What friendship means

  • Being trustworthy.
  • Trusting.
  • Knowing when it’s safe to butt in, and when to leave them be.
  • Being a part of the journey, not a face along the way.
  • Forgiving.
  • Forgetting.
  • Saying sorry.
  • Knowing you’re crazy and not caring.
  • Knowing they’re crazy and not caring.
  • Taking the time to listen not just to what’s said, but what isn’t said.
  • Understanding, as opposed to judging.
  • No gossip. About you to other people, or other people to you.
  • Sharing in the bad as well as the good.
  • No unnecessary drama.
  • Caring.
  • Inspiring.
  • Encouraging.
  • Patience.
  • Epic dance parties, whenever and wherever.
  • Keeping you at heart though you may not be in touch.
  • Seeing each other after years and it only feels like a day.
  • Acceptance.
I hope you’re noticing a common theme among these posts. Every human interaction is based on love. Not the emotional, head-over-heels Hollywood love, but the kind of love endures. It’s the kind that parents have for children, friends for each other, husbands and wives, grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone. What love boils down to is the ability to see the best in someone else and inspire the desire to reach that potential. No guilt. No shame. No blame. No pride. No gossip. No lies. No cheating. No backstabbing. Just looking forward to the future and working each day to make tomorrow better. Progress.

Man’s Manifesto: Life, Love, and Michael Bolton

So I was totally convinced that I’d already written something on this incredibly important topic: love. Apparently I was either dreaming, daydreaming, or had recently taken some melatonin…not sure which.

In any event, I’ve given a lot of thought on this subject, and my thoughts on what it means to be a real man. I almost considered the approach of quantifying it – bringing it all down to a list of what you do…but fact of the matter is, you can fake it and still not be a man. You can be a total jerk and still come off as everything you’d imagine in the perfect man – charming, cute, funny, chivalrous, strong, with a dashing mustache, or whatever you may imagine.

But being a man isn’t about what you do. You can be an auto mechanic, businessman, factory worker, schoolteacher, entertainer, or anything else you can imagine, and still be a man. It’s about who you are. And what is it that really makes a man?

I always find it funny when experts come out with some sort of new idea as to why it is that people in our generation don’t marry as often or as young as previous generations. There was an article a couple of days ago in the Daily Universe that talked about technology being a possible reason.

I disagree.

The reason our generation doesn’t marry as young or as often is because we don’t understand what love is.

More than anything, it’s a real understanding of love. Not mushy, overly-emo, ridiculous Hollywood story ‘love’.


“When a man loves a woman…” (Thank you, years of listening to Michael Bolton…)

Hollywood and the rise of entertainment in general has led us to think that our lives have to be storybook perfect. That if there’s a snag, we have to abandon ship. That sparks have to fly, entire nations have to crumble, and the world has to completely turn around when we fall in love.

Wrong. When a man loves a woman, he doesn’t turn his back on his best friend. That’s not real love. Fact: your grandparents understand real love a whole lot better than you think.

Chemically, people ‘fall in love’ – that crazy rush that you probably confuse for love. That chemical rush can last, at longest, for about two years. But what happens when that’s over? Things fall apart. Period.

Think about every other kind of love now. Or what you think is every other kind of love, because what the world has gotten you to believe is that the crazy chemical rush is true love, and that other stuff is, well, other stuff.

Wrong.

All that other stuff is true love. That rush is a part of it, but it’s nowhere near everything. Here’s an example in my life: my mom. I know my mom truly loves me. How? Well, as a kid, I got sick…a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean that I remember once in fourth grade I had pretty nasty pneumonia and missed a month of school straight. I had ear infections at least three or four times a year. Strep throat was common. I don’t even know how many times I had tubes.

All those times when I was sick as a dog, with a fever, I remember my mom was there, every time, to help me. In big or small things, she was there. When I had my tympanoplasty, when I had the jaw surgery, my tonsils, a fever, a cold, a broken arm, a wasp sting on my ear, or even a black eye from flag football, my mom took care of me.

Real love isn’t about always agreeing. We disagree all the time, my mom and I. But I know she cares about me.

The key to real love, in the end, is the ability to inspire greatness in others. To bring out the best.

I think of teachers who have inspired me. My parents. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and even random people on the street who just make me want to be better. That right there is real love.

A while ago I found a short story that talks about how to recognize real love. In it, there’s three questions that rather easily sum up how to do so. I use it as a sort of litmus test for love. They are:

  • Does this person inspire me to do better in school/work and help me in my efforts to be better?
  • Does this person inspire me to be a better friend, father/mother, husband/wife, man/woman, son/daughter, etc?
  • Does this person inspire me to draw closer to God and be a better person overall?
If you can answer yes to all three of those questions, then that is true love. Period.
Once you understand that true love is what it talks about in 1 Corinthians 13, you start to understand why a guy who beats his girlfriend/wife doesn’t really love her, and the sheer absurdity of a woman saying, “It’s okay, because he loves me.” Physical and psychological violence have absolutely nothing to do with love.
Perfect love casteth out all fear.
You realize the absurdity of a couple who is pretty much nonfunctional when apart because they’re so obsessed with each other that they can’t do anything but think of the other.
You see how ridiculous it is to quantify what your ideal mate would be, or even start making a list of what they have to be like. Real love isn’t a checklist. It’s about what’s in your heart, and each and every one of us have unique and different ways of expressing that love.
A real man understands how to bring out the best in others. That’s what it means to love. So a real man knows how to love. A mechanic, drive-through worker, businessman, schoolteacher, or even a musician can do that. The end.

Robots can’t love.

Courtesy of a favorite webcomic of mine, I accidentally discovered some pretty interesting stuff yesterday.

First off is www.cleverbot.com – pretty much someone’s attempt to get a robot to pass the Turing Test, which is essentially a test to determine whether or not a given respondent to the test is human or not. Apparently it’s doing a fairly good job.

Next up is this video…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnzlbyTZsQY. It’s two chat bots talking to each other. Some freaky things to note…

  • Both bots identified the other as a robot
  • The subject of God was addressed
  • One of the robots wanted a body
Anybody else worried about the impending robot apocalypse? Yeah, me neither.
But anyway, it got me thinking. That and the fact that Cleverbot keeps bringing up the subject of love have made me have to explain to a robot why it can’t love.
So here’s why robots can’t love.
Love is a decision. No matter what the songs say, what the media may have you think, love it not some mystical magical force that just sucks people in like some horrifying black hole calamity and ruins lives, relationships, and exterminates the dodo bird.
In order to really be able to make a decision – a moral decision, not a random decision, you have to be free. Robots aren’t free. They’re programmed. They are defined and have their limits. A robot cannot make a moral decision because they aren’t really alive. They’re like some sort of freaky macro-virus-thingy.
Allow me to explain. Right about now Jenny Deenik is going to be so proud that I actually remembered our discussion sophomore year as to what makes something alive, and my little sister is probably going to say, “Hey, we just did that!”
There are seven general characteristics of life.
  • Ability to reproduce. Robots can’t.
  • Response to stimuli. Robots do.
  • Growth. Robots…don’t.
  • Adaptation. Good AI like Cleverbot does adapt, so points there.
  • Metabolism…I suppose you could consider some forms of robotic power like that…but I have yet to see a clear-cut example of robotic metabolism.
  • Organization. Well, robots are organized…but not on a cellular level.
  • Homeostasis, or the regulation of internal environment such as temperature. I don’t think cooling fans and heat sinks qualify for this.
So, in general, robots get a 3-4 out of 7.
The point being that robots can’t love. At least, not yet.
Love is a choice. Love isn’t randomly born and then one day just dies. We choose whether or not to love. We may fight a lot with people who are really close to us, but at the end of the day, we may still choose to love them. We are free to choose, and act based on those choices. It’s the one thing we have, really. Our choices. We can choose love or hate. It’s easy when you get right down to it.
So remember: choose love. Because robots can’t.