The Science of Love

Science can do a lot of things; it can put a man on the moon, fight disease and make Lady Gaga a good singer.  But can science explain love?  According to the textbook I’m reading; yes.

Love has become a buzz word; a word that means everything and nothing.  It’s the heavyweight champion of words in one breath when you whisper it to your significant other, then when you visit your aunt’s house it’s a word spelled out in block letters on a picture frame from Wal-Mart.  You go to Starbucks; it’s on a transparent window sticker on the door.  Other words that mean nothing out of context are beside it: “dream” “believe” “inspire” “hope” “breathe”.

At first I though, “let me get this straight: someone used a bunsen burner, graphing calculator and litmus paper to come up with a solid chemical breakdown of why I love my parents or girlfriend?  That’s Crazy!  How could anybody, especially someone I’ve never met, define something as individual as a fingerprint;  mystical as Santa Claus and powerful as the untamed human spirit?  #forgetaboutit.  Then I read this strikingly succinct definition:

“Passion and commitment combined with intimacy form a triangle that represents the different facets of what researchers define as love.”  (Wood & Schweitzer, 2010 p.316)  I can honestly tell you, that was the heaviest thing I’ve read in a long time.

-Passion is having very powerful and  positive feelings and desires for another person.

-Commitment is an intention to stick with a relationship.

-Intimacy is achieved when one says or does things to build trust and support with another.

It makes a lot of sense.  It almost makes too much sense; so in a way I feel like the curtain has just been pulled back.  The good news is, knowing what I know now about love, I feel like I’m more in control of it, and how I experience it.




2 responses to “The Science of Love

  1. the book “A General Theory of Love” By Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lannon is an interesting look at “the phenomenon of love and human connection from a combined scientific and cultural perspective. It attempts to reconcile the language and insights of humanistic inquiry and cultural wisdom with the more recent findings of social science, neuroscience and evolutionary biology” (WTG, science!). It’s a look at love on a limbic level, basically.
    Love is so complex, especially as we “evolve”, it’s complicated. Or, rather we (people) are complicated… I also think that not all love is “good love”. I think that a certain amount of craftsmanship needs to go into love to make it good. Learning about how it all works, from different perspectives and angles can only help in this pursuit. and besides, it’s a really interesting topic… thanks.

  2. Thanks for the info on “A General Theory of Love”, Bryn. It sounds like a good book. The topic is so intense and complicated. I agree, learning how love works from different perspectives can only help us all as people.

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