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What is love?

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posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 04:17 PM
What's the composition of love?

By John von Radowitz

Love may be a many splendoured thing, but just what kind of a thing is it?

The Oxford English dictionary describes love as "an intense feeling of deep fondness for a person or thing". For a lot of people, love is the stuff of music and poetry, and not something that bears scientific analysis.

But whether you're talking about the bonding of two soul mates or unbridled lust, there's a lot of science behind those St Valentine's Day hearts and flowers.

Experts recognise three distinct stages of love, each with their own characteristic emotional profile and scientific explanation.

First comes pure and simple lust - a desire for sexual gratification which is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen.

These hormones, in both men and women, are what get us in the mood and interested. They are the reason why thousands of hormone-charged young people head for Greek and Spanish resorts each year hoping to "cop off".

Lust might be as far as it goes, but sometimes things begin to get more complicated. That's when you slip into the next "attraction" stage, and start "falling in love".

During this time we experience all the classic symptoms of being love-struck - loss of appetite, an inability to sleep or concentrate, and sweaty palms. When we fall in love, we can't think clearly and butterflies flit about in our stomachs. Just when you want to make a good impression, you stutter and become breathless.

This is all due to a trio of surging brain chemicals called monoamines - neurotransmitters which help pass messages between nerves.

These three chemicals, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine, make us feel excited, happy and euphoric. What is more, they are controlled by a substance which is also found in chocolate and strawberries, called phenylethalamine, or PEA.

It is PEA - similar in structure to amphetamine - which controls the transition from lust to love, says Dr Claire McLoughlin, from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

"Indeed, some people become veritable love junkies," she says. "They need a constant love high and go through life in a series of short relationships which crumble when the initial chemical rush wanes."

The love junky has another problem too. We naturally build up a tolerance to these chemicals over time, so that it takes more and more to produce the same effect.

In many ways, love really is a drug. "Love junkies, if they stay married, are likely to seek frequent affairs to fuel their need for the chemical love high," Dr McLoughlin adds.

The third stage of love is attachment. It's this which causes couples to stay together even when the love "high" has faded.

Two different hormones are important during this phase of love. They are called oxytocin and vasopressin.

Oxytocin is the "cuddling chemical". Not only does it increase the bond between lovers, but it's one of the substances responsible for contractions during childbirth, and milk expression when breastfeeding.

It is also released by both sexes during orgasm. The theory goes, therefore, that the more sex a couple have, the stronger the bond between them grows.

Vasopressin helps to keep humans monogamous. Scientists discovered its unusual role by studying the prairie vole, one of just 3% of mammals that pair for life.

Before mating, the vole is friendly to male and female voles alike. But within 24 hours of mating, the male vole is hooked for life and guards his partner jealously. Researchers found that post-coital production of vasopressin is responsible for this behaviour.

Given a compound that suppresses vasopressin, prairie voles lose their devotion to one another and males no longer protect their partners from the threat of other males.

Endorphins are also involved in lasting love. The natural opiates are similar to morphine, and deliver the same pain-killing and pleasurable properties.

Chemicals also help determine who we "fancy". Without even knowing it, we are steered towards certain individuals our bodies decide are the best match.

Specifically, we choose those whose immune system genes are most appropriate for us. Scientists have found a link between sexual attraction and a cluster of genes called the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC).

It makes sense for our offspring to have a wide range of MHC genes. As a result, they will be able to fight off a wide range of infections. Of course, if your parents both have similar sets of immune system genes, the range of the set you inherit will be limited. It therefore makes sense, for the sake of your offspring, to pick a partner with immune system genes different from your own.

On the other hand, a balance has to be struck by finding "tried and trusted" genes similar to our own. Perhaps this is why some people are attracted to individuals who remind them of their parents.

How do we find the Mr or Miss Right with the "right" genes? We sniff them out, literally. Scientists have found that the immune system genes affect our pheromones - powerful but invisible signalling scents which work in a subliminal way to influence our behaviour.

Pheromones, produced by the armpits and genitals, have long been known to be vital to sexual behaviour in all sorts of animals. Recent work has shown that they are a major force in human attraction too.

Attraction through pheromones has nothing to do with looks. So it might explain why some apparently plain or even ugly people have enormous sex appeal.

If you find yourself feeling inexplicably attracted to an ordinary-looking stranger, it's probably because you've caught a whiff of their armpits.

What do you think love is? Valentines day is coming up so I thought it would be fun to post this.

[Edited on 10-2-2004 by JustAnIllusion]

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 04:22 PM
You know what, passionate goddess, I don't care what it is. All I know is everything is better when you're in it.


posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 04:26 PM
Ones reflection off another is not the love of that person
But instead the illusion of self love
To be able to love the other is to first love ones self
One who loves himself will never search
Out another to love in order to feel loved
This is because one who is content with their own actions
Will not search another out in order to make the other
Confirm the ones self worth
Contentment with ones self must be achieved before
The one is able to love another for the other
This is the love of the other for being themself
And not love of the other as a confirmation
Of the value of I
When one feels better about ones self through the other
This is not love of the other or the self
But instead, as I have said,
An illusion of ones self worth

It would be better to say, in relationship to the love for the other,
That the company of the other is enjoyed because the other is not I
And has nothing to do with the self worth of I
It is merely different
Not in such a way as to complement the other
Because that would indicate the absence of one as a whole
But instead as a connection to the others existence as being separate from I
The existence of another world outside of ones own
The world of the other

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 04:31 PM
It may be the caveman in me and I am sure I will get flamed for this but I think love at least from a male prospective is mostly just a feeling of possession.

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 04:34 PM
Have I told you lately, that I love you?

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 04:39 PM

Originally posted by DeltaChaos
Have I told you lately, that I love you?

Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You truly are the wind beneath my wings.

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 04:46 PM
I was wondering how I too could make a generous donation to the Ranting Jonna Foundation. Do you take gold and precious gems?

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 04:58 PM
Get a room already you two!

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 05:21 PM
Here is what the Cassiopaeans say Love means.
Btw to summarize, they say the meaning has been altered into some obscure magical emotion that doesn't really exist unless you think it does, but was originally simply knowledge.

A: The problem is not the term "love," the problem is the interpretation of the term. Those on third density have a tendency to confuse the issue horribly. After all, they confuse many things as love. When the actual definition of love as you know it is not correct either. It is not necessarily a feeling that one has that can also be interpreted as an emotion, but rather, as we have told you before, the essence of light which is knowledge is love, and this has been corrupted when it is said that love leads to illumination. Love is Light is Knowledge. Love makes no sense when common definitions are used as they are in your environment. To love you must know. And to know is to have light. And to have light is to love. And to have knowledge is to love.

As you can see, LOVE = KNOWLEDGE. That is ALL, nothing else. Now that you all understand, on your Valentine Cards you can write "I know you!".

To know someone is to love them, is it not? If you choose to ignore them and not know them, that's not love

How can you say "I love you" to someone you don't know? But when you say "I love you" to someone you DO know, you simply are saying "I know you!". You were kind enough to spend time getting to know them, that is love.

[Edited on 10-2-2004 by lilblam]

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 05:31 PM
lilblam, I know some people but I dont love them.

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 05:33 PM

Originally posted by JustAnIllusion
lilblam, I know some people but I dont love them.

What you call "love" just means attachment. You're not attached to them like you are to those who you think you "love". Does that make sense?

The definition of love is no longer knowledge in our modern world. It's now "attachment" or "addiction" or "really strong fondness". But the strong fondness is attachment isn't it?

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 05:38 PM
Love has nothing to do with the heart, it is all mind related as my psychology instructor would tell me. I agree somewhat and that is mainly when it comes to spousal relationships, but when you have a child, father or other such entity it is much deeper than the mind, It is more of a soul to soul connection IMO. This can happen overtime with spousal relationships, but the connection is not immediate like it is for the others.

I tend to believe love is just a deeper sense of lust and a feeling of belonging when it is a spousal relationship. People crave for the ultimate companion to talk with, to share feelings and beliefs, etc with. The more you can open yourself up the more love that is given away, so it all can be related to trust as well. You trust these people you "love" will keep what you say between the two of you.

Losing someone you love "who did not die" will teach you that love is indeed not forever, but it is a lingering happening that can be lost in time when your next companion fills the void left by the last. Again this is not the same with a child, father and such.

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 05:38 PM
removed personal insult.

[edit on 3-23-2006 by worldwatcher]

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 05:48 PM
Love is beyond all description and it is not a Science! (my opinion)

"Love is greater than what anyone can express, greater than that which anyone can understand, or experience, and yet..
It is always fully expressed, by those who are the givers whenever Love is given, and It's nature is quite fully known,
by all who have feelings, wherever It's presence is felt.
Love knows no absolute boundaries,
but all of the boundaries in life were put there out of love, to allow Soul's desires to find expression.
Love is the inspiration for all that is,
and yet it is far beyond any thing,
or any combination of things.
Love is greater than any thought,
idea, or conception of meaning, yet it is the reason why we have thoughts,
and why meanings are sought.
Love is far greater than any feeling,
and yet our capacity to feel grows more out of love than for any other reason.
Love is far beyond anything which can be obtained by reaching, or striving, and yet..
Love is the real motivation behind all efforts, striving, or reaching beyond oneself, and beyond ones limits.
Love is the ultimate goal of all searching,
and it is also our only reliable means of obtaining that goal.
Love is the one key that can unlock all things.
It can reveal the deepest mystery.
It will soften the hardest hearts.
It brings you to the very Heart of Heaven.
It will reveal itself through the art of giving, and the sharing of oneself.
For Love is a gift. It is, in fact the one gift there is. As, truly, all other gifts are a part
of this gift of giving.
Love is the basis for Life itself!
In fact, It is Life, and everything else
also arises out of Love.
Love is the very substance of Life,
and Love's expression is the purpose
for which all of reality came into being.
It is the one thing to which all life aspires,
because Love is what we have always been.
Love is so healing, and it feels so familiar,
because it is the true nature of your Self.
Soul has the same nature as Love.
It arises out of the giving of the One.
Soul is the Kindness of the One
Divine Self incarnate.
Life is the expression of Its
desire to show Love. Ours is the fulfillment of Its dreams of Love's expression. This is the essence of Divine Love.
It is the One Self giving the gift of Itself to us, so that we might share in the great expression of Love.
It is the one gift, that we can find
Love's meaning in our lives, and the Life of the Divine in Our Self.
Giving, Kindness, and the expression of Love bring us closer to the One,
and closer to our own true Self.
They make it possible to experience
the Love that Spirit has for us, and they make it easier for us to accomplish
Life's sweet purpose.
All other things in life pale before Love,
for true fulfillment comes only when Love is realized.
It is as great as a lightning stroke,
so bright, and powerful, that it threatens to shatter the heavens.
But Love is as soft as a Flower too,
and often just as fragile.
So, though It has always been here,
It will only be sure to appear in Its own sweet time. "

- Suresh Koppa S

[Edited on 2-10-2004 by worldwatcher]

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 05:51 PM
There are many types of love, but I thinking that we are talking about a partner here. I have been saying this for years: Love is 50% lust, 50% respect.

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 06:14 PM
Envision away.

[edit on 3-23-2006 by worldwatcher]

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 06:22 PM
Well, Amuk, at least you were honest that all you feel is posession towards women, though, male domination makes me sick. Anyways, as long as you do not attempt to posess a female like property and totally dominate/control her life, then I will have little to fight against you for. Just be sure to treat other's equally, which means never having some thought in your head that you are in charge.

I believe that love is based on a combination of both the chemical reactions mentioned, and also certain psychological manipulations.

There is nothing magical about falling in love of course, it is all about two humans subconsiously tricking each other, while getting eachother 'high' off of each other's chemical's at the same time.

Now I think the reason humans subconsiously trick each other is due to the fact, that the brain will do anything in order to assure an individual can reproduce with a desired mate.

As such, true love and adoration cannot truly exist can it? Probably not, yet the closest thing to it in my opinion would be an obsession.

[Edited on 10-2-2004 by QuestForSafety]

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 06:26 PM
Ze moon! Ze June! Ze spoon! C'est l'amour!! C'est toujours!"

Le rowr, le rowr !!

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 06:30 PM
In the animal world you just described utopia. We partially live in the animal kingdom having bodies, we also have minds. That is why 50% of marrages fail. You go with the lust, and forget the respect. I'm twice married myself. As for Amuk, I believe that he was talking about ownership in that it became his resposibility to take care of her, when life interfered.

posted on Feb, 10 2004 @ 06:35 PM
Strange how *some* men crave to posess women so, when it is they who become unable to care for themselves first, women end up taking care of the men usually, as men are on average first to degenerate.

Marriages fail of course, because although chemical reactions continue on, the psychological manipulation often ends after a couple has had a child, since the prosess of reproduction is concluded.

[Edited on 10-2-2004 by QuestForSafety]

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