Love is a many splendered thing.
Where did the concept come from? The birds and the bees-I don't think so. Birds and bees and other life forms on our planet are preoccupied with survival and procreation, not a need to feel wanted and loved. Maybe the idea of love comes from mythology-the Greeks seem to have had a bit of an obsession with it. Then again, our literature and other modern media is saturated by the concept of ever enduring love. We bring up our children to strive towards loving somebody and ultimately bringing up a wonderful family based on it's honourable foundation and principals.
Is love real? I think we humans like to think it is as it gives us hope.
Evolution and Love.
When we humans think of love, we think in the western world at least, of monogamy and fidelity. Can we realistically see the idea of monogamy and fidelity as a beneficial survival strategy for the human species? I very much doubt it. The simple idea that two people contributing to the gene pool with a limited gene variation capabillity over the period of their reproductive years makes very little sense as a evolutionary survival strategy. Yes, we do seem to observe monogamy in the 'other than human' world-for example, many birds seek out the same partner for the purpose of mating each season. This and other examples can be explained by reasons of necessity due to short and frequent breeding seasons. Are these birds actually faithful to each other or is the female often conceiving from a different male the so-called monogamous male assisting in the survival of the offspring not necessarily his. Maybe the male is also not sexually faithful to the female to use a anthropomorphic expression.
Desire; the true survival strategy.
It seems to me that the reality si that desire completely overides our so-called/invented love as a survival strategy. In both sexes (female possibly more-some may not approve), desire is what drives the increase in genetic diversity. It stands to reason that a female can have a devoted partner prepared to put in the energy and resources so as to nurture the children while at the same time have one or more partners interested in only the sexual needs/desires of that female. And this is basically reversed in the case of the male. It is quite obvious that natural selection favours this kind relationship as variabillity is the key to species survival under changing environmental conditions. An hypothetical example that comes to mind is from fictional literature-Bram stoker wrote DRACULA in, I believe, around 1886. In this interesting tale he he describes brilliantly the love that Mina has for her betroved Jonathon.Mina is a young vergin of high scruples with an apparent aversion for what she sees as sexual pervirsion described in contemporary literature (Karma Sutra and the like). Her betrothed Jonathon is an up and coming young career youth in real estate. He does not want to marry Mina until such time as he feels able to support her in a ways he thinks proper. However, Mina becomes known to Draculia (Count Dracula) through some kind of mystical means while Jonathon is visiting Dracula in Transylvania. Mina is mesmerised by desire for Dracula to the extent of keeping her feelings from Jonathon. How many times have we seen this situation in the real world-I suggest Bram Stoker got the concept from reality. Bram Stoker also added the relationship of securing his victims control by the contamination of thier blood with his-probably an idea he came up with based on the new found knowledge on evolution seeing as Darwin had published his book (On the Origin of Species) only a few years before. Of course there was already some literature about describing Nosferatu (human vampires).
Are, now we approach the story from a differet angle. The introduction of the pill in the 1960's meant that women could discretely address their feeligs of desire without the fear of falling pregnant. This meant they could have a solid relationship that supports their home comeforts and children nurturing requirements while addressing the hard to control urge to seek sexual gratification.
Humans and other animals-the difference.
In other animals it is not realistically possible for the male to detect the difference in most cases between his offspring and that of other males. It is more important that the male exhibits strategies to enable him to ensure his genes are passed on to the next generation and/or he stops other males achiving this aim. In humans, until the technology advances of DNA testing it was difficult to conclude who was the father of a women's offspring. Therefore there were hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of years available for natural selection to rely on infidellity based on desire outside of the monogamous relationship to increase variability in the gene pool and consequently better survival chances of the species.
It is innate Desire, not love that has contributed to human survival success-I would appreciate any comments or scholarly addition to this post. I would also suggest that love as we perceive it does contribute as a nurturing component to our children, also our partners in later life after our sexually productive years are over in the same way that the wisdom of the elders contributes to the survival of our children. I appologies for using a fictional example but I am sure each and everyone that reads this post is aware that infidellity based on desire is rampant in humans and other animals.