Love Is A Chemical

Tonight I was flipping through the guide on my DVR when I came across a film called What The Bleep Do We Know. After reading the description, "Scientists, mystics and theologians try to explain physics", I decided to give it a try. There was one segment of the vilm that I found particularly interesting. It began discussing the relationships between emotions and chemicals and later bridged to the idea of love.

The segment started with a little background on the emotional chemical process in the brain and how when we experience a particular emotion, the brain produces peptides for this emotion and then send them through the body where they are absorbed by and effect cells globally.

The film went on to explain that these chemical reactions are the same as the chemical reactions that take place when using Heroine. So, it is logically reasonable that we can become addicted to the chemical reactions to our emotions. Furthermore, just like heroine addicts require increasingly more heroine to receive the same high, if our body and cells become addicted to the chemicals of a particular emotion, we will need to experience that emotion more and more to fulfill this addiction. (Please also note that we can become addicted to negative stimuli, such as depression, also)

Which brings me to the title of this post and my food for thought. One of the interviewees made an interesting point or theory on love. She (yes, it was a woman), made the argument that love is simply a chemical reaction. When we are "in love" with someone, we are truly just addicted to the chemical reactions that take place when we are with that person.

I know that your first gut reaction to this is "no, that's bullshit! I know what love is" or "you're still pissed cause you got dumped. Stop making anti-love posts". Let me just start by saying that I am not going to take an actual stance on the issue, but I do see the logic behind it.

Just think about it for a moment. If we were to assume that the Heroine metaphor were true (again, for the sake of argument), it would explain the "honeymoon phase" of all relationships. At the beginning of the relationship, we are all producing and absorbing all the chemicals we need. However, as we become acclimated to these chemical responses, we need more and more to feel the same high. Therefore, if the chemical stimuli within the relationship does not actually increase, it creates the allusion that the stimuli are actually decreasing. It would also explain how someone could fall out of love with someone else. Whether they become addicted to other stimuli or whether their partner no longer provides those stimuli to them, they are no longer chemically addicted to a person, and thus no longer in love.

Whether you believe these theories or not, the hold a lot of merit and are worth some thought. That being said, whether or not love is simply a chemical reaction, it does not mean we do not have the choice to act on what creates these stimuli. There is always a choice...

posted by Christopher Schnese