Post and poem written by Alina Naismith, WLLC 2015-2016
As human beings, we are constantly subjected to emotions, fragile and intense.
As human beings, we love to live passionately, and live for passionate love.
As human beings, it is ordinary to have universes collide, through love or hate.
As human beings, a beautiful love somewhere embraces our soul.
As human beings… we wouldn’t have it any other way.
There is one particular topic that seems to arise in every being’s life each day: Love.
It is engraved in our chemistry, a constant flow of hormones involuntarily running through our brains and veins. Our species appears to endlessly crave for this incredible passion, unconsciously searching for a higher sense of self and ultimate purpose through the tenderness of another’s existence. To further understand the implications of love in the brain, I observed and evaluated a TED Talk featuring Helen Fisher, a prominent neuroscientist whom studies how the brain responds in relation to being in love. As a Cognitive Neuroscience student myself, I found this lecture extremely intriguing, and could directly apply the concepts of love introduced to recent experiences in my life.
Below is an explanation of research conducted by Helen herself that I found especially noteworthy:
Through a latest study with newly separated couples, neuroscientists found that, when the brain is analyzed through an MRI, there is “activity in a part of the brain that is associated with intense, romantic love” (Fisher, 5:45). At this point, one perhaps desires they could let their rejecting lover go, yet the emotional connection rarely fades so effortlessly. Love infatuates humans, incessantly consuming their thoughts, as if “somebody is camping in your head” (Fisher, 5:04). As Helen mentioned, when you are in love you cannot stop “obsessing” about the other person, so letting go after a separation, whether one-sided or mutual, is emotionally taxing on the soul as well as the mind. In addition, brain regions associated with “calculating gains and losses” (Fisher, 6:25) and the “deep attachment to another individual” (Fisher, 7:14).
Through that research, which in my opinion was the most essential aspect of the Talk to reflect on, there is an indication of pure romantic drive, distinctive of sexual drive, motivating day-to-day ambitions. As Helen describes it, the desire for love is perhaps an addiction. In my view, love isn’t as much an “addiction” as it is a yearning for passion and the emotional, as well as physical, warmth that you may depend on for tenderness…. one who embraces your true self, and understands your fears, your beliefs, your passions (although that merely my personal definition).
How ever you experience love within your life, recall that through this research it is apparent your brain is completely infatuated, obsessed, and in some opinions “addicted” to your significant other. It makes letting go extra challenging in the incidence of a break-up, but also has the ability to connect two beings together in such a way that you know, in your heart, you are in fact in love.