Analog Love In A Digital World

We often think of love as we think of property. Either we have it or we don’t. It’s like ones and zeroes, a switch to be flipped on or off in the right situation. But does that make any sense at all? Is there something that would flip your switch from loving your dog to disregarding his or her value completely? The answer is obvious.

Love is much more than a simple on or off switch. We do not tally the state of this decision in some vast matrix of true or false values, assigned to represent the relationships between us and all those we encounter. Moreover, love is not a thing to be set and unset at the whim of some cold calculating algorithm. In this way, love is much more like the magnetic field of the iron molecules in a hard disk than it could ever be like the absolute truth of a solid state medium. Iron carries a history. It does not represent truth in terms of on or off, nor positive or negative. When you set a bit on a hard disk, you merely add to its collective representation of truth.

In the same way that data is stored on hard disks, we form memories of love in ourselves. After performing the same write operation over and over, assigning an element of that vast relationship matrix to true, we make it harder to set that value to false. Even after experiencing the most abject and bitter betrayal, when we switch that value to false twenty-fold, we still occasionally measure a true value for that element in the matrix. Just as we can resurrect the contents of a hard drive that has suffered devastating, soul-crushing inferno, so too can we find ourselves feeling the persistent love we cultivated.

We know not why this love persists. Perhaps we are not so unlike the primitive elemental magnetism we exploit for our collective convenience. We are not so easily overwritten. Our feelings carry on. And like the iron that stores our collective wisdom in hard disks around the world, we must be flexible in our interpretation of the facts we represent. Even after many thousands of hours, we find ourselves redefining the truth.

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