I, comemo3, was checking the internet looking for some references for a research proposal I was writing on one of these topics that move us (couples in love and new technologies of communication) and, tired, I just googled the word “love”. I was astonished when I saw the first entry for the word love was:
Without taking it too seriously, I must admit to have been shocked by the representativity of this very first entry: a love calculator! A web page which, given the name of the two potential partners, transforms their two names into a single number; concretely: into a percentage, which offers the interested viewer an indicator about the compatibility of the two names given, and thus, of the two people involved.
Is it significant that the very first website that catches our eye on the top of the list when we type the word love is one that gives indexes of compatibility: The compatibility between two human beings as a number you can compare with others. Thus, in less than five minutes, you can type the name of all those people you ever fancied and find out which one would have been the perfect match.
This reminds us of Simmel’s analyses in The Philosophy of Money. In this work written more than a century ago, Simmel emphasised the ways in which, through the generalisation of money as a means of exchange, the values bestowed upon objects could be immediately related and compared, and thus, the values of objects as different as apples, pears, books, and baby clothes, can be immediately compared despite of the incomparability of their use values. Simmel argued that this generalisation of money as a means of exchange thus led to an increasingly economisation and calculability of values. A similar tendency could be seen when we turn human love relationships into indexes and numbers to be compared, and thus we can end a visit to our love calculator knowing that you would have had 15% more chance of a successful relationship with your brother-in-law than with your actual husband.