Victoria NeuroNotes

The Neural Basis For The Ancient Wisdom ‘Love Is Blind’

200 Comments

Without knowing why this was happening, I recognized, early on, consistent patterns of behavior in relationships that started out romantically. I also recognized these patterns in my previous relationships.

This puzzled me.

In my teen years, I listened to a pensive song by the Carpenters, Love Me For What I AM. It made a huge impression on my young psyche, and prompted many questions.

We fell in love
On the first night that we met
Together we’ve been happy
I have very few regrets
The ordinary problems
Have not been hard to face
But lately little changes
Have been slowly taking place

It wasn’t until around 2007 that I gained a better understanding, and this knowledge has played a significant role in making me aware of the importance of getting to know a person, very well, before pursuing romance. This is especially important when considering the possibility of a long-term relationship, and all that that can entail.

Romantic love has been one of the most studied, yet least understood behavior, until recently. Over two decades ago, Helen Fisher, who is a biological anthropologist, studied 166 societies. In 147 of them, she found evidence of romantic love, the kind that can leave you overwhelmingly preoccupied with the other person, and hypnotically euphoric.

Fisher also led a research team in 2005, publishing a groundbreaking study that included the first functional MRI (fMRI) images of the brains of individuals in the throes of romantic love. Her team analyzed 2,500 brain scans.

“Photos of people they romantically loved caused the participants’ brains to become active in regions rich with dopamine, the so-called feel-good neurotransmitter. Two of the brain regions that showed activity in the fMRI scans were the caudate nucleus, a region associated with reward detection and expectation and the integration of sensory experiences into social behavior, and the ventral tegmental area, which is associated with pleasure, focused attention, and the motivation to pursue and acquire rewards.”

I’ve read comments from people who say that understanding love through the lens of science devalues its beauty, and seems mechanical. I disagree. What is beautiful about waking up next to your partner, after months, or perhaps a year or two of orgasmic bliss, and realize you really don’t have much in common. What’s beautiful about breaking up or divorce?

When the honeymoon period ends, it’s not uncommon to get annoyed by habits your partner has — habits you never paid attention to before — or if you did notice, you simply overlooked them. It’s not uncommon to start seeing flaws in another, that matter to you now, when it didn’t matter at the beginning of the romance.

What happened? What changed?

Your brain.

Romantic love is kept alive by something basic to our biological nature.

chemical_basis_of_love

The Brain On Love

Harvard Medical School professors and couples therapists, Richard Schwartz and Jacqueline Olds, study how love evolves, and why it so often collapses.

“When we are falling in love, chemicals associated with the reward circuit flood our brain, producing a variety of physical and emotional responses—racing hearts, sweaty palms, flushed cheeks, feelings of passion and anxiety. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol increase during the initial phase of romantic love, marshaling our bodies to cope with the “crisis” at hand. As cortisol levels rise, levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin become depleted. Low levels of serotonin precipitate what Schwartz described as the “intrusive, maddeningly preoccupying thoughts, hopes, terrors of early love”—the obsessive-compulsive behaviors associated with infatuation.”

brain-in-love“Being love-struck also releases high levels of dopamine, a chemical that “gets the reward system going,” said Olds. Dopamine activates the reward circuit, helping to make love a pleasurable experience similar to the euphoria associated with use of cocaine or alcohol.

Scientific evidence for this similarity can be found in many studies, including one conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, and published in 2012 in Science. That study reported that male fruit flies that were sexually rejected drank four times as much alcohol as fruit flies that mated with female fruit flies. “Same reward center,” said Schwartz, “different way to get there.”

Is it wise to put the cart before the horse?

cart-before-the-horseWhen potential partners take the time to really get to know one another, there’s a good chance that nature won’t dupe them into believing they are compatible when they are not. Nature is sneaky like that. As noted above, romantic love is a highly rewarding experience and is linked to the perpetuation of the species.

Romance also activates regions in the brain’s reward system that coincide with areas rich in oxytocin and vasopressin receptors.

“In addition to the positive feelings romance brings, love also deactivates the neural pathway responsible for negative emotions, such as fear and social judgment.

When we are engaged in romantic love, the neural machinery responsible for making critical assessments of other people, including assessments of those with whom we are romantically involved, shuts down.

“That’s the neural basis for the ancient wisdom ‘love is blind’, said Schwartz.”

Such knowledge can help prevent confusion, blame, misunderstanding and heartache. It can create relationship harmony. Having awareness about our neurobiology is empowering.  That is something worth sharing.

humanist_heart_logo

“The power of getting to know one another is so immense, eclipsed only by first getting to know ourselves.” ― Bryant McGill, Voice of Reason

Sources:

Love and the Brain (Harvard Medical School)

The Neural Correlates of Maternal and Romantic Love


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Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

200 thoughts on “The Neural Basis For The Ancient Wisdom ‘Love Is Blind’

  1. Okay, I’ll be the first: “. . . fruit flies that were sexually rejected drank four times as much alcohol”. Priceless! XD

    Just to flip the coin for moment, what if – as the song suggests – ‘love is in the air’? What if, in this instance, correlation is not causation? [Forgive the trope, if you will.] Here, we come to the Hard Problem – are qualia identical to neural states? Perhaps the New Mysterians are right, and we’ll never know?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Is love purely ‘in the head’?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Are you suggesting that neurochemicals are not required? If so, do explain.

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          • No, no, no – obviously consciousness requires a brain and all that. I said ‘purely’ in the head, begging the question as to whether mind both begins and ends in the head. The thing is, Hard Materialism hasn’t won the day in the scientific community. No one knows what conscious qualia are, and there’s lots of discussion about where the mind ‘ends’. Cranialism is but one possible answer, Victoria. We have ideas like Honderich’s Radical Externalism, and Chalmers’ positing that awareness could be a fundamental property of the universe.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’m open to information that will help us understand ourselves better, and the people we love — information that will enhance relationship harmony. I’m just not sure how any of what you’re sharing is helpful regarding romantic love, and the neurobiological mechanisms involved that influenced the ebbs and flows of neurohormones, along with neural circuity deactivation/activation, thus impacting behavior.

              I think you’ve gone way over my head. Any further elaboration is welcomed.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Let’s have one of those irritating thought experiments that philosophers do, and consider where love is, locationally:

                We commonly regard ourselves, our sense of ‘me-ness’, as being located within our heads. Some ancient cultures believed the self/soul to be located between the eyes, others in the solar plexus, but these days, our essence is widely thought to be ‘in our heads’, so it seems. This is largely because our perceptual systems model our body and the environment in this manner; it isn’t due to the fact that our brains are located in our heads.

                Imagine removing your brain from your skull, nerve connections remaining established, such that you could hold it in the palm of your hands and stare at it. What would this feel like? The sense of ‘me-ness’, of where your essence is, would still appear to be located in your head, even though you were staring down at your brain in your hand.

                This indicates that awareness, or conscious qualia, are falsely attributing a locational quality that is entirely misleading. The same must be true of love, the uniquely characteristic experience of love, and we come back to the question of whether qualia aren’t somehow a pervasive interaction between spatial objects (eyes and brain, lover and senses), yet themselves are non-local.

                No matter what correlates we discover with the brain, we’ve not established that qualia themselves are brain states, are located in the brain, or indeed if they are located (spatially) anywhere. Awareness, as a sort of ground-state, or Tabula Rasa, of consciousness, may yet prove to be a fundamental property of the universe – like gravity or electro-magnetism.

                Love may be both in the head, and in the air, as the song suggests.

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                • Your ‘thought experiment’ simply delegates your conclusion about ‘locational quality’ (I’m really not sure what that means). That’s not an experiment but an unsubstantiated claim disguised as if it were an obvious ‘conclusion’. It’s not obvious. In fact, it’s dubious.

                  I have no idea from what location I might ‘think’ if my brain were removed but kept alive because self-location is a model built by the brain of an external reality affecting stimuli to it. We know this this process is undertaken by the brain based on an assortment of physiological input and neurochemical releases. Sever the brain from this necessary input (and place it in one’s hand, for example) and suggest its self-identifying location would remain the same as its original location is just a claim without any thoughtful experimental substance.

                  So when you then claim that “This indicates that awareness, or conscious qualia, are falsely attributing a locational quality that is entirely misleading,” I think you’ve massively overstepped the confidence you’ve placed in the reasons for your bounds.

                  Additionally, because qualia is a term meant to indicate subjectiveness, I think you’re misleading yourself to suggest its source can be reasonably attributed to anything other than the internal processes of the brain.

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                  • By ‘locational quality’ I mean having a sense of where something is located in space. If you ask yourself now, ‘where is awareness?’, what is your answer? Forget the brain story, answer where awareness actually is.

                    I’ve not made an ‘unsubstantiated claim’, nor made what you term any ‘conclusion’, Tildeb; rather I’m saying we ought be cautious about making any claims to know what consciousness is – whether monist/dualist/physical/immaterial/panpsychical, or whatever. This is why cognitive science is at the cutting edge, the big question – because no one knows what it is!

                    I did not say ‘sever the brain’.

                    Again later you say that I make a claim when I wrote “This indicates that awareness, or conscious qualia, are falsely attributing a locational quality that is entirely misleading”. Indicates. So, again, where is awareness? Not, ‘where do you think awareness is’, but where actually is it?

                    Can I refer you to the link I left for Victoria, Tildeb?

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                    • All of this comment is dependent on assigning to the term ‘awareness’ the sense of a noun, a thing, something with physical properties…. and then scratching one’s head about where ‘it’ may be.

                      Do you see the problem?

                      You are presuming your conclusion.

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                    • Tideb said: “All of this comment is dependent on assigning to the term ‘awareness’ the sense of a noun, a thing, something with physical properties.”

                      So, is awareness immaterial, or doesn’t it exist?

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                    • No. The term ‘awareness’ is a word. That doesn’t make it real and independent of the brain that descriptively uses it. The same is true for ‘unicorns’.

                      The important understanding is what the term actually represents and it’s here where we find the mushiness of such thinking. You already presume to think it represents a noun, a thing with physical properties. This is no more accurate a presumption than is assuming a flock of birds is a single complex agency and mind because we’ve assigned it a singular term. Like flocks, ‘awareness’ means at the end of the day local units obeying local rules without any overarching mind or guide or design at work.

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                    • By the way, as I said before, you keep insisting I’ve made conclusions, when I haven’t.

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                    • I say it because you continue to use your claims as if conclusions rather than premises, as if ‘awareness’ was a thing independent of the brains that produce this state (and so you extend and then use that claim to be the basis for suggesting the same possibility for ‘love’).

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                    • Tildeb, with respect (and I mean that, I know you’re intelligent), you persist in either making Straw Man arguments or insisting I’m saying things I’m not. I accept your reductionist/materialist viewpoint as a valid way of looking at consciousness. But it isn’t the only way. And you don’t know what consciousness is any more than I do.

                      Don’t bring up the old ‘unicorns’ trope, please – it’s old hat; save it for those pointless Creationists vs. Atheists discussions. Thankyou. 🙂

                      I am aware that words are symbols, and they either have referents, or do not. I am also aware what nouns and verbs are. And on that, once again I must correct you, I do not “presume to think it [awareness]represents a noun, a thing with physical properties.” That’s you ducking answering my question: “So, is awareness immaterial, or doesn’t it exist?” I am not claiming anything of the sort – it would patently be absurd to do so! – and don’t want to couch the argument within paradigms that aren’t understood – see the Max Planck quote.

                      I’m suggesting – not demanding that you or anyone else agree – that awareness is a useful concept-symbol for that aspect of consciousness which is not a psychical representation, a reflex response to the senses made by the brain. I’m also pointing up that people like David Chalmers are suggesting we need be open to the possibility that some kind of subjectivism/awareness/call-it-what-we-will is a fundamental aspect of the universe. Then there is the current fad for Panpsychism, which is seeing a huge resurgence amongst consciousness theorists. Again: no one knows what subjectivity is. To be insistent that it is reducible to a brain state is in effect, a leap of faith. One I’m not making.

                      The precept of most consciousness theorists is: ‘no content, no consciousness’. This may well be a mistake, as there is indeed an objectless awareness accessible to the human mind. We can’t rightly call that consciousness because it isn’t ‘with knowledge’ – which is what consciousness means, strictly speaking, and as I’ve been at pains to point out. You can read the research on that here:

                      http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00099

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                    • HB, you say, ” you persist in either making Straw Man arguments or insisting I’m saying things I’m not.”

                      Obviously I don’t think this is the case so let’s review and see if it is accuarte.

                      Your thesis is to suggest that love may be like awareness, and that awareness can be tested using a thought experiment about location. “This (thought experiment) indicates that awareness, or conscious qualia, are falsely attributing a locational quality that is entirely misleading.”

                      You are saying in effect that attributing ‘awareness’ to the location of the brain is misleading because you can alter that by this thought experiment… and then simply states you can alter this location. (Hence the unicorn reference: stating it doesn’t make it so.)

                      I’m sorry, HB. I don’t think I’ve mischaracterized your thesis nor misunderstood your reasoning for it. It seems relevant to me and not a Straw Man argument that the brain is where all the evidence about ‘awareness’ points.

                      Bummer.

                      You may think this is a straw man argument and so trivialize the actual evidence (trivialized by a Nobel laureate!) to make room for some OTHER location for awareness that you ASSUME is legitimate (hence the Max Planck quote as if this substantiates the legitimacy of your assumption).

                      I’m saying it’s not legitimate. I’m saying the assumption you make about the alternative location for awareness is not grounded in compelling evidence but in fact contrary to it (and in many ways). The understanding today about fields does a much better job explaining why the core theory in physics works (rather than some universal agency). Your alternate suggestion has nothing except word play and metaphysical references to back it up. This is a HUGE red flag you are waving but fail to heed its warning. I’m simply pointing it out because apparently you don’t see it.

                      I’ve explained why the term ‘awareness’ is so problematic using metaphysics rather than neuroscience (the mind is what the brain does) and why the avenue to better understanding the term’s reference rests not in mystical agencies and unknown locations – hypotheses that have produced no knowledge about anything ever – but by approaching the issue of consciousness hypothesizing local units obeying local rules… for which there is very compelling evidence.

                      And you can test this yourself: try to alter your awareness. Now look at what you’re doing and what it is you’re trying to affect (I heard that, inspiredbythedivine… get your mind outa yer pants).

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                    • which permits of collapsing quantum states in microtubules

                      Just finished Greg Egan’s Quarantine which paints a world where aliens have encased the earth in a bubble because the human brain kept collapasing quantum states (across the universe, whereever we looked), destroying worlds and civilisations.

                      Interesting read.

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                    • John, I’ll read the book if you think my pea brain will comprehend it. 🙂

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                    • It’s pretty good. All his stuff is great. After finishing everything by Robert Reed I was at a loss as to where to go. He set the bar impossibly high, but then i teased Egan, and enjoyed his style. I’ve read everything since.

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                    • Thanks John, that does sound interesting. Egan’s book looks to be more of a veiled, negative critique of the Copenhagen Interpretation, or at least, he is using the CI as a literary device rather than as being a proponent of it. It seems the CI is largely regarded now as faulty – yes?

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                    • No idea. I’m still waiting for super-electronmicroscopes to reveal tiny little blue men hammering “reality” together in that split second between present and cognition 😉

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                    • People really don’t get the collapsing wave function thing. Reality itself is an ongoing wave function that describes all possible states. To know about any one state means collating all the information about it. But the act of collecting information itself eliminates almost all of the possibilities. It is the POSSIBILITIES we are collapsing in the wave function.

                      To grasp the basic concept(s) of the uncertainty principle about capturing either time or place, consider the following joke(s):

                      Heisenberg and Schrödinger get pulled over for speeding.
                      The cop asks Heisenberg “Do you know how fast you were going?”
                      Heisenberg replies, “No, but we know exactly where we are!”
                      The officer looks at him confused and says “you were going 108 miles per hour!”
                      Heisenberg throws his arms up and cries, “Great! Now we’re lost!”
                      (the point being we can know location but not velocity… OR we can know velocity but not location… to an astounding degree of accuracy. In either case, capturing the selected information collapses the wave function about all possible worlds and turns it into an answer for this one.)
                      The officer looks over the car and asks Schrödinger if the two men have anything in the trunk.
                      “A cat,” Schrödinger replies.
                      The cop opens the trunk and yells “Hey! This cat is dead.”
                      Schrödinger angrily replies, “Well he is now.”
                      (See? Looking in the box eliminates all possible worlds – the cat may or may not be dead – and answers the question.)

                      And just to blow your mind, remember that space is an emergent property of fields. (Space is not – repeat, NOT – fundamental to the universe) and is not a ‘thing-in-itself’! This helps us grasp why elements seem to be ‘entangled’ separated by what we perceive to be a distance. But they are in fact connected. Our perspective is the problem here and not evidence for spooky action at a distance.)

                      And another little gem: if not for entropy, we wouldn’t have time. And this is one reason why HB’s uncertainty about the loction of awarensss – another emergent property – is so dubious that it isn’t even dubious. Every time you capture ‘awareness’ you necessarily collapse the wave function and find it in the neurons.

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                    • I think you’d like Greg Egan’s book, Tildeb.

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                    • I think you’re right. After all, if you liked it then that’s a pretty good indication I would find it a worthwhile read. I’ll add it to my never-shrinking reading list. Tentative date: next summer.

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                    • Are we having this conversation in some alternate world? I can’t see any of these comments

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Awesome. That at least explains why that feather boa wearing penguin which keeps flying overhead is singing Devo songs backwards in Mandarin.

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                    • It’s singing it forward here… entangled, I presume.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • “For those whose long-term marriage has transitioned from passionate, romantic love to a more compassionate, routine type of love, Olds indicated it is possible to rekindle the flame that characterized the relationship’s early days. “We call it the rustiness phenomenon,” she said. “Couples get out of the habit of sex, of being incredibly in love, and often for good reasons: work, children, a sick parent. But that type of love can be reignited.” Sexual activity, for example, can increase oxytocin levels and activate the brain’s reward circuit, making couples desire each other more.

                      That alone, she said, may be enough to bring some couples back to those earlier, exhilarating days, when all they could think about was their newfound love.”

                      John, I can’t see them either, not on the actual comment page. Weird.

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                    • No problem. Tildeb and I are, it seems, in a shadow world. Want me to pick you up anything special while I’m here?

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                    • Haha — let me think.

                      What a pity, because this was a great convo. It’s showing up in admin, and in email, but not directly on the post.

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                    • Good thing Arch isn’t here – WP would be getting the what-for. . 🙂

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                    • I was thinking the exact same thing, Carmen. LOL

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                    • Testing, one two three

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                    • The absence is evidence for… wait, let me ask HB!

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                    • Grab me a few free wills while you’re there. I just sold my last one. Thanks.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • No problem, and some Dark Matter underwear, naturally.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Please, and some antimatter socks would be nice.

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                  • Tildeb, I think you see the positing of a concept of a non-local awareness (as distinct from consciousness) as being a ‘red flag’ because you’re viewing it from the perspective of Local Realism. [see: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28112-quantum-weirdness-proved-real-in-first-loophole-free-experiment/%5D

                    “The notion of local realism is so ingrained into our daily thinking, even as physicists, that it is very important to definitely close all the loopholes.” – Anton Zeilinger (from the above link).

                    As that article states at its opening: “It’s official: the universe is weird.” Things such as Retrocausality and Superdeterminism may be in play. [see: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1510.06712v2.pdf%5D

                    One of the world’s greatest mathematical physicists, Roger Penrose, is developing a theory of consciousness known as OrchOR – a non-computational theory of consciousness which posits quantum involvement. And as we know, there we must allow for the non-local. The theory has its critics, of course it does, as do they all.

                    I’m wanting to stay open to some of this weirdness, and would suggest that’s in fact sensible (see: Zeilinger’s quote). Far, far more competent minds than ours are working on this stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. When you talk about ‘compelling evidence’, then its only so in relation to what I call – much to your distress 😉 – ‘objects of consciousness’, but not to the illuminative aspect of consciousness itself (if one accepts it is in fact illumined, as I tend to regard it as being). We differ in our views, that’s all. Can we end now?

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                    • This comment thread highlights the inherent problem of examining emergent properties. We start to use terms that are mistaken for object in themselves, which then open the door and invites woo. The signs and symptoms are are the switch away from the material and into the realm of metaphysics where claims (premises) become synonymous with conclusions. When pressed, the advocate for some mysterious agency existing in some mysterious realm then switches to quantum physics and ignores the incompatibility of the original claims with the core theory that we have every reason to trust with our lives (and do… everyday) in this ‘macro’ world of ours.

                      For example, we use the term ‘flock’ to describe the murmurations of large groups of birds. We have a good reason for doing this because these beautiful acrobatics seem to be one thing, a complex dance as if organized, as if designed with purpose and a single agency directing it. We see the discrete boundaries of the flock and so it’s tempting to think of it as a thing-in-itself. But when we used a disciplined approach and examine in detail what is really going on, we find local units obeying local rules. No agency. No purpose. No ‘thing’.

                      When we try to examine consciousness – introduced in this thread as ‘awareness’ – we do the same thing: we see it as an individual thing because each of experiences our consciousness and so we are equivalently tempted to see it as purpose driven by a single agency with discrete boundaries. And so we try to find ‘it’…. and run across the same problem as looking for the ‘flock’. It’s not a thing; it’s handy and useful term. When we dig down and look hard at its constituent parts, we find the same pattern: local units obeying local rules. What EMERGES only seems to be a thing and invites Mystery.

                      This temptation is highly seductive because it’s so EASY. It masquerades as knowledge, as an avenue or window into the mysterious other-worldly realm of weird but wonderful possibilities. The problem is, however, we don;t learn a damn thing by misidentifying an emergent property as a thing and the clue is that metaphysical musings about the Mystery reliably fails to advance our knowledge. Disciplined and detailed work produces incremental advances in knowledge. This is how we will come to learn about how consciousness arises… not by assuming Mystery but by painstaking research ion the here and now with stuff that has measurable physical properties that interact with other physical properties.

                      If we find ourselves accepting a lack of knowledge by substituting Mystery and be willing to go along with some aspect of Mystery to explain possibilities that are incompatible with our knowledge base that we rely on to work all the time, then we know we’ve made a methodological mistake. Our ontology will be polluted by poor epistemology. In other words, if some Mystery doesn’t fit with today’s standard core theory of physics – not the tiny perturbations of quantum mechanics at the infinitesimally small scale where weirdness occurs – then we know – as much as we can possibly know anything – that we’ve made a mistake.

                      Suggesting the love is like consciousness and perhaps/maybe/possibly exists as a Mysterious Thing in some way independent of the brains that experience them is exactly the kind of mistake that if true stands contrary to our understanding of physics – including quantum physics – that constitutes the explanatory value of the core theory.

                      That’s why I take issue with this suggestion HB has raised here; it may seem reasonable at first blush but because its thesis is incompatible with our understanding of physics – of how local units obeying local rules creates profoundly complex emergent properties – There are no good reasons raised here by HB to suggest otherwise no matter how seductive the alternative may seem. Mystery, in this sense, is simply an admission of “I don’t know, but I’m going to start making shit up and presenting it as if it is a reasonable alternative.” It isn’t. It’s the product from making a fairly simple thinking error.

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                    • Now you’re saying I’m putting forward a teleological perspective – wrong again, Tildeb.

                      And again, you’re insisting on a perspective of Local Realism – see my link on that, and remain open, as the theorists are undecided, unlike you.

                      I have no objection to the term ‘mystery’, much as you repeatedly and pointedly use it in the pejorative sense. As Chomsky observes, a distinction can validly be made between problems which appear resolvable, in principle, by scientific methodologies, as against mysteries, which even in principle seem intractable. He observes that cognition is necessarily limited by biology and hence some problems may be beyond our purview. All we have are our ape brains.

                      I’ve supported my tentative position in balancing it with links to research papers, which you either won’t read, or ignore. You’re trying to paint me as a woo merchant simply because I’m suggesting consciousness/awareness may not just be all about neurons firing and higher order brain processing. Again, I provided a research paper on this. I also referenced OrchOr and the Penrose/Hameroff theory of consciousness, which permits of collapsing quantum states in microtubules, but you say this is irrelevant. By the way, Penrose was awarded the Wolf Prize for physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking, for their contribution to our understanding of the universe. But no, they’re talking nonsense, according to Tildeb.

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                  • Victoria, I’ve dropped my comment initially at 7:10 a.m. in the wrong thread – could you possibly remove it leaving the same one duplicated in response to Tildeb at 7:12 a.m.? Many thanks!

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                  • John, care to copy that comment to the very same one of my own but which was duplicated at 7:12? Reason being I’ve asked Victoria to delete the first as it’s in the wrong place – hence your comment will then appear to be hanging in the middle of nowhere. Like awareness. 😉

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            • Whatever you perceive, whatever you think or feel, is a product of external and internal stimuli filtered through the brain. To say that “hard materialism hasn’t won the day in the scientific community” is to reject all known evidence that it actually has.

              We are a product of your evolutionary past and still subject to its impulses of attraction. These impulses were once instincts, but because of the evolution of reason, have been rendered to impulses.

              Until we begin to understand how much primal impulses influence our behavior, we will still seek amorphous, external answers to psychological questions and never really understand them.

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              • I wish I could ‘like’ this comment more than just once!

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              • Nice T-shirt, Max – shame it ended up being Hillary.

                “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.”

                — Max Planck, Das Wesen der Materie, 1944. Nobel Prize in Physics, 1918

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                • Max T. Furr said: “Whatever you perceive, whatever you think or feel, is a product of external and internal stimuli filtered through the brain.”

                  I said much the same myself, Max, to John Zande below: “Obviously enough, all knowledge objects are psychical representations, and hence are brain and nervous system dependent.”

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                  • all knowledge objects are psychical representations, and hence are brain and nervous system dependent.

                    No. This is exactly backwards. The objects (I have no clue how a ‘knowledge’ object differs from an ‘object’) exist independently of brains that perceive them so they are NOT brain and nervous system dependent. Our knowledge of them is based on Bayesian likelihood that is so useful that to think the objects are brain dependent is of the lowest possible likelihood level. That differential is vital to understand why technologies, applications, and therapies based on such knowledge just so happen and as far as we can tell to work for everyone everywhere all the time REGARDLESS of the brains and nervous systems using them.

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                • No. Just because atoms were connected by unknown forces does not in any way endorse some conscience and intelligent mind. The correct ‘answer for Planck was “I don’t know.” Now we know there are mindless fields at work.

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                  • Okay, so the Nobel Prize was winner was wrong, and you’re right.

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                    • Kinda off topic, but I’ve won a Nobel Prize, well, I gave it to myself, and I can vouch for all of us winners: We ain’t NEVER wrong!!!!! $Amen$ 🙂

                      Liked by 4 people

                    • False equivalency. The laureate misplaced his “I don’t know” with metaphysical musings that led us exactly nowhere. What led us us to knowledge about reality – a kn0wledge that came later and from which I can draw – was a better understanding of local units obeying local rules. This is in effect, the core theory of physics painstakingly extracted from reality itself and not the poetic imaginings of metaphysical musings of what may have been a stoned Nobel laureate.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Bloody hell, so now Planck was a stoned poet, was he?

                      Tell you what Tildeb, you seem to have all your certainties firmly in place as regards what you call ‘reality’ and as regards consciousness itself, so clearly you’re going to ‘win’ what you appear to conceive of as some sort of competition here with me. More than that, you can go and do a TED talk and wait for your Nobel nomination now that you’ve unravelled science’s greatest challenge.

                      Victoria, I’m sorry if this has gotten out of hand. I hadn’t intended this. My opening comment was “Just to flip the coin for a moment, not wanting to divert too much from the theme.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • “Victoria, I’m sorry if this has gotten out of hand. I hadn’t intended this. My opening comment was “Just to flip the coin for a moment“, not wanting to divert too much from the theme.”

                      No apologies necessary, H. I appreciate the discourse, and always walk away having learned something. Also, I have no problems with a post theme being diverted or evolve. Sometimes, that’s when we learn the most. 🙂

                      Liked by 3 people

                • Unabashedly, I will post here a pertinent, clarifying excerpt from my novel, The Empathy Imperative. Oddly, the main character seems to hold my view of the origin of existence (re: an original conscious creator or none at all) and I think he expressed it fairly well.

                  The scenario has the main character, a professor of evolutionary biology–a target of a nationwide purge of liberal educators–answering a challenge from a fundamentalist preacher:

                  “I’m saying that the most perplexing question of all is not, ‘Does God exist?’ but, ‘Why is there anything at all?’ I am musing about the origin of existence. It’s an unanswerable question, really, but it’s nonetheless fascinating to ponder, at least for me.

                  “What I am saying is that, even as my mind reels in awe at existence itself—even as I am staggered by the breathtaking improbability of it all, I cannot conceive of a conscious, intelligent being at its foundation.

                  “And, to assume that such an intelligent being—a god—is the cause of existence, is no answer at all, even if you do agree with the concept that this god caused Itself to come into existence. Whence did it come by all the knowledge it needed to create anything?

                  “In my humble opinion, it is more reasonable to accept the possibility of the eternal existence of energy, manifesting in one form or another, or even to believe in energy as self-causing, than to suggest that a thinking mind, consisting of nothing, coming from nothing, popped out of nowhere, into nowhere, thought about it, then made it somewhere.

                  “For there to be a thought, or even a popping into existence, logic would say there must first be motion, and that which is in motion would have to become organized. There must be a causal link from movement to organization before a thought can organize.

                  “And, for there to be motion, of course, there must be something that moves, which would necessarily be something energetic. There is an energetic precondition, Reverend, for every thought and memory in your head.

                  “So, to boil all this down to its base element, even though I believe both propositions—existence caused by a god and existence caused by no god—are irrational, I think the existence of an eternal energy field is less so because we know the energy field exists. We are a part of it. We have the observable evidence of its existence.”

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. An interesting and unexpected one. When I first met my partner the big joke was that I was so busy thinking of him I put the post in the wrong boxes (Sydney, so international, national and local). Trouble is, thirty years later, life hasn’t moved on. He still distracts me.

    Not that we took long to get to know each other. Married after four (?) months. For one of those I was gaily traipsing round NZ. And, companionship in older age is vastly underestimated.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m happy for you, RS. You are one of the fortunate few.

      Why an unexpected one?

      Like

      • Unexpected, because about romance/love as part of analysis of brainy things.

        I understand the lust in the early days and that’s good, but it’s so much more complex than that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, it is complex, but simply put, we are reward seeking beings. Another example, we are also rewarded, neurochemically, with altruistic type behavior.

          Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland, wanted to find the neural basis for unselfish acts. They decided to peek into the brains of 19 volunteers who were choosing whether to give money to charity, or keep it for themselves. To do so, they used a standard technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging, which can map the activity of the various parts of the brain. The results were reported in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

          They found that the part of the brain that was active when a person donated happened to be the brain’s reward centre—the mesolimbic pathway, to give it its proper name—responsible for doling out the dopamine-mediated euphoria associated with sex, money, food and drugs. Thus the warm glow that accompanies charitable giving has a physiological basis.

          But it seems there is more to altruism. Donating also engaged the part of the brain that plays a role in the bonding behaviour between mother and child, and in romantic love. This involves oxytocin, a hormone that increases trust and co-operation. When subjects opposed a cause, the part of the brain right next to it was active. This area is thought to be responsible for decisions involving punishment. And a third part of the brain, an area called the anterior prefrontal cortex—which lies just behind the forehead, evolved relatively recently and is thought to be unique to humans—was involved in the complex, costly decisions when self-interest and moral beliefs were in conflict. Giving may make all sorts of animals feel good, but grappling with this particular sort of dilemma would appear to rely on a uniquely human part of the brain.”

          Liked by 2 people

  3. If we could neutralise the jealousy gene, perhaps nature would want us to have a partner for every season.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That’s right up nature’s alley. Diversity, diversity, diversity.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Polyamory is certainly catching on amongst the under thirties. A recent study showed that, across age groups, there were incidences of infidelity averaging around 20%. The figure was much higher for the under thirties, but of their total, 20% of the occurrences of sexual relations with others were both known about and consented to by the non-participating partner.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Need a new word meaning Seasonal Polyamory’iesh. Diets change with the seasons, so maybe lovers should, too.

        Reading your thoughts to V, and the only problem I see with it is brain injury and how that can change a persons personality. If mind/soul (whatever you want to call it) is independent then we should probably not see this effect.

        Anyway, I’ve always liked this video:

        Liked by 2 people

        • Love V.S.! And have know that video from old. I’ve read his books. 🙂

          I’m making a distinction between consciousness – which means ‘being with knowledge’ (Latin ‘con scientia’) – and the illuminative aspect of it, which we might call awareness. Obviously enough, all knowledge objects are psychical representations, and hence are brain and nervous system dependent. Why are they rendered as qualia though? Why are they not known purely as information to be retained or acted upon, but known to themselves also, as if ‘lit’ or illuminated by awareness? To be clear, I’m not saying there’s an ontological distinction between consciousness and its illuminative aspect, so I’m not talking substance dualism or whatever. In short, I’m saying I don’t know, and neither does anyone else, for sure.

          Liked by 3 people

      • Used to be called shagging around. Different names, same thing.

        Like

        • Different things, because it seems a fifth of the under thirties are gaining consent from their partners to shag around. I don’t suspect that figure was ever that high, not even in the sixties. It may have been amongst communal hippie types, if I can say that, but not amongst the under thirties at large, as nowadays – according to the survey.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I may have mentioned I sat in on a course called Love, Lust and Attachment offered by my colleague a couple years ago and it was quite fascinating. You might be interested to know that there is some debate in the scientific community between Helen Fisher and others. She claims romance is a separate drive biologically to the attachment drive and the sex drive. Others claim that romance is only a tool we have adapted for the purpose of sex and for the purpose of bonding for the purposes of forming attachments. It seems the balance of the evidence indicates that romance may be a left over drive from days in our evolutionary past when mating rituals were key as romance may play a role in mate selection which is a separate drive, although playing a much more modest role in our current state of evolution.

    I guess for me personally I don’t see a lot of hard and fast rules that guarantee relationship success. For me, I have fallen for those that I have fallen and the time it has taken to get to know them has had little influenced. Like RS…my wife and I moved in together on our second date. And we’ve had big trouble spot, but overall I don’t feel like we’ve fared worse than anybody else in their relationships. Of course I know you know that we all have flaws, perfections is not possible and it’s all about what flaws you can deal with and what you can’t. I’ve seen plenty of people who have known each other for years dating before making a commitment and clearly not a good match and still stay together. I’ve know couples that had short periods of getting to know each and are very happy. What it’s like on average I don’t know, but I’m not aware of any study that correlates relationship happiness and longevity based on the time it took you to get to know the person before romance set in. I do think it requires some personal heartbreak to have some experience to know what you really want, what’s important in a partner, and what the right questions are to ask. But there is no reason why important discussions can’t happen very early in getting to know someone.

    For me one of the more damaging problems with our current relationship models is that it tends to be based on the idea that we are static creatures and not dynamic ones. We are constantly changing. And while the euphoria of love does give us a blind spot we cannot, conceive of every eventuality because who someone is today may not be who they are tomorrow.

    I do find the neurobiology of love fascinating and certainly doesn’t take away from any of the joy. It adds to it really. I guess my own personal feeling is that I have never been shy about going all in and following that initial feeling of attraction based on very little information. Heartbreak sucks but I’ve always seen it as proportional to the love I experienced, and after the pain fades I am left only with the warmth of the love I got to experience. There is no relationship I regret regardless of how much it hurt when it ended. That being said I know what is true for me is not true for everybody. While love acts very similarly neurochemically in the brain for all, what we perceive as love is very much based on our nurture. What romantic relationships we watched growing up, the way love was shown (or not shown) to us. Some psychologists say that all love is projection. We love the way we were loved, and part of the reason we find incompatibility is that another person’s view of how you show love is different from your own. In my own relationship that is something that I’ve noticed. I had to pay more attention to what Maggie saw as demonstrations of love, rather than trying to give the love in a way that I wanted to receive it.

    I love talking about love. Can you tell? lol

    Liked by 7 people

    • We’ve known people who’ve lived together for years, got married and split up within months. Odd.
      For me, one of the big factors is that I gave my word. I don’t do that lightly. As you say, every relationship has bad times, but do we really bail ship? And, tbh, I can’t imagine living with anyone else. My partner and I have too much in common, too much lived time together. We know what the other thinks. What they are going to say. Precictable? Yes. But the attachment is different to love or lust.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree with you. I don’t bail either. Although I think certain situations do call for bailing when there is abuse or that kind of thing, but most issues are worth at least trying to work through with your partner when you’ve started drifting away from each other. And I too like the fact that my wife and I have so many shared memories and that we know each other so well. It’s wonderful to have someone like that in your life. Because you can just be yourself and know that you are still loved no matter what. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

    • “Of course I know you know that we all have flaws, perfections is not possible…”

      Bite your tongue, non believer!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Swarn, I really appreciate your detailed feedback. I’m functioning on 3 hours sleep right now, so I will have to address some of your comments in segments and separate comments. You wrote:

      “I guess my own personal feeling is that I have never been shy about going all in and following that initial feeling of attraction based on very little information. “

      I agree about going all in. My point is that I think we can go into a relationship thinking more about ourselves, and our needs (rewards), and be so caught up in the bliss that we miss important aspects about our potential life-partner, whether that be meeting some of their needs, or overlooking behavior or habits that you know, deep down inside, could hinder your relationship, long-term, but you blow it off because that person makes you feel so damn good at the moment.

      So, what happens is that in the beginning you send the signal that who they are, flaws and all, is totally OK with you, but then once the dopamine wanes, and you’re not getting as much of a buzz as before, you might make your partner feel that the reason things aren’t working out is because of these certain aspects of their personality, which you didn’t critically assess in the beginning (maybe for selfish reasons). It leaves them at an unfair disadvantage because they were mislead, in a way. I know this can work both ways.

      Liked by 5 people

  5. “I’ve read comments from people who say that understanding love through the lens of science devalues its beauty, and seems mechanical. I disagree. What is beautiful about waking up next to your partner, after months, or perhaps a year or two of orgasmic bliss, and realize you really don’t have much in common. What’s beautiful about breaking up or divorce?”

    Great Post, Victoria. “What is beautiful about waking up next to your partner, after months, or perhaps a year or two of orgasmic bliss, and realize you really don’t have much in common”

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong in my mind about this. It’s all part of the process of living. I wouldn’t be a good “case” study because at 62 , I have yet to find my life partner. Having said this, I have had several wonderful relationships with women which didn’t work out, but we both realized this and moved on. Did it hurt? Of course ! A lot at first. I have very fond memories of these women to this day however and I would like to think they do of me. Will I do it again ? As long as I am alive. 🙂

    To me it’s called “life” And part of life is dreaming and fantasizing and loving regardless of how science explains it. I don’t disagree with you that some people have a hard time realizing their relationship was just “orgasmic bliss”. I have 2 good buddies that have been married multiple times. One for 4 times and the other for 5 times. Is there a problem here ? Maybe 🙂

    Are there any studies which show there are longer lasting relationships for people who took the time to get to know each other before starting a romantic relationship than for those who didn’t ?

    Thanks for sharing !

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Ken, thanks for sharing your thoughts. A 2014 study by Emory University researchers Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon found that the more time couples took to get to know each other, the longer lasting the relationship.

      Couples who date for 3 years or more have better chances of staying together and a more stable marriage. The findings mimic those of a 2006 study which found that couples who have dated less than 6 months before marriage had the highest divorce rate.

      A 1985 study published in the journal Family Relations, found that the only factor that consistently correlated with marital satisfaction was the length of courtship. The longer couples dated, the happier they were in the marriage. “In this particular sample, longer periods of dating seemed to be associated with subsequent marital happiness,” the paper’s authors conclude. They hypothesize: “In mate selection, with longer periods of acquaintance, individuals are able to screen out incompatible partners.” However, the study also noted that it didn’t need to be a necessary condition, as is evident by some of the comments here.

      http://www.jstor.org/stable/583577?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

      In 2006, psychologist Scott Randall Hansen interviewed 952 people in California who had been married for at least three years. As with the Kansas researchers, he also discovered a positive correlation between length of “courtship”— defined as the amount of time between the couple’s first date and the decision to get married — and reported marital satisfaction. Hansen found that divorce rates were highest for couples that had spent less than six months dating, though he reminds us not to conflate correlation with causation; rushing into marriage might be a sign of impulsiveness or impatience — personality traits that could also lead couples to give up on each other.

      https://books.google.com/books/about/Courtship_Duration_as_a_Correlate_of_Mar.html?id=8CivNwAACAAJ&hl=en

      Victoria: “What is beautiful about waking up next to your partner, after months, or perhaps a year or two of orgasmic bliss, and realize you really don’t have much in common”

      Ken: “There’s absolutely nothing wrong in my mind about this.”

      I didn’t say it was wrong. I agree, that’s life, but I don’t find beauty in staying in a relationship where there’s little to no compatibility, and makes you unhappy.

      You wrote: “To me it’s called “life” And part of life is dreaming and fantasizing and loving regardless of how science explains it.”

      Indeed, but I find the knowledge about our neurobiology, and how it influences behavior, produces a kind of empathy and understanding. If the relationship doesn’t work out, there were other factors most likely involved. Again, I find such information empowering. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Being friends first helps a lot I think. I also don’t think knowing why something happens in any way diminishes the act or feeling.

    Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Funny that you should post this today, when I just read this on a new blogger’s ‘About’ page. He was asked for advice to give, after stating that he’d been married 50 years. He replied –

    Marry young
    Live long
    Stay married

    I got quite a kick out of that, because it seems to be the characteristics I’d say have worked for us. (almost 40, in our case) Now, the fact that we are friends has certainly been an underlying constant. Also, it’s interesting to note that two of our four children married people from their graduating class. Each had been friends with their partners before they became romantically involved. They had been in the school band together, been on Students’ Council, shared the same peer circle, etc. They’d all gone off in different directions for school and/or work and then re-met after a few years.

    I think you are onto something. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Pfft Carmen. So where are me and my partner in that?
      Marry midtwenties
      Who can say about life expectancy?
      Agree
      We are mates, but that was secondary.

      Like

      • I just thought it was funny b/c he tried not to give any advice – purposely. As much as I agree that being friends is important, my first reaction to giving advice on relationships is “Who the hell knows why people stay together?” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – that’s about as deep as it gets, for me. But it’s a good intellectual pursuit to pick each other’s brains, though. And to read the studies. . . 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • I would agree with ‘who the hell knows’.
          I think ‘he was the one for me’ is somewhat dubious, yet Ms Hardheaded and Pragmatic was in the Register Office within months. Neither of us were interested in marriage. And yet …

          We did have commonality. Well some. A tiny bit. Not much at all really 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • Do you REALLY want to know why we got married? His mother insisted. ( I think it was the two-month old child – now 39 – who might have influenced the decision just a ‘tad’)

            But – what the hell – SOMEthing worked . . . 😉

            Liked by 2 people

    • Carmen, I think if I had stayed married to my ex, I would have gone mad. 😀

      My mother divorced my dad when I was 11. She was very unhappy. She remarried 5 years later, and has been happily married ever since. The difference? Friendship and having a lot in common. They love to play together. That’s so important.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Extremely informative post and comments.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Superb and informative post. Extended dating (i.e. getting to know one another) probably is the best thing couples can do for a successful marriage. Although, I would disagree with Shakespeare a little. Lovers do sometimes see what petty follies they commit, but their passion usually overwhelms their rational judgement.

    Soon, I’ll be posting a fictional story of lost love which illustrates uncontrollable romantic desire, the added complexities of mental health issues, as well as some of the excellent observations detailed in this fine post.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “I would disagree with Shakespeare a little. Lovers do sometimes see what petty follies they commit, but their passion usually overwhelms their rational judgement.”

      Agreed. I mentioned something quite similar to Swarn in my reply to him.

      Bob, I look forward to reading your fictional story, and thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am late to the party.
    Hello V. Been many days.
    Is this to say we should not settle down based on, as the poets would render it, “it was love at first sight blah blah? ”.
    Or if we want to settle down, it should be a tactical move with the hope we can always learn to love?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mak.

      In answer to your questions, I’m saying that in the first year to 18 months of a romantic relationship (when we are infused with a potent cocktail of neurochemicals), we may not be able to critically assess genuine compatibility with someone. It’s in this period that we tend to overlook things about another person that would normally matter, but doesn’t during this stage because we’re so into the chemical rewards. Later, when the reward chemicals start to wane, those things start to matter, and that’s when the relationship can start having problems.

      Happy to see you, Mr. Busy. 🙂

      Like

      • Mr. Busy is equally happy to be seen 🙂
        How then do we explain those who date for several years, say I do, then divorce a month or so later, citing irreconcilable differences? What were they doing in this duration?

        Like

      • Is that when our awareness says to us, “Hey, Maybe I’m in the wrong location?”

        Funny how our changes in emotional state correlates so robustly to changes in our neurochemistry. It’s almost as if they were originating in the same place… but we should be very skeptical about this ‘possible’ link. Quantum fluctuations and all that uncertainty jazz, donchaknow.

        Like

    • “Is this to say we should not settle down based on, as the poets would render it, “it was love at first sight blah blah?”

      Not necessarily. It’s just to say that it’s a gamble, and the odds are against you, if you’re interested in a lasting relationship.

      “Or if we want to settle down, it should be a tactical move with the hope we can always learn to love?”

      I agree with RS, this is a concept in arranged marriages. Again, another gamble, with the odds against you.

      The ideal situation, IMO, is having a solid friendship where you really, really like the person for who they are, not for what they can do for you. Then, if the sparks start to fly, my, oh, my, we’ve most likely got a winning combo. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s also the wave function in relationships where they evolve in response to our environments… they involve significant high periods and low.

        I think I’ve ‘fallen in love’ with my spouse at least three times… so far… but I know we’ve had those ‘out of love’ extended periods of time too, where the intolerance of slight differences (never by me, of course… skirting so close to perfection in all matters as I do) seem to outweigh any fondness. This changing emotional topography over time is far more interesting and engaging and meaningful than just the plateau of being in love, I think, but rarely highlighted as ‘normal’. What I find is this idea that we should be in love and so when that wanes (as any chemical excrement will yield) I think far too many people opt out of the relationship and miss the boat on traversing the valleys that counterbalances the peaks. It’s the whole package that I think allows us to keep on discovering and better appreciating those we claim to love.

        Liked by 5 people

        • Okay, not so perfect in my editing skills. Actually, rather deplorable editing skills. My apologies… especially to RS who must grind her teeth when reading my sloppiness.

          Liked by 1 person

        • “never by me, of course… skirting so close to perfection in all matters as I do”. Little two year-old granddaughter with me here says, “Nannie, what are you laughing at?” . ..big grin . . .

          Liked by 4 people

        • Tildeb, to add to your excellent comment, this is from the Harvard article I posted in the OP:

          “If love lasts, this rollercoaster of emotions, and, sometimes, angst, calms within one or two years, said Schwartz. “The passion is still there, but the stress of it is gone,” he added. Cortisol and serotonin levels return to normal. Love, which began as a stressor (to our brains and bodies, at least), becomes a buffer against stress. Brain areas associated with reward and pleasure are still activated as loving relationships proceed, but the constant craving and desire that are inherent in romantic love often lessen.

          Many theories of love, said Schwartz and Olds, propose that there is an inevitable change over time from passionate love to what is typically called compassionate love—love that is deep but not as euphoric as that experienced during the early stages of romance. That does not, however, mean that the spark of romance is quenched for long-married couples.”

          Liked by 2 people

          • That quote reminded me of a 70th Anniversary we went to awhile ago. He was 17 and she was 20 when they married. He was quite a well-known character in the area and always referred to his wife as ‘Granny’. (In fact, I didn’t know her first name until I saw it on the cake!) Anyway, we went to talk with them and congratulate them on their special day. Vance said, “Look, if I’d known how good married life was, I’d have been married when I was SEVEN!” 🙂

            Liked by 5 people

        • Continue from the article:

          “For those whose long-term marriage has transitioned from passionate, romantic love to a more compassionate, routine type of love, Olds indicated it is possible to rekindle the flame that characterized the relationship’s early days. “We call it the rustiness phenomenon,” she said. “Couples get out of the habit of sex, of being incredibly in love, and often for good reasons: work, children, a sick parent. But that type of love can be reignited.” Sexual activity, for example, can increase oxytocin levels and activate the brain’s reward circuit, making couples desire each other more.

          That alone, she said, may be enough to bring some couples back to those earlier, exhilarating days, when all they could think about was their newfound love.”

          ——————————————-

          And we know from other studies that sex isn’t the only way to increase oxytocin levels.

          Liked by 1 person

      • I have a few male friendships from university (30+ years). I’ve never imagined, er sparks, with them, and never could. I’d prefer the lasting friendship. I’ve stayed with all of them when they were single and when they were married. It’s nice to have male friends like that.

        I obv do things back to front. Get the sex out of the way and then see if there is more to it! 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Just a note: It seems there are several comments missing in one of the threads, with discourse between Tildeb, Hariod and John. They are showing up in the dashboard, and in email notification, as well as the WP notification window, but not on the post. I did an edit to see if it would refresh the page, to no avail.

    I can copy and paste them (time-dated) in a separate thread, if anyone is interested.

    Like

  12. That comment thread “collapsed.” Now that’s spooky at a distance. Lol

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Maybe my attempt at humour shifted the balance of the universe and the wave function for comments collapsed?

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Hariod in reply to john zande. 2016/10/27 at 8:54 am
    “Thanks John, that does sound interesting. Egan’s book looks to be more of a veiled, negative critique of the Copenhagen Interpretation, or at least, he is using the CI as a literary device rather than as being a proponent of it. It seems the CI is largely regarded now as faulty – yes?”

    John Zande in reply to Hariod Brawn2016/10/27 at 9:26 am
    “No idea. I’m still waiting for super-electronmicroscopes to reveal tiny little blue men hammering “reality” together in that split second between present and cognition😉”

    Tildeb in reply to John Zande 2016/10/27 at 10:25 am
    “People really don’t get the collapsing wave function thing. Reality itself is an ongoing wave function that describes all possible states. To know about any one state means collating all the information about it. But the act of collecting information itself eliminates almost all of the possibilities. It is the POSSIBILITIES we are collapsing in the wave function.

    To grasp the basic concept(s) of the uncertainty principle about capturing either time or place, consider the following joke(s):

    Heisenberg and Schrödinger get pulled over for speeding.
    The cop asks Heisenberg “Do you know how fast you were going?”
    Heisenberg replies, “No, but we know exactly where we are!”

    The officer looks at him confused and says “you were going 108 miles per hour!”
    Heisenberg throws his arms up and cries, “Great! Now we’re lost!”
    (the point being we can know location but not velocity… OR we can know velocity but not location… to an astounding degree of accuracy. In either case, capturing the selected information collapses the wave function about all possible worlds and turns it into an answer for this one.)

    The officer looks over the car and asks Schrödinger if the two men have anything in the trunk.
    “A cat,” Schrödinger replies.
    The cop opens the trunk and yells “Hey! This cat is dead.”
    Schrödinger angrily replies, “Well he is now.”
    (See? Looking in the box eliminates all possible worlds – the cat may or may not be dead – and answers the question.)

    And just to blow your mind, remember that space is an emergent property of fields. (Space is not – repeat, NOT – fundamental to the universe) and is not a ‘thing-in-itself’! This helps us grasp why elements seem to be ‘entangled’ separated by what we perceive to be a distance. But they are in fact connected. Our perspective is the problem here and not evidence for spooky action at a distance.)

    And another little gem: if not for entropy, we wouldn’t have time. And this is one reason why HB’s uncertainty about the loction of awarensss – another emergent property – is so dubious that it isn’t even dubious. Every time you capture ‘awareness’ you necessarily collapse the wave function and find it in the neurons.”

    John Zande in reply to Tildeb 2016/10/27 at 10:49 am
    “I think you’d like Greg Egan’s book, Tildeb.”

    Tildeb in reply to John Zande. 2016/10/27 at 11:05 am
    “I think you’re right. After all, if you liked it then that’s a pretty good indication I would find it a worthwhile read. I’ll add it to my never-shrinking reading list. Tentative date: next summer.”


    John Zande n reply to tildeb 2016/10/27 at 10:50 am

    “Are we having this conversation in some alternate world? I can’t see any of these comments”

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Hope I got most of it. I didn’t post the comments after John brought to our attention that he couldn’t see the comments directly on the page. Hope this helps.

    But this alternative reality convo is still going on between John, Tildeb, Jeff, Carmen and yours truly. Lol

    Like

  16. Wow, that’s a way to look at love. Brain in love, priceless!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. First of all, love the Shakespearean quote. One of my faves. As for romantic love, well, I think nature knows what she’s up to, in that initial attraction. Part of the perpetuation of species. But being human, it might be important to realize we’re not simply breeders (or are we?). If we wish for a long-term relationship, surely we must ground our impulses in the facts revealed before us, early on. There are some ground rules, which I suspect your wise young self has already learned. What we see is most often what we get. To find someone willing to take the journey with us, to use The Relationship to grow and enrich both lives, yes. To understand our neurobiology and ground our senses in sensibility, of course! We can still get stars in our eyes, but, as you so brilliantly offer, “What is beautiful about waking up next to your partner, after months, or perhaps a year or two of orgasmic bliss, and realize you really don’t have much in common. What’s beautiful about breaking up or divorce?” Nothing. That shit is Painful. Peace, Victoria ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Bela, happy to see you. Carmen posted a link below that said it so much better than I ever could have. I wanted to posit some neurological reasons why relationships often don’t work out. Why people may fail to see the red flags at the beginning. I find this kind of knowledge beneficial — less finger pointing, and perhaps an opportunity to find forgiveness in oneself and for the other person. Nature only cares if we are compatible long enough to ensure the survival of our offspring. Nothing against nature, but it’s nice to have a one-up when it comes to finding a companion to love and respect deeply and grow old with. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Absolutely fascinating! I’ve been doing some reading in this space, and your thorough research confirms what I read. Perhaps it’s also why the hubs and I are still trucking…we were friends for several years before we even thought about dating. I’ll admit it though…sometimes I miss the chemical rush 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michelle. I wholeheartedly agree that friendship is the glue. In the Harvard article I posted in the OP, it shows evidence that the chemical rush, the passion, the lust, can be reignited in couples who have been together for a long time. Check it out when you can find the time. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Looking back on life I now conclude that as a teenager I learnt more real wisdom from Mad Magazine than religious instruction.

    One of the many insightful contributions from Mad Magazine was a collection of cartoons noting how behavior that is tolerated/cute pre marriage becomes annoying post marriage. That series of cartoons was published in the 1970’s, perhaps psychologists could do well to examine this treasure trove of insight into the quirks of the human condition.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ain’t that the truth, Peter. How sad is it that we live in societies that are sorely lacking in educating about child development, sex education, and intimate relationships. So much so, that magazines like Mad Magazine, and other forms of entertainment media, end up being our primary source of education on these issues.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I recall getting a dose of Margaret Mead’s theories in my High School Social Studies class. I don’t actually remember much about Mead’s views, except the film clip were were shown had the following song included:

        But subsequently I heard reports that Mead’s conclusions were somewhat discredited.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Hello again. Ron and I have gone over 26 years this year. It is amazing. When asked why we seem so close, what keeps us so much in love, I often tell people it is because “we are best friends”. Yes we are lovers, husbands, and partners. We also are friends. We want to do stuff together. WE prefer to be with each other. We will do things with others, not not generally alone, we go together. Often we go out with just each other, we plan activities with just each other. Sometimes we include others, but mostly we love being together. Even just riding in the car can be romantic. One of us will reach over and touch the other. We talk about things. We share dreams. I think your study is right as best I understood it. I have lusted before in my youth before I met Ron, but those individuals wouldn’t have made the wonderful husband I have now. But taking our time, learning each other, realizing what we meant to each other and what we hoped for the future, that has made a wonderful fulfilling 26 plus years.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Well! I’m going to post this here (before Victoria does), because this woman speaks eloquently about many of the topics that were touched upon in the comments.
    I am also wondering if it takes twenty-five years to realize all these things; methinks so. Such wisdom! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Love is work and it isn’t always romantic. The reality of it is being with someone who you are friends with and are sexually compatible with as well. I think we over complicate sexual compatibility. All it really is, is being with someone who knows when to be gentle and when you like it rough and how. Love is someone who sees your shit and still thinks that you’re as beautiful and lovely as a rose. He is not with you to save you and you are not with him to fix him. You understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, but don’t use them to manipulate each other. Instead, you see them as opportunities to encourage one another, patiently help each other, and learn new things yourself. Love is not for the weak or dip shits, it’s for the strong. However, being absolutely honest and strong enough to know when to leave a relationship in a humane way is outrageously courageous as well!

    This is how I feel about hubs and this is how he makes me feel. He. Is. My. Passion!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well said, Charity. ❤

      Like

    • Charity, I’d never heard that Patti Smith tune before, and I especially like the cover. This past year, I watched a fascinating interview with her on PBS, and she talked about her late husband. It was touching.

      Lyrics from Dancing Barefoot:

      She is benediction
      She is addicted to thee
      She is the root connection
      She is connecting with he
      Here I go and I don’t know why
      I flow so ceaselessly
      Could it be he’s taking over me
      I’m dancing barefoot
      Headin’ for a spin
      Some strange music draws me in
      It makes me come up like some heroine
      She is sublimation
      She is the essence of thee
      She is concentrating on
      He who is chosen by she
      Here I go when I don’t know why
      I spin so ceaselessly
      Could it be he’s taking over me
      I’m dancing barefoot
      Headin’ for a spin
      Some strange music drags me in
      Makes me come up like some heroine
      She is recreation
      She intoxicated by thee
      She has the slow sensation that
      He is levitating with she
      Here I go when I don’t know why
      I spin so ceaselessly
      ‘Til I lose my sense of gravity

      Here’s a quote from that PBS interview:

      Patti: “But as a footnote, I do want to say that I’m so grateful to Fred for wanting a family because I love my children so much. And because we lost him so early, they both magnify him. I look at them and can see him. I can see the way he walks, his annoying things, his beautiful things, his shoulder blades, everything in my children.”

      http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/singer-songwriterauthor-patti-smith/

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  23. Interesting to see that Penguins seem to share something of the romantic intrigues of humans:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/guy-fawkes-bonfire-gunpowder-plot/homewrecker-penguin-mate-fight-video/

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I was *obsessed* with sappy, romantic oldies when I was a kid (in the 80s). Now I’m in recovery from what I’ve self-identified as a love addiction. I know it’s not the same as a dependence on drugs, but being caught up in the pattern of falling madly (quickly) in love… and then out of love for one reason or another over and over again is too painful; I think it’s certainly a ‘process addiction.’ And based on the neurotransmitters involved, it may well be a type of chemical addiction, after all!

    Fascinating post! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi SaLJ, welcome. I think there are many people who are in love with being in love. Being in love is euphoric — an awesome feeling. Identifying if it’s actually the person you are in love with, can be difficult, especially considering the fact that we can be duped by our neurochemicals. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Like

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