TALKING POINT: 'LOVE – The most powerful brain system' says Dr. Helen Fisher
In this TEDTalk by Dr. Helen Fisher, I find the anatomy of Love discussed thread bare with an interesting result that we are built in such a way that we can love many people at any point of time. It’s a great talk and I would recommend you to watch the video, where in her own beautiful style with Stories, poetry, humour and lot of intelligence and hard research thrown in, she proves and I quote,
“I don't think, honestly, we're an animal that was built to be happy; we are an animal that was built to reproduce”
Helen Fisher's courageous investigations of romantic love -- its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its vital importance to human society -- are informing and transforming the way we understand ourselves. Fisher describes love as a universal human drive (stronger than the sex drive; stronger than thirst or hunger; stronger perhaps than the will to live), and her many areas of inquiry shed light on timeless human mysteries, like why we choose one partner over another.
Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She's best known as an expert on romantic love, and her beautifully penned books -- including Anatomy of Love and Why We Love -- lay bare the mysteries of our most treasured emotion.
Some of her thoughts from the TEDTalk
"What 'tis to love?" Shakespeare said. I think our ancestors -- I think human beings have been wondering about this question since they sat around their campfires or lay and watched the stars a million years ago. I started out by trying to figure out what romantic love was by looking at the last 45 years of research on -- just the psychological research -- and as it turns out, there's a very specific group of things that happen when you fall in love” says Helen Fisher
The first thing that happens is what I call -- a person begins to take on what I call, "special meaning." As a truck driver once said to me, he said, "The world had a new center, and that center was Mary Anne."
But anyway, not only does this person take on special meaning, you focus your attention on them. You aggrandize them. But you have intense energy. You feel intense elation when things are going well; mood swings into horrible despair when things are going poorly. Real dependence on this person.
But the main characteristics of romantic love are craving: an intense craving to be with a particular person, not just sexually, but emotionally.
The other main characteristic is motivation. The motor in your brain begins to crank, and you want this person.
And last but not least, it is an obsession.
I began to realize that romantic love is not an emotion. But actually, it's a drive. It comes from the motor of the mind, the wanting part of the mind, the craving part of the mind.
And in fact, I think it's more powerful than the sex drive. You know, if you ask somebody to go to bed with you, and they say, "No, thank you," you certainly don't kill yourself or slip into a clinical depression. But certainly, around the world, people who are rejected in love will kill for it. People live for love. They kill for love. They die for love. They have songs, poems, novels, sculptures, paintings, myths, legends. In over 175 societies, people have left their evidence of this powerful brain system. I have come to think it's one of the most powerful brain systems on earth for both great joy and great sorrow.
And I've also come to think that it's one of three basically different brain systems that evolved from mating and reproduction. One is the sex drive: the craving for sexual gratification. The second of these three brain systems is romantic love: that elation, obsession of early love. And the third brain system is attachment: that sense of calm and security you can feel for a long-term partner.
But these three brain systems: lust, romantic love and attachment, aren't always connected to each other. You can feel deep attachment to a long-term partner while you feel intense romantic love for somebody else, while you feel the sex drive for people unrelated to these other partners. In short, we're capable of loving more than one person at a time.
So I don't think, honestly, we're an animal that was built to be happy; we are an animal that was built to reproduce. I think the happiness we find, we make. And I think, however, we can make good relationships with each other.
I'm just simply saying that a world without love is a deadly place.
There's magic to love!
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ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
How many lives you can live – Sarah kay