Why is love more interesting than food?

I’ve long been puzzled by this.  Our interest in love — sex— gossip — who pairs with whom — is inexhaustible.  This is what animates almost any novel or movie or song.  Yet food is equally indispensible to our fitness.  Where are the movies and songs about food?

My latest theory puts it down to elasticity of demand.  Food is essential, but once you have enough, you pretty much have enough.  From starvation to obesity, the difference in intake is just a factor of ten, so we’ve evolved a kind of on-off interest in the subject.  Love is different.  Depending on how you play the game, you may have zero or two or ten or (if you are a man) 100 children.  With such great elasticity in our potential, it is evolution’s business to make sure we pay attention to the subject.  Our interest never turns off.

[26 March 2013]

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