Is Tinder KILLING Love?

Press Start for “Is Tinder KILLING Love?” by 8-Bit Philosophy, where classic video games introduce famous thinkers, problems, and concepts with quotes, teachings, and more.

Written by: Matt Reichle
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Edited by: Mark Potts
Animations by: Dean Bottino
Original Music & Sound by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Motion Graphics by: Drew Levin
Produced by: Jacob Salamon
Narrator: Nathan Lowe

Is Tinder KILLING Love?

A fair princess atop a high tower guarded by a dragon, our hero… a knight, driven by eternal love, must overcome perilous obstacles in order to save her. Traditonal conversations about love tend to focus on courtly love, chivalry, or philosophical terms like agape, eros, or philia.

But in the world of online dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Happn, are these visions of love even possible? With one billion swipes a day and over twelve billion matches in the Tinder-verse… you’d think people wouldn’t still be asking the question: where’s the love

According to Philosophy Professor Richard Kearney we may be living in “an age of excarnation” where digital media creates an atmosphere where we “obsess about the body in increasingly disembodied ways.” Essentially, The problem with dating sites like Match.com and eharmony is that they are centered on digital avatars, representations of reality that are removed from the actual corporal body.

Gone are the awkward interactions like pick up lines, catcalls, and terrible mini golf dates. Instead dates are pre-arranged based on an algorithm. He argues that in the extreme, what we have is a love absent an actual person, where we become attracted to the simulation of a person kind of like the movie Her.

The idea behind Apps like Tinder aren’t radically new, they don’t differ that much from a letter passed around in grade school. The difference is that instead of sending out one note, on dating sites, people send out thousands of notes… and on Tinder you can’t see them scoff and then crumple up said note.

Instead people swipe and wait for a match. There is no need to be physically present for rejection—it’s zero risk matchmaking. Not having to wait for a person to call you back isn’t just a convenience. It also removes the element of vulnerability from the dating equation.

In his book In Praise of Love, French theorist Alain Badiou argues that the problem with online dating apps is that they represent a risk-free love, a love that is removed from any possible rejection. Not only are people extracted from the physical presence of rejection but there’s also the belief that people can precondition love.

One can filter out any unwanted traits. People are free, in advance, to only interact with people of a certain age, political affiliation, that have a certain food preference, hair color, prefer a particular video game console, or have the correct favorite television show.

It’s sort of the weird science approach to love where you construct your ideal mate before you ever meet. It screens out chance and randomness—there is no possibility of lovers who come from different worlds, or people that work through their respective differences.

In the tinder-verse John Hughes, Freddie Prince Junior, or Patrick Dempsey movies don’t have a point of reference. There is no jock that falls in love with the socially conscious art-school girl with hidden beauty… that all gets weeded out in advance.

It means that people tend to interact narcissistically, they swipe based on their own preconceived idea about which type of person they want to be with. Instead of being impacted by another person, narcissistic interactions are more fixated on the love of the self… on finding yourself in the other. What is erased is difference.

There isn’t an acceptance of the ways that people are different from you—there isn’t love between TWO, it is a love with the self and a fictitiously constructed other that erases any unwanted messiness or baggage. For Badiou love is “… like two musical instruments that are completely different in tone and volume, but which mysteriously converge when unified by a great musician in the same work.”

Love isn’t about being sure of what you want in another person—it’s about the radical possibility that you don’t know what you want—and being open to the possibility of being changed by another person. But is that so bad? To be fair, the idea that everyone should be waiting for the Shakespearean star crossed lover out there is idealistic and overly romantic at best.

As with any technology Dating apps are as good as the people that use it. They are only obstacles to love if people treat them like tools to exclude anything that challenges their notion of self.

It would be unwise to reduce love to the way you meet a person. Love is curated, percolated, and it persists in moments of contradiction, hardship, and torment. It is arduous work that endures regardless of differences and ever-present obstacles.

So dear viewer what do you think: have you been looking for love in all the wrong places? Or are you one perfectly angled selfie away from finding your one true sweetheart?

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