Attraction and Unattraction

Looking to find a date but can’t seem to entice a potential mate? I’m sure you’ve seen all the ads that promise to make you a dude/chick magnet, to have the object of your desire so wrapped up in you that you have total dominion over them, and the SEX! Oh, how great the sex will be in these fictional worlds of your reproductive dominance. I promise you all these treasures and more, with the same earnestness and sincerity of all those disturbing programs that somehow keep resurfacing year after year after year.

Except, as you’ve probably come to expect from me, I’m going to break it down in a way that seems too simple to be true. But here’s my secret: what I’m about to tell you actually works.

What is attraction? What is this force that powers computers and governs our scientific laws? What is the fundamental understanding necessary to draw things toward yourself and to push things away within the same breath?

While I tend to come down on the side of science vs religion, one thing religion gets right is its ability to narrate abstraction in a way that is deeply and personally meaningful to us as individuals.It pleases me to think that storms are just angry gods and night is brought by a cloaked woman; that the earth is carried by a turtle or a man, that the trees are wistful sprits bringing wisdom and deliciousness with each fruity bite.

Newton under the apple tree waiting for the apple to fall...
This tree discovered gravity 10000 years ago.

There’s something so uniquely human about these stories that still teaches me something, even if what I learn is behavioral rather than scientific.

Science may explain gravity to a mathematical precision, but there’s no path as to why gravity is important. Too dry.

And personifying gravity takes away too much of the necessary information to truly understand what it does.

So, I’m proposing that we re-frame scientific forces in a way that combines the best aspects of both of these things. And I plan to do it elegantly; by redefining intelligence.

Intelligence, in the traditional sense, is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. But I propose that instead, intelligence be defined as a force that operates under structured and observable processes to complete a specific goal.

Broad brushstrokes, yes, but hear me out.

In ancient magic, there is a concept of a “will”. Wills are, in essence, solidified external forces that exist only to accomplish one specific action. I always like to use the example of a time I was staring at a bottle of soda, trying with all of my might to imbue it with the desire, the will, to move.

Within a few minutes, a hand reached and grabbed the bottle. The man who owned the hand looked at the bottle for a second, considered it, and placed the bottle back on the table. I thought for a second that maybe the bottle did possess a will, but not necessarily one to move on its own. I consider that bottle often.

Coca-Cola ( N )ight
They totally used this gag in FRIENDS. Oh Phoebe.

It’s important to understand intelligence as something that can form that type of will. Let’s continue the experiment by imbuing gravity with it’s own version of intelligence, by my definition.

Gravity is a voice in the dark. A simple thought that says, I want to be more than nothing. How do I accomplish that goal? Well, first, I have to draw things to me. And once I have something, it shouldn’t be nearly as hard to get a little more.

In the same way, we could see a narrative with water. Water is just happier when it’s together. Water has the singular goal of being with more water, and so devised a path, observable and procedural to accomplish that goal.

Water droplets
Look how happy it is!

What a beautiful and simple narrative to allow us, mere animals bound by gravity’s massive desire, to relate to it in such a personal way. Attraction, as a subset of Gravity, is no different. Being attractive means you must create a will within yourself, one to draw the type of people you want in your life near you, and then devise a path to action, observable and specific, to accomplish this goal.

But, I’m sure you’re asking, the will that I create could be anything! It could be to draw people toward me with the express purpose of using them up, consuming them, and discarding them to find a new thrill tomorrow. I will not disagree with you there. You are a free human, unbound from anything but collective biases and structural pressures, and so you could choose to be attractive in this toxic manner. While I do not believe this is a efficient use of human life, I cannot condemn you for that choice. But if you choose that path, you are only halfway there.

Don’t Be Unattractive

Attracting others is not so difficult, once we understand the basic forces at play in attraction. However, keeping others is a completely different task, and much more difficult. You will find no philosophical tomes on pushing things away, and only scant lists of lessons from those who are masters of repulsion seeking to teach their talents of unattractiveness onto the world at large. Indeed, no one wishes to be known for revolting others, so why would you ever learn this half of the equation? You are, even in a quest for knowledge, by its very definition repulsed by this art, and so you stay safely the hell away.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is likely that without knowing it, you embody these characteristics just by breathing air in and out of your lungs. You are unattractive. You must admit this and begin to study just why you are unattractive if your dreams of attraction are ever to end in keeping the thing you have pulled towards yourself. The natural path is for you to simply have for a short time and then lose, perchance to have again. That is science.

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

If you want a healthy relationship, you will have to fight the laws of entropy, disorganization, and chaos. You will have to both be attractive and work very, very hard not to be unattractive.

To help you, I’ve outlined a list of basically unattractive things.

Things That Are Unattractive:

1)  Insulting other people

2)  Being dishonest about your true motivations or intentions

3)  Treating other people as if they are beneath you

4)  Trying to remain open minded to the point of refusing to make decisions for yourself

5)  Judging before empathizing

5 points is good enough to get you going. The rest, you will have to find by meticulously pawing through your own idiosyncrasies. I hope you don’t lose too many opportunities during this necessary process of self awareness.

Photo Credits: Intelligence by Nate
Newton under the apple tree waiting for the apple to fall… by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig
Coca-Cola ( N )ight by francesco scaramella
Water droplets by Thomas Bresson
Burst Your Bubbles by Yelp Inc.

If you like what you read, feel free to share. Basic Rules: Be civil. We are all people and deserve respect. That’s a hard and fast rule, by the way, it is not optional. Other than that, anything goes.

Interested in many things, but nothing captivates more than technology, entrepreneurship, futurism, and humanity's quest to problem-solve.