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Confusing Love: love, addictions, evolution, and higher powers

Updated on February 13, 2018
MSantana profile image

She loves to write about science, the natural world and peoples questions about life. She has degrees in Biology, botany and Ecology.

I think he is able to express with his body the emotions that poets express in words. He seems to be sad....but it is not. At the Caribbean Voices, Wisconsin Book Festival.
I think he is able to express with his body the emotions that poets express in words. He seems to be sad....but it is not. At the Caribbean Voices, Wisconsin Book Festival. | Source

By Mirna Santana

The lovers wonder why is the path of love full of thickets and spines? Why is that when they imagine straight paths under beautiful trees or grasses, all they encounter is a labyrinth that prevents them from seeing each other? All lovers have imagined paradise. Lovers instead of dying people may have invented the scenes of paradise. A paradise that looks so perfect, it perhaps represents our ultimate connection with nature or our ultimate desire for freedom.

When lovers find their mates, or ideals, they will live in excitement and extreme happiness (lover highs); yet sadness, depression and even suicidal thoughts or actions, have also been associated with this state (if the lover is not correspond or he/she experiences rejection and does not know how to manage it.)

Because of the 'highs' many people keep stumbling in the initial stages and their love never matures before they seek another high. For most couples, however, the initial stage is a transient beginning stage. Notice that this beginning stage could last from days to years, in some married couples until they experience disappointment or their 'ideal' person changes. The lower and dramatic stages may not be too healthy though 'these transient negative stages' have been the juice of many good novels, movies, and poems. Every single human being would experience some sort of degree of disappointment related to love, and this is but a part of being alive.

Being in love is like being addicted says Helen E. Fisher author of several books about love and behavior in humans. The brain regions that get activated when a person thinks of his/her loved one are the same as the regions activated when people used drugs--dopamine reward, and motivation system.

Another team of scientist Sussman, Reynaud, Aubin and Leventhal--in a paper published in the journal Sage, 2011--further suggested that prayer (sense of higher power), meditation, early romatic love and drug abuse/drug recovery--are all associated to the same region of the brain, the mesolimbic/dopamin associated patway, which regulates intense emotional states.

These authors bring the recovery of alcoholics using spiritual means or a higher power, close to the process love addicts go through.

"Love addiction involves cycles of euphoria and disappointment, emotional dependence,and idealization of a romantic partner "--(Reynaud and others 2010; Sussman2010).

Is the lover's display of beauty, emotions, and such, just a game driven by the primitive brain of the beast...the evolutionary game? Is Evolution driving the search of the mate in humans comparable to the wild animals search for a mate? May a display of confidence by a man be comparable to the bull fights or to the colorful bird feathers?

Yet if evolution drives love that is a matter that concern scientist. Because for the most, lovers rather side with the poets. For them love is wonder comparable to religious or even higher power love.

Even Edgar Alan Poe, which for many was considered a representative of darkness, brought light to his writings when speaking about couples in love:

She is the lady and he is the gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of El dorado.

And more than one prophet have advice lovers over the centuries. From the prophet Kahlil Gibran these words:

When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.

While Scientists continue to search for answers to the issue of love, love or other addictions, and how they may relate to higher power... I leave you with the words of Rumi, who said, that it was Love itself that mattered.

Love is from the infinite, and will remain until eternity.
The seeker of love escapes the chains of birth and death.
Tomorrow, when resurrection comes,
The heart that is not in love will fail the test.

© 2011 MSantana


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    • MSantana profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Madison Wisconsin

      I see many positive things in love. It is a wonderful thing. It moves people to help and care for each other. It is part of our connection not only to other humans but also to other species and the environment around us. In this piece, however, I highlighted the research that indicates that the physiological/body response of early stages of love--buzz, is located in the brain, in the same centers as the responses to addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs.

    • HattieMattieMae profile image


      8 years ago from Europe

      I don't necessarily agree love is an addiction. Understand the dopamine thing when two lovers meet, but that only last a certain period of time. Being very spiritual as well that is not an addiction either. Evolution and spirtiual path is being free of any addictions or attachements. Whether it is addiction, materalism, people, sex, etc. Addictions is about people dealing with their issues in a negative way. They hide in their addiction because they want to escape pain and suffering and reality! When you don't want to face reality you dive into the things of life to avoid what you must face in yourself eventually! Love has nothing do with addiction.


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