So I was half watching a documentary about vampire bats and came across the bit of data that those bats who have eaten well may share their food with other bats who have not. They are more likely to share with bats with whom they have a relationship. The narrator commented that this act of “apparent kindness” also benefits the entire colony.

Is this love or is it just an instinct for preservation of the colony? Is there a difference? Is it better to think of love as some “benefit free” feeling, based only on the identity of the beloved, or is it factually recognizable as a sharing of resource for the health of the community?

For me, it doesn’t matter. My mind responds to the idea of efficiency and mutually assured survival more than it does some “mushy” idea of free love for the sake of feeling. I like to think of our acts of kindness as efficient and pragmatic ways to ensure the survival of a species and ecosystem (including all species on this sphere). That doesn’t mean I personally deride any idea of “benefit free” feeling, just that my brain understands efficiency and the utility of sharing food with a community member who is hungry.

I make no statement as to “right or wrong” or whatever is the best way of looking at these things, but I found it a very interesting and clinical way of looking at the way we treat each other. For a moment, I thought of some alien, outside narrator watching a human mother nurse her child and saying the same thing Attenborough did in the documentary.

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3 Responses to Impromptu

  1. slmret says:

    Another thought — are not all instincts in some way directed toward survival and preservation of “the colony?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no problem with the concept of love as a means to survival. After all, is not love of self essentially about staying alive?


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