Question of the Day April 17, 2011 ~ Measure LOVE

Why can’t we measure LOVE?? Though we know we love our parents more & we love our neighbours less.

Interesting question.

Lots of aspects to it.
Essentially, love is a subjective experience, and like all subjective experiences it is in the instant, and can change from instant to instant, as the context of our awareness changes.

I know for myself, if I become aware that love is not present, it is usually relatively easy to change context and create an experience where love for self and/or another is present.

Another aspect is that love is not a single thing. The word is used for many different experiences.
There is the love of parents, as already mentioned. For most this tends to be very strong as children, weakens somewhat during teenage years, then returns in strength in later life.
There is the love of one’s children. Particularly for women, and also for many of us blokes, this is amazingly strong, particularly at birth, and remains relatively strong throughout life for most of us.
Then there is the romantic love for one’s spouse or “significant other”. If that other happens to live next door, it can be stronger than one’s love for parents 😉
Then there is love that is very much like empathy; a sort of kinship bond we feel through shared experiences.
A lot more things that fall under the title “love” that are at some levels quite distinctly different things.

One of the interesting things about subjective experience, is that we only ever really have the now.
Our memories give us referents to things past, and often they are altered in the remembering. Our memories are not nearly so reliable as most people think.

So our only way of measuring love, is in experiencing it, and in comparing experience with past experiences, as best we can.

An interesting question might be, why would we want to measure love?

Why not simply enjoy the experience of it, whatever and whenever it is?

[followed by]


I am truly shocked that you expected no disagreements from your musings 😉

I greatly enjoyed reading your musings, and was delighted by much of their content, and there is one area where we do seem to have fundamental disagreement. That area is around defining love, and your adoption of the Platonic “form” of love being an existent to which we align.

I see no evidence for such a thing.
Like all Platonic “forms” it seems to me to have been explained much more effectively by other mechanisms.

For me, what makes most sense, is that the alignment we feel is when we gain alignment of pattern at all levels of being.
Most of those levels are subconscious.
When we achieve this subconscious alignment, the feeling is of something huge and profound (which in a very real sense it is – the conscious being but a tiny fraction of the subconscious).

Thus, in my world, I can see why it may seem to be as you see it, and there is another explanation that seems to me to far more closely aligned with reality at more levels, that offers greater access to possibility for those who adopt it.

[followed by]

Hi OM and Deb

I’m really confused now.
I thought OM was being quite explicit when she said:
“I think of Divine Unconditional Love as one way of experiencing Being, one of its flavors, not a state of Being which can be moved in and out of. We move in and out of conscious awareness of it, but it’s always there, whether we are aware of it or not.”
If something is “always there” – it seems to me to have a sort of Platonic “form” aspect to it.

I should probably have been much more specific.

And agree with you Deb – I was not referring to “Platonic relationship” but rather one of Plato’s other notions, that of “forms”.

I can see now how what I wrote could easily have been misunderstood, but from the context I was thinking and writing at the time, it all seemed perfectly clear.

[followed by]

Kia Ora Deepak
Can only align with what you say.
I am not interested in measuring love either, as stated in my original post. And the question has lead us to an exploration of love outside of measurement as such.

Hi OM and Deb

I am wondering how much interest there is in exploring this further?

Our interpretive schema are so different.
For me, a radiation is a thing. Radiation is a type of energy, and energy and matter are, ultimately interchangeable. Each is an expression of the beingness of the universe according to the rules that seem to be operant.

From my reading of Plato, he seemed to be trying to come up with a general theory of knowing and of being.
Considering the starting point he had, he made some very interesting progress, and because his starting point was so limited, he made huge errors. He had little idea of cosmology, almost no idea of atomic structure, certainly no idea of sub-atomic structure or quantum theory, hence no real concept of chemistry or mass-energy, little idea of evolution by natural selection, no concept of DNA, RNA or sub-cellular structure or function.
He had no idea of information theory, computational theory, nor any practice in complex computational systems. So in that situation, what for me constitutes essentially a vacuum of knowledge, his theory of forms wasn’t a bad effort. And it is not at all how things actually work – not even remotely like – completely the opposite actually – but that is easy to say with 20-20 hindsight, and the works of many thousands of scientists and engineers and technicians between his existence and mine, that I have available to my awareness.

So while I agree with your descriptions of the experience, the understanding of what is going on at the deeper levels of being does not seem to align very well at all.

Reality has a discontinuous nature to it. It seems to be quantised at many different levels.

Stuff seems to get together in certain ways, and suddenly there is a new thing in existence.

The stuff that the new thing is made of was around before, but by assembling it in the new way, whole new classes of properties emerge, and with them whole new classes of possibility.

It is like matter.
Ordinary atomic matter is made of protons, neutrons and electrons.
Protons carry a positive charge, and come only in whole numbers.
Together with neutrons they are found in the center of atoms.
The number of protons essentially defines the type of element and many of it’s chemical properties.
How many neutrons are present with the proton defines the isotope, and has an effect on many of the properties, most particularly on the property known and radioactivity.
Electrons form an outer “shell” – like a diffuse cloud, around the central nucleus of proton(s) and neutron(s).
The simplest atom is hydrogen, with 1 proton.
It comes in 3 naturally occurring isotopes, with 0, 1 or 2 neutrons.
The forms with more neutrons are known as heavy hydrogen, and when chemically bonded with oxygen into water give us “heavy water” – which you may have heard of in relation to nuclear reactors and atomic bomb making.
The number of electrons around has a lot to do with the chemical properties.
The rules about how these three components work in atoms are relatively simple, yet still complex and in a sense, indeterminant (in the sense that we can know where something is with great accuracy but not it’s momentum, or we can know it’s momentum with great accuracy but not it’s location, or we can be a bit unsure about both).

When you get down to the level of things that make up protons, neutrons and electrons, the rules start to get seriously weird, so I wont go there for now.

The whole point of this was/is, that reality seems to deal with properties that emerge when collections of stuff get to certain critical thresholds. Below that threshold the stuff exhibits behaviour according to one set of rules. Above that threshold, a new set of rules and possibilities for behaviour and action emerge.

We have observed this happening at many different levels. From the sub-sub atomic, to the sub atomic, to the atomic, to the molecular, to the cellular, to the complex of cells within a cell, to multicellular life, to life with neural networks, to life with culture, to individuals within cultures gaining certain levels of critical associations of practices, ….

Thus, for me, the love of which we speak, and the experience of it of which we share; has its existence in a very different explanatory context.

In my world, it is an emergent property, not just of the conscious, but of the whole, including and aligning with, all of the subconscious, though definitely experienced at the conscious level (when it is).

Kia kaha (be strong)
Kia ngohengohe (be flexible/supple)
Arohanui (great love/ love at the broadest context)

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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1 Response to Love

  1. holessence says:

    “An interesting question might be, why would we want to measure love? Why not simply enjoy the experience of it, whatever and whenever it is?”

    I oh-so-agree with you!


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