What is Love?

633 words | 3 page(s)

Love is an abstract feeling associated with the chemical in the brain, dopamine, which stimulates the place in the brain associated with pleasure. Thus, it’s as if the brain is being rewarded for feeling this certain way. There is a distinction between love and attraction. Love can be associated with many couplings: mother/daughter, brother/sister, friends, etc. Attraction, however, is more closely associated with potential mates, or, sexual desires. Thus, love, is a more highbrow form interaction. The human psychologist Abraham Maslow sets forth a hierarchy of needs, where “love,” as he defines it, is on the third tier, below physical needs. This sets up a standard of living by which love isn’t a top tier priority to human existence so it may be argued why does it play such a significant part of a person’s life? Love then, has been established to be relevant, a need, and a chemical composition of fireworks that make the brain react in a physical way to different stimuli. Love can be categorized into attraction and feelings of intimacy. An infant does not feel love but it most certainly is loved on a biological level (through evolution) so that the mother cares for the infant. If love then has grown through biology in order to procure the human race, it is a significant need almost in tandem with Maslow’s top tier hierarchies. Love then, even though it’s a chemical reaction in the brain to stimuli, satisfies a hunger, or psychological dependency in humans.

There are many citations in literature of how this chemical reaction physically and psychologically alters a person’s behavior: Shakespeare is overloaded with tragic tales (Romeo and Juliet killed themselves because they couldn’t be together), and happy endings (A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which the couples fall in love after a magical/spellbound night in the forest). Our modern vehicle for story-telling, TV and films grosses millions in the box office for romantic comedies because people like to see other people fall in love because it makes this feeling more attainable to them. Plus, watching their love story unfold offers a release of dopamine in their brain that in turn makes them happy, or feel a part of that love that happened up on the silver screen. When boy meets girl the audience gets to relive their own love story or they get to imagine what it’s like to fall in love; how couples interact, how they care for each other, how they behavior and are kind. These affect the central striatum (the rewards center of the brain) and in turn, the person in the audience feels good about themselves through watching the couple and will leave the theater feeling a sense of euphoria.

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Another strong example of this is great love stories, both real and imagines for the screen. Bonnie and Clyde sacrificed everything for each other just like Romeo and Juliet (except one ended in poison, the other in bullets), Alexander and Cleopatra, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. There’s a reason the tabloids are fascinated with these stories; it’s because people read them. They read them with gusto because it either makes them feel better about their own life/love or happy that a couple has found each other. A more commonplace example of love (as opposed to attraction, which a lot of the films and stories portray) is between a mother and her children. This is supposed to be unconditional love: that is, no matter what the child does, the mother will love it, out of a biological necessity. In order to keep the human race alive, humans, as opposed to other mammals, must not eat their young, thus, love becomes a dire element to the propagation of the race.

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