so easily for a while.