|By Forest Johnson|
I am one of those that think love is an emotion that causes more harm than good in many cases. Look to religion, and failed relationships for some of the best example of this, and not to forget the misplaced love like... "He hits me because he loves me and wants me to be a better person" or "I love my children, that is why I made love to them, because I wanted to show them how much and how special my love for them was." (I use to be a cop, so I got to hear some really screwed up crap), needless to say, I am not a fan of child molesters and wife beaters.
I am glad LOVE is around though, because without it we would not have the fun stuff like lust, passion, desire and a general zest for life. I would not have a bond with my children or my wife of 24 years (at the time of this writing). Is that bond with my wife as the same as it was on day one (the lust period)... No, but it gave way to something else just as important that we as intelligent beings seem to need just as much, if not more than 'love', ATTACHMENT. All one can hope is that feeling stays. Does this make me confused or a heartless monster? No, it makes me a realist and someone that is not easily led around by the nose by theology, Hollywood and literature.
I also have a pet peeve... You don't make love, you have sex, period, end of story. Just because making love sounds better than 'having sex', it is still HAVING SEX. Making love is a term that is so misused by everyone. I don't make love to my wife, and never have, I have had sex with her. We can't make something that has no physical presence, nor are there any physical components that I can see. Thus, the term 'making love' is the wrong analogy for the act of having sex with someone we are have this chemical response with. Is there a time when sex is more special than others? YES, it is when both parties hare emitting a lot of pheromones, and it heightens the release of Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin and other chemical stimuli in the brain. Thus creating a more euphoric effect on those involved in the act of sex. However, there are times, and lets be honest, we just go through the motions. It is natural, and those of us in a relationship want to please our partner (Attachment). An orgasm is just that, it is NOT the height of love making, but it is the massive dumping of chemical stimuli which give us that glimpse into true euphoria, that fleeting yet most exquisite high... The ORGASM (better than any narcotic on the market).
Everything I’ve read about 'Love' says basically the same thing. It is a chemical response to a physical stimuli or memories there of. Nothing shows love to be a physical entity, rather a chemical reaction in the brain to something physical (chocolate, puppies, kittens, places and people). You can not make it, however you can feel it. You feel different levels of this chemical response; based on what you see, hear smell, taste, etc.
No one can ever be in love with someone 24-7. When a person angers you, that positive stimulus is broken; yes that ‘love’ comes back to some degree, or in many cases never does. What we call love is nothing more than comfort and familiarity with what ever/whom ever we are ‘in love’ with.
Some people are more susceptible to this chemical brain stew, more so than others and some simply feel it for a short time, then they are done. Which explains why some people act like total animals when it comes to someone to something/someone they ‘love’. How hard it is to understand that ‘you can not possess something’ that does not exist on a physical plane of existence such as ours? It does not take a sociologist or psychologist to see that ‘love’ for all of its glory and evil is nothing more than chemical response to some kind of attraction to something or someone; even if that pleasure is for a moment or for years.
Love comes in three basic flavors Lust, Attractions and Attachment. I have never seen or experienced ‘LOVE’ we all see and hear about in novels and chick flicks.
Lust exposes people to others; romantic attraction encourages people to focus their energy on mating; and attachment involves tolerating the spouse (or indeed the child) long enough to rear a child into infancy. Lust is the initial passionate sexual desire that promotes mating, and involves the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and estrogen. These effects rarely last more than a few weeks or months. Attraction is the more individualized and romantic desire for a specific candidate for mating, which develops out of lust as commitment to an individual mate forms. Recent studies in neuroscience have indicated that as people fall in love, the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals, including pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which act in a manner similar to amphetamines, stimulating the brain's pleasure center and leading to side effects such as increased heart rate, loss of appetite and sleep, and an intense feeling of excitement. Research has indicated that this stage generally lasts from one and a half to three years.
Since the lust and attraction stages are both considered temporary, a third stage is needed to account for long-term relationships. Attachment is the bonding that promotes relationships lasting for many years and even decades. Attachment is generally based on commitments such as marriage and children, or on mutual friendship based on things like shared interests. It has been linked to higher levels of the chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin to a greater degree than short-term relationships have.
(per Helen Fisher a leading expert in the topic of love)
However, we all ‘enjoy’ the time when the chemical is released by those things/people (chocolate, puppies, kittens and people) that trigger such a positive response. Why not use the term “I am pleased with you presence” for example? BECAUSE IT SOUNDS STUPID!
Love is a useful word.
You see ‘love’ is just too easy a word to throw into a sentence, and make it something special. ‘Like’ can be used just as well, and infer just as much meaning as love in all of the above examples… No? You know why? Simple, ‘love’ has been given the power of a deity thanks to movies, literature and even theology. Like it is some kind of super magical word that can heal the sick, make the blind see and the cripple walk again. It is just a term used in place of other terms such as… Like, Eros, Lust, Desire, Passion and so on. Yes love has been used to describe all those words and more. I could give up any of the list above, except for the last two... That is because I have an Attachment to those two; a very strong attachment which triggers a comforting dose of natural Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin and so on, of which I am dependant on. The other items give me pleasure (not speaking in terms of sexual pleasure, rather emotional pleasure... so don't even go there) and/or comfort, but not like my Children and Wife.
You love that cigarette, and you go crazy when you can’t have it… Wait that is an addiction to a drug call nicotine… see what I mean? Love is addicting; rather the chemicals involved in the whole ‘love thing’ can be addicting, more so to others than some.
Next time you think you are in love, think again, you are on Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin and other chemical stimuli from the brain, acting in conjunction with things like Pheromones, Estrogen and Testosterone and so on. Plus there is a Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) that goes into overdrive when you first ‘Fall in Love’ or Lust then Attraction; but it goes back to normal after about 1 year the experts say (Attachment or Commitment).
I know many people try to tell me that ‘love’ is not definable and all that crap, I don’t believe them and I will not believe you either, so save your breath. Truth is , Webster’s has defined it, the bibles of the various religions lay out their biased requisites for it, literature and the movies have certainly bastardized it into malformed super divinity. It is a word that describes the release of a series of chemicals in our brains and physiology which give us some sort of pleasure or comfort… Love is just chemistry.
If you want to counter my ideals and offer some VALID NON-THEOLOGICAL or POETIC arguments regarding Love, and You can do so without becoming some kind of knee jerk left field whack-job, by all means let me see your counter. I am basing my opinions on years of experience and research into what love is; not what I want or hope it to be. I think I've presented some good basic and fundamental arguments on the matter as they pertain to my beliefs. Oh and I support Wiki's, great information from many many sources; professional and non-professional alike.