In this thread, McNew voiced an objection to those who say they love their dogs as much as he loves his daughter.
I posit that love is love. My reasoning is as follows:
Love is essentially a chemical process with no inherent nobility. The same chemical joy-juices (seratonin, endorphins, etc.) which flood the brain of a human mother when she looks at her infant are found in the brain of a chimpanzee mother who looks at her baby. We humans have formed an entire social structure around this emotion which makes it more complex than what animals experience, but emotions themselves are relatively simple.
The object of the affection confers no intrinsic worth to the emotion. Many a woman has loved an abusive man, after all. Some people love their spouses more than they love their children. Some people don’t experience love at all. People will love an ugly, stupid and nasty child just as much as they’d love an adorable one.
How can I know that McNew actually does love his/her daughter? s/he may say that s/he does, but how can I know? And how can I measure how intense that feeling really is? Does s/he love his/her daughter more than I love my neice, or even my *dog *for that matter?
Why is it “insulting” to think that someone loves a pet as much as you love your child? How does that in any way diminish your love for your child? It strikes me much the same as the gay marriage debate: that allowing gays to marry somehow lessens the significance of straight marriages. I just don’t see it.
(NOTE: I am NOT saying that a pet’s* life* is as important as a human’s.)
To sum up: Love is love. One form of it is not “better” than another form. I don’t think we should diminish other people’s emotions because we don’t feel like the object of affection is “worthy.”
Think for a moment about teenagers. A teenage girl can fall passionately in love and have her heart broken in a relatively short period of time. Adults may roll their eyes because they know that in a few years the girl may have trouble even remembering the name of the boy who hurt her so badly, but that doesn’t mean the young girl isn’t feeling very intense emotions. It would be insulting, in my opinion, to disregard what the girl is feeling because we don’t put as much importance on the relationship as she does. An adult going through a divorce after a long marriage probably experiences just as much pain as the teenage girl, but there’s no way to quantify it. They’re both experiencing heartbreak-- why is one more “valid” than the other when we’re talking about emotion?
Love and logic often have little to do with one another. As I mentioned in point 2, people love unworthy spouses all the time. The most heinous child molester probably has a mother who loves them, or even a wife who’s determined to stand by him. is that mother or wife’s love less “worthy” because the object of it is a reprehensible human being?
And, to get back to my original point, why is emotion less valid when the object isn’t human? I don’t think anyone would say that a dog or cat’s life is more important than a human’s, but that’s not what is at issue. The issue is emotion. By saying that people can’t love their dogs as much as they could love a child, you’re saying that they’re not emotionally “fulfilled.” In other words, they’ll never become fullyt emotionally awake until they’ve experienced what you have. I think that’s a very unfair statement to make, especially since you have no way of measuring what they feel.