Presented to: Mrs. ConnellPresented by: Cory HawkeDate: March 26, 1998What is this thing called love? This simple question begs for an answer. The symptoms oflove are familiar enough. A drifting mooniness in ones behavior and thought, the fact that itseems as though the whole universe has rolled itself up into the person of the beloved, somethingso wonderful that no one on earth has ever felt about a fellow creature before.
Love is ecstasyand torment, freedom and slavery. Love makes the world go round. Until recently, scientists wanted nothing to do with it. The reason being that love is lifesmost intense feeling and love is mushy. Science is hard. Anger and fear are emotions that havebeen researched in labs and can be quantified through measurements.
Pulse and breathing rates,muscle contractions, etc. Love cannot be charted or measured. Anger and fear have a definiteroll in human survival: fighting or running. Love does not. And since it is possible for humans tomate and reproduce without love, all the swooning and sighing is beside the point.Order now
Up until the past decade, serious scientists assumed that love was all in the head. Now theresearch has become more intense. This may be because of the spreading of AIDS and that casualsex carries mortal risks. Others point to the growing number of female scientists and suggest thatthey may be more willing then their male colleagues to take love seriously. Whatever the reason,science has come around to a view that romance is real.
That it is bred into our biology. We have always been influenced by love in our culture. It is a dominant theme in music,television, films, novels and magazines. It is a commercial bliss. People will do or buy anythingwith a promise of romance. Does this imply that love is just a false emotion that we picked up after years of it beingdrilled into our head again and again by society? If romance was purely a figment, unsupportedby any rational or sensible evidence, then surely most would be immune to it by now.
But thathas not happened. Love is still in the air. In 1992 a study was conducted by anthropologists William Jankowiak and EdwardFischer. They found evidence of romantic love in at least 147 or the 166 cultures studied. Thisdiscovery should be enough to wipe out the idea that love is an invention of the mind rather than abiological fact.
Among the things that anthropologists tended to do in the past was ask questions aboutthe courtship and marriage rituals. This turned out to be the wrong way of going about things. Inmany cultures, love and marriage do not go together. Weddings can have all the romance ofcorporate mergers, signed and sealed for the family or territorial interests. More and more scientists are coming to believe that love is truly a biologicalpredisposition.
That we are all scientifically fated to love by our genes and chemicals. A lot ofpeople would just as soon to not want to know. No one knows exactly how to place this mysterious emotion. It comes in many shapesand forms and different people and cultures celebrate it in different ways.
But perhaps it is betterthat we dont know the scientifics and just enjoy it. Why pull at such a beautiful and wonderfulthing and try to pick it apart when to the beholder it is already virtually perfect? The more we try