“For God’s sake hold your tongue, let me love”: Love- A Mystery or Science ?
A few years back (1997), a film made a history. ‘Titanic’ is not only mere a film but a saga of love where Love at first sight is physically seen through Jack’s eyes as he looks at Rose. This film gives hope of true love as Jack and Rose passionately love each other regardless of his poor economic circumstance and her dreaded engagement. Another Indian film, ‘Veer-Zaara’ (2004) is an epitome of love, separation, courage, and sacrifice. It is a love that is divine, a love that is whole-hearten, a love that is completely consuming, a love that grows with separation and deepens with sacrifice. A love that is an inspiration-and will remain a legend forever. Since, the onset of human civilization, love making is an eternal pleasure for the humanity. To me, love is an epic of endocrines and neurons. It is one of the most interesting domain almost all the literary and artistic creations explored by the theoreticians and philosophers since the time immemorial. Who we love, why we love and for how long we will love-lot of questions emerge before the journey of love making. Social taboos may also become a decisive one. But after all, we cannot ignore the science of love making because of its scientific fragrance. The radiance of biochemical attributes undoubtedly key components for having the pleasure of this imponderable antiquity. Before exploring the science behind love making, let us find the different types of love as exist in human nature. Friendship, Infatuation, Empty love, Romantic love, Companionate love, Fatuous love & consummate love-the seven colors of love are categorically defined (Sternberg) while exploring the rainbow of love. Like all other magic of realities in nature, the science of love making is not beyond exceptions. Let us have the biochemical avenues of love making in the context of romantic love. It is important to see how loves work in the light of biological dogma. Unlike other positive emotions like joy, happiness, merriment, love cannot be kindled individually; rather it needs physical connection in between two minds. Specially, there are three triggers in this episode- oxytocin, mirror neurons and vagal tone. Each contributes a little bit and the cumulative response makes the happiness feelings of love (Fredrickson).Needless to say, the scientific basis of love is often sensationalized as we have little bit confirmatory evidences to draw a rigid conclusion in this regard. In a word, it can be treated as total eclipse of the brain. Romantic love can be broken down into three categories (Fisher)-lusts, attraction and attachment and each of them is cradle of feel good hormones stemming from the brain. Lust is an art for sexual gratification. The hypothalamus of the brain stimulates the production of endocrines; testosterone and estrogen from male and female counterpart to strengthen the lust behavior. Then Dopamine comes in the center stage. High levels dopamine and nor-epinephraine are released and make us giddy, energetic and euphoric leading to the negative swing of appetite and insomnia. They play the role of ‘fight or flight’ response. Then there is a gradual decline of serotonin responsible for appetite and mood.OCD patients also suffers from the same issues. In the climax stage, Endocrines, Vasopressin & oxytocin (Cuddle hormone) strengthen the attachment for making the avenues of romantic entanglements, friendships, social cordiality even parent-infant bonding along with other intimacies. Even it has been observed that when the parents act affectionately with their siblings, micro-movements of love like making eye-contact, smiling, hugging or playing, oxytocin levels in both the counterparts are subjected to be in positive swing. What happens in the brain when the endocrines are doing a lot of jobs? Human brains (1300–1400 gm) are the repository of billion neurons. It can be treated as many numbers of stars in the Milky Way like as many neurons in the brain. About 86 billion neurons are making a mystery in the brain. The reward circuit of the brain comprising of the amygdale, the hippocampus and the frontal cortex are basically are reinforced of the behavior like pleasure, happiness and other intangible outcomes. The regions of reward and motivation are activated in presence of the desired one. The blood flow increases and the activation of the areas may cause a positive swing to inhibit defensive behavior, reduce anxiety and to increase trust. Thus, the brain activation brings a pleasure of social interactions and impedes negative response. Happiness, Commitment and relationship are glorified for the candle of love. Out of the billion, vagus nerve connects our heart to brain to expedite the meaningful experience of love. ‘Vagal tone’ is the measurement of persons’ heart rate in comparison to breathing rate. High vagal tone is good for health, good indicator of happiness. But it is ridiculous to state that if you do not have exhibition of love, you suffer from zero romanticism. Love to nature amidst the dark, deep forest is an awesome expression of romanticism. Cell, molecules, genes(OXT), nerves, brain, mind, body-these are all the magic of the reality of life but love still remains a mystery like a rising of sun amidst the fog. The emerging science-AI surly brings a ray of hope to invade the paradox of love making. Despite this, the saga of love like Romeo & Juliet, Cleopatra & Mark Antony, Paris & Helena, Salim & Anarkali, Queen Vitoria & Prince Albert, Shah Jahan & Mumtaz, Lyla & Majnun, Amit & Labanya (Tagore’s creation) Jack & Rose, Veer & Zara and many more will whisper their stories in our solitude. And might be, this is the beauty of the magic of the reality of life — — —
“Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time”. (W.H.Auden)