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Is Love Dying? Navigating the Modern Market of Affection

French sociologist Eva Iroth believes that philosophy and sociology should be used to understand people’s current views on love and reveal how the logic of the market, consumption practices, and capitalism erodes intimate relationships.

Wilde said: “Those who love only once in a lifetime are actually superficial… In order for romance to last forever in memory, love must be allowed to fade away in the present.” He died in 1900, and his views on love are only now popular. French sociologist Eva Iroth said in the book “The End of Love” that many people now no longer pursue loyal, lifelong love. People “flee from relationships, are unable or unwilling to enter relationships, and start from a relationship.” Jumping from relationship to relationship. More and more people are in a state of flux throughout their lives, leaving and entering, entering and leaving more and more relationships. Some relationships don’t get off to a good start, or they don’t start well after they start. It doesn’t take long for them to die, and some relationships are a drawn-out, long, incomprehensible death.” It’s common for relationships that seem inextricably loved to suddenly evaporate without warning.

It is estimated that 85% of romantic relationships will end in breakup. Most adults today have experienced at least one breakup, and it is often an unclear breakup. People habitually do not return phone calls and do not show up when they should meet. , started not replying to messages without explaining clearly, left suddenly in the middle of the date, and ended the relationship without any explanation. People increasingly feel that they are not obligated to explain their exit from a relationship, and that exit does not bring any symbolic cost or stigma to the person who exits. To explain is to express one’s vulnerability and dependence on the other party, and “withdrawal is a performative expression of self-affirmation and the choice to end a relationship that endangers one’s own sense of security. Because of the fear of the other party’s withdrawal, people enter It is inevitable to feel confused and contradictory in relationships, which greatly hinders the gradual increase of mutual trust, and people will adopt self-defense and self-protection strategies.”

Yi Luosi said that modern people’s “not love” means they only accept negative ties and short-lived relationships. Such relationships usually lack emotion and contain a kind of self-hedonism. “In the present, people continue to exercise freedom and rely on having The right not to participate in certain relationships, or to disengage from certain relationships, and to choose to withdraw at any stage of the relationship.” Negative ties equal the breakdown of social bonds, resulting in declining birth rates, increased divorce rates, and an epidemic of loneliness.

For individuals, choosing negative ties and not making long-term commitments is because the scope of choices has expanded, with conflicting needs, thus creating a lot of uncertainty. “In traditional marriage, men and women are (basically) paired horizontally (within their social groups), and the purpose of marriage is to maximize assets and wealth. In the sexual market, men and women The basis of matching is sexual capital. The purpose of matching is diverse (economic, hedonic, emotional…), and the two parties often come from different social groups and backgrounds (cultural, religious, racial, social… ), and often unequal attributes (such as beauty and social status) are exchanged.”

In the so-called marriage and love market, it is difficult for people to determine the value of each object, which ultimately devalues ​​everyone. “Modern people evaluate and selectively engage in romantic relationships just like shopping in a supermarket, lacking clear reference points and not knowing what they really want. People compare various characteristics of different objects, especially focusing on the differences between them. differences; in the single evaluation mode, people evaluate the only object with reference to their own preferences or the standards they think are good, so they can fully invest in it, just like bidding for something in an auction house. Collection.” Dating begins to be placed in the field of consumption and is shaped by the field of consumption. Dating takes place in commercialized leisure venues, such as restaurants, bars, cinemas, attractions, and dance halls. The key to dating is to identify the relationship between two people. Similar consumer tastes. “Attachment relationships are organized around common hobbies, food, wine tasting, travel, sports and cultural consumption, which makes people’s consumption habits an object of value evaluation. If it is difficult for both parties to participate in the same leisure field together, Without usurping the same object, it becomes difficult to organize intimacy.”

In modern societies, the rules for human interaction are unclear and “negative social relationships are driven by uncertainty, whereas positive relationships in traditional societies are organized and structured around clear norms. Pre-modern courtship Where sex begins with emotion and may end in shame and anxiety, contemporary relationships begin with (pleasurable) sex and must grapple with the anxiety-provoking task of generating emotion.”

In the marriage and love market, there is also uncertainty about the value of a person, because judging a person’s value relies on visual assessment, which is a very unreliable behavior. Studies have shown that people who wear glasses look smarter than those without glasses if they are observed for only 15 seconds; but when the observation time is extended, this difference disappears. “Visual capitalism creates mechanisms for quickly rejecting and discarding others.” The target object is either attractive or unattractive, and is classified as unattractive, usually due to some minor details in the self-presentation process.

Psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepel conducted an experiment in which participants were divided into two groups to evaluate different types of chocolate: The first group of participants had to evaluate many types of chocolate, while the second group needed to There is much less variety in evaluation and selection. At the end of the experiment, participants were given a choice between two different rewards, either cash ($5) or chocolate (valued at $5). The result of the experiment was that participants who were asked to evaluate a small amount of chocolate were more likely to choose chocolate as reward than cash. “This result clearly shows that the reduction of options contributes to the value generation process; in other words, abundance leads to devaluation because when options are abundant, things and people become more easily substituted.”

People always choose love partners with an evaluation eye, which will lead to looking down on the other person. “Recognizing others means truly knowing a complete person, recognizing her or his goals and values, and being with her or him. Establishing a mutual relationship. To evaluate others is to judge her or his worth against preset benchmarks. Evaluation and recognition are two different cognitive attitudes. The former increasingly overwhelms the latter, and evaluation often ends with It ends with rejection. It is difficult for us to see others as whole selves, and we cannot perceive the uniqueness of others.”

In interpersonal interactions, people have to manage a variety of conflicting desires and demands, “not wanting to appear too eager to have a relationship, but really longing for it; in relationships, not showing a lack of love (“being clingy”) has become a “A key theme emerges, especially in the initial stages of a relationship. This makes it difficult for people to form the will to form an emotional contract, or to do the symbolic work necessary to show that they care or are committed to the relationship.”

Finally, Yi Luosi said: “Just because the form of romance has changed does not mean that its presence in our lives has diminished.” Most people are still in or hope to be in a stable partnership. “In the process of pursuing love, people need to pay more patience and respect and dare to take risks.