Since the beginning of time, people have been in search of love and of its meaning. From the time of Adam and Eve, the fight for love and the spark curiosity has been felt by each one of us. We have heard endless theories, stories and “facts”. So what is true and what is false?
Why does love do? How can an emotion make feel one so many different emotions all at once and some days stops you from feeling at all? What is this bittersweet feeling? Why does it hurt so much? Is it even real? The fireflies and butterflies in our belly. What is love? Why do we love? How do we know if it’s love or just sexual desired? An escape or a feeling where we find a home? On a battlefield of love, doesn’t it look like baby cupid sendin’ arrows from above?
We all do know how it’s done but not how we get there.
Let’s see what does, science, psychology, and philosophy have to say about love.
The science side of love:
There isn’t research about love because there are far fewer volunteers. Obviously, no one would want to be injected in the brain with a bunch of chemicals and be asked, “So, do you feel in love yet?”.
Therefore, many experiments are done on animals to observe their behavior and here’s what scientist have learned so far:
Even though love is often associated with the heart but the real magic happens in the brain. Scientist believes that love is a biochemical reaction that makes us feel three things.
- Lust or sexual desire is controlled by both estrogen and testosterone, in both men and women.
- The attraction is governed by adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin—the same chemicals that are released by excitement and pleasure.
- Attachment is driven by a very varied set of hormones and brain chemicals—oxytocin(also known as the cuddle chemical) and vasopressin, which highlight strong fondness between two people (be it, mother and child).
But these studies aren’t 100% conclusive.
The Psych side of love:
Psychologists have spent years putting together theories of love as it such a strong emotion that it has had an impact on the behavior of each one of us. From feeling obsessed about falling into pits of depression and long term sadness and the feeling of loss, love makes us feel all.
Psychologists have taken out time to figure out why happens, what happens.
And even though, they too, haven’t found out any answers. They do try to make it easier for us to understand ourselves and our loved ones by therapy and introspection.
According to a psychologist, Sternberg, relationships built on two or more elements ( lust, attraction, and affection) are much stronger than those based on a single component. Sternberg suggests that this type of love is rare.
Which makes us question, what do we do to stay strong in love? Well, I’ve 3 simple words for you: communication, understanding and (healthy) compromising.
The philosophy of love:
While scientists and psychologists have been there in the recent past, philosophers have been out there with their theories in the long run. Here are 2 of my favorites:
“Love makes us whole again” was Plato’s theory. He claimed that once upon a time human beings were two individuals, glued together, with two heads, 4 arms, 4 legs and so on. One day the humans enraged the Gods, and Zeus punished them by separating them into two, leaving them to suffer the pain of being alone and incomplete until they are lucky enough to find their significant other.
Buddha believed that love is a misleading affliction. He suggested that the reason we love is to fulfill our base desires, and like all desires, it only leads to more suffering. Buddha’s teaching states that all attachments of this world are temporary and need to be thrown away in order to reach nirvana, an enlightened state of clarity, wisdom, and compassion.
In not-so-conclusion, love is something biochemical, emotional and soulful. Something that we understand completely and yet not at all. Keeping in mind all the facts and theories we all know this rollercoaster of a ride feel. And whether or not we find meaning, we all know we’ll never want to ride to end.