- Education and Science»
Marginal Utility of Love
It's fun to walk a child
Marginal utility of Love
Before reading this article, please resolve not to search for sense in this article, for man lost his sense the moment he tried searching for sense.
In an earlier hub I stated that real knowledge lies in an unknown spatial library, free and unbound, ready to expand across boundless expanses. I said that knowledge is not something that should be kept within water-tight compartments under knotty and restrictive names, but allowed to interlink and create new brands of nameless and unrestricted knowledge.
One question I posed in my earlier hub was, if there is philosophy and psychology, why not thoughtology, the study of how to think? Not knowing how to think, not knowing when and where to stop thinking in a particular direction, and allowing your thoughts to carry you rather than you carrying your thoughts are taking us to places and situations where one should not be.
Thus, following my earlier hub, I link an economic concept with the concept of love to give rise to the idea of marginal utility of love.
Marginal utility is defined as the amount of benefit derived from consuming one additional unit of a product or service. By natural law, the receiver of any tangible or intangible value has to return an equivalent value to the giver to attain reciprocal equilibrium, without which one will never experience happiness in full. In any transaction the question of equivalence is an irritant issue, more so in non-economic transactions than in economic ones. Even in economic transactions reciprocal equivalence can never be attained due to variance in personalized marginal utility, and extended reciprocation of tangibles with intangibles may even generate negative values.
Love is a much misunderstood sensation. As we see it today, love contains more than it should hold. We could say that pure love is like the pure water that showers on us from the skies but contains more than it should hold by the time it collects for our use. Everybody needs water for sustenance, and without water there can be no life. While water can help in creation and sustenance of physical life, love is what holds life together and helps it move forward as a whole.
It is not the purpose of this hub to discuss love, since love is a vast subject that needs to be discussed in a separate hub. Here, my purpose is to show how one should put love to practical use as one would put money to use to gain maximum benefit.
Let us imagine that Abraham Lincoln loved all beggars in equal measure. Imagine that Lincoln pays US$1 each to beggar A every day and beggar B every month for 2 years. He fixes the amount and payment intervals based on their requirements. After about 8 months, beggar A, finding it very difficult and expensive to visit Lincoln every day to collect the dollar would request Abraham Lincoln to make consolidated payments on weekly basis and save him six unnecessary trips a week; beggar B on the other hand would request Lincoln to increase the payments to twice a month. A marginal utility chart would show a negative curve for slave A and a slightly positive curve for slave B, though Lincoln would have paid $730 to slave A and $24 to slave B over a 2-year period. So how do we reconcile the marginal utilities of love and economic value in this case, where reciprocation is not intended, yet non-equilibrium remains?
Any human relationship is basically a transaction. A transaction occurs when two persons come together to complete a mutually beneficial task. Unfortunately, social man has been converted into an economic man due to scarcity of economic resources and abundance of requirements, so much so one cannot think of any transaction without the economic attributes of competition, equivalency, and reciprocation.
When I say love has economic worth I do not mean it can be traded for economic value. Economics need not necessarily be the exclusive property of monetary pundits but should be let open to all areas where two or more entities transact for mutual benefit. Since the act of loving is a two-way transaction, it is an economic transaction, involving reciprocation; so if the principle of equivalency is not maintained, the giver of more love will incur loss and realize failure only when it is too late.
An economic transaction occurs when individuals transfer economic value of equal worth. When an article worth $10 by mutual agreement is transferred for $10, an economic transaction takes place, with no further obligation remaining for either party, and economic equilibrium is maintained. But this is not the case when love is transmitted between persons, because the question of equivalency does not arise in love transactions. The giver of love gives love because he or she gains pleasure in giving love, and the receiver of love receives love most often because he or she is given love for the pleasure of the giver.
What we call love basically is a reflection of God. God loved Adam not because he wanted to receive an equivalent amount of love from Adam but because it gave Him immense pleasure to love what he created. The problem between God and Adam started only after Satan stepped in and drew the attention of Adam. God loved Adam and Eve beyond anything, which went up to the extent of creating them and giving them the Garden of Eden for free, but God felt let down when he saw those two fools running after Satan for that prohibited fruit.
Thus, we have parents loving their children for the fun of loving their children, and children enjoying the pleasure of the love of their parents for the love of receiving their parents’ love. There is no question of reciprocation or equivalency in love transactions, just as it was in Heaven between God and Adam before that foolish fellow ate that bitter fruit.
This is exactly what happens in transactions of love. However, I believe that economic principles can be used to advantage in human relations. Parents love children on a continuous basis to satiate their parenting instincts, and children reciprocate based on a falling marginal utility curve. If strong human relations are to be sustained, I suggest transacting in love so as to create high levels of marginal utility in the receiver of love. A person experiencing high levels of love will have to reciprocate with equal measure to attain transactional equilibrium, a must for happiness. Hence, I believe that if we regulate our distribution of love, this world will be a better place to live in, because wastage of love from the part of the giver of love will be minimum and generation of love by both parties would be maximum.
Now about marginal utility of love. The transmission of love involves a minimum of two persons, the generator of love and the receiver of love. But unlike a transaction involving money, where value is transferred mutually in equivalent and quantifiable units, true love is not quantifiable, and reciprocation is not expected. However, we are trained to quantify value in unit form. But love is an abstraction and cannot be quantified in units. Based on the marginal value theory, a piece of bread handed over to the beggar generates more love value than that generated when you gift a Mercedes to your billionaire son. Since every recipient of love has to regenerate and return an equal value based on his value system, in the above case the beggar receiving a piece of bread generates more value of reciprocal love than your Mercedes receiving billionaire son.
Another bitter fact is that human relationships are built and broken today just like any commercial transaction, fully brain manipulated. The human heart has lost its relevance in human relationships and is today considered no more than a blood-pressure-inducing pump to keep your cells kicking.
I believe that the human heart can regain its lost ground by understanding and applying the economic principle of marginal utility in matters of love. When you love your neighbor as God advised you, do not value that love economically if you do not expect reciprocation. If your love gives you pleasure, do not charge the economic value of the love on the receiver, for you have yourself already gained pleasure, which contains economic value. Later in life when dark clouds hover over your territory, do not return to past non-economic transactions and expect economic or non-economic reciprocation.
We see old parents wasting away in poor homes, many of them repenting for having loved their children in their good old days. The oldies must have already gained valuable pleasure at the time of loving their children, so they should not expect reciprocation of love from their children just because of those dark clouds.
Love is the main source of power transmitted through religion, which often expresses itself in its negative form of hatred on account of misunderstanding. Once we learn to love with no reciprocation intended, the world would be a better place to live in, for misunderstood love is worse than misunderstood sense. But as I told you at the beginning of this hub, do not try to search for sense in this article, for man lost his sense the moment he tried searching for sense.