In 1993, popular artist Haddaway asked us all 'What Is Love'? While probably writing a thesis about it, when his heart was breaking. Maybe no one could answer him then but today, science has been kind enough to answer all our questions pertaining to love and why it happens, in the first place.
There is a definite 'science' behind the philosophy, so to speak, about love. I believe that is the only way to reconfirm and have faith in this fragile emotion. If it's backed by science, I am sure more people would believe in it, albeit it'll need some catharsis to motivate one to completely experience the emotion. But once you do, you'll delve deeper into what love really is and how it's more real than just a feeling.
Have you ever heard anyone say 'dude I think there was some chemistry between us'? Yeah, chemistry is the science that love balances its wheels on. But what does it mean to have chemistry? Well, technically, chemistry is a single emotional connection between two people, who find each other relatively attractive and it works in rather amusing yet ascertain ways, between them.
Chemistry initially dwells from- lust, attraction and attachment, the three solid pillars behind the science of love, according to some heavy scientific research.It's All In Your Head!
Yes, quite literally it is all in your head! The brain has special places for special things to happen. So, when you blame the heart or when your heart is under too much pressure or scrutiny, where love is concerned it's absolutely unfair because TBH, the brain is responsible for how you feel when you're in love, because of the chemical reactions that take place in the brain.
Lust is a harbouring brain activity, which stems from a human being's genetic trend to procreate. It's like we're all programmed that way but it's achieved through sexual gratification.
The hypothalamus of the brain plays a big role in producing *** hormones like testosterone (in men of course) and they initiate the libido of a man. No rocket science there, now is there? So, when you meet someone you're really attracted to, the brain does most of the talking, inherently and subconsciously looking for a mate for procreation purposes. That's the purpose of lust, where love is concerned.
© Eros International
Attraction, on the other hand, is a tad different, although is a derivative of lust and both sort of work together. Only, attraction happens way before in the brain, before lust takes over. Like, we can only lust over someone we're truly attracted to. It doesn't happen without mere attraction.
Attraction is primarily a brain activity as well and it sort of works on the 'reward' behaviour tactic, which is also why the first few months of a new relationship are exhilarating and often described as 'the honeymoon period'. The direct catalyst for attraction and reward behaviour is the brain induced dopamine levels.
Dopamine too is produced by the hypothalamus and is released when we do things that make us feel good. Like spending time with your SO or having ***. And high levels of dopamine are released when you're attracted to someone (because it's acting on the principal of the feel-good factor and the fact that you deserve to feel good).
The chemicals released often make us euphoric, sleepless, giddy and something we often describe as 'butterflies in the stomach'. They also lead to a decreased appetite and insomnia. Which literally means you're SO IN LOVE that you can't eat or sleep. But it's just your brain rewarding you because you're attracted to someone.
© Dharma Productions
The third pillar-attachment, is a little detached from lust and attraction, ironically. An attachment has more to do with the effects of a long-term relationship and is an influence in mediating relationships that co-exist such as friendships, parent-child bonding and other intimate associations.
A chemical called oxytocin makes its way through the brain and is released where attachments are concerned and it's often known as the 'cuddle hormone' and it creates space for innate bonding in any of the associations- like while having ***, or breastfeeding a child and even during childbirth. Oxytocin is intelligently released when these activities occur, to strengthen the bond, on an autopilot, making it a precursor for bonding.Love Does Hurt
While I write about the pillars love stands on, making it seem like a joy ride, it really isn't all that hunky dory and that's a sad fact. It's not just about hormones being realised from our brain TBH.
While attraction and lust take precedence over everything else, the overpowering brain activity rewards us for the smooth functioning of it all. The truth is, love also hurts and disappoints and causes pain, which can be unfathomable at times. It can be accompanied by jealousy, erratic behaviour, irrationality, possessiveness and a host of negative emotions and moods.
Which truly means the hormones secreted in our brain are also responsible for the downside of love. The 'heartbreak' as they call it but ironically, and euphemistically, the heart really doesn't have anything to do with it!
© Dharma Productions
Dopamine, as discussed above, works through the reward pathway of the brain and creates the good and bad of 'love'. Dopamine serves as a stable platform for both our virtues and our vices and it is also studied in the brain when 'addiction' is talked about.
It processes the same reaction when we're attracted to someone or when a drug addict is doing cocaine. Which means dopamine is an enabler for attraction and addiction and both can work hand in hand. If you're attracted to someone, you can be addicted to them as well. Which means you're emotionally dependant on them and if the dependency is taken away from them, they will crave the person's company, just like a drug-addled human being, dependant on his daily dosage of substance abuse.
While dopamine levels can go into extremes we always have kind 'ol oxytocin to remind us that everything needs to be balanced, including the want and the need for love. It reminds us that the simple science behind 'bonding' is to help our brain reinforce positive feelings and balance out extremities, in any situation and if oxytocin fails to remind us of that, we get hurt and feel ashamed to go through the pain, which comes out of severe chemical imbalance.
© Yash Raj Films
Away from how beautiful a feeling 'love' truly is, there is a scientific understanding on how it works mysteriously tearing the fabric of understanding the simplicity of it, apart. I mean, we do a lot of dumb things while we're in love too. That's because the more embarrassing part of the brain- the one that sexually arouses us and is not necessarily lust or attraction, shuts off regions of the brain that are linked to rationality and critical thinking. So, to honour the arousal, we do some really silly irrational things to make our partner happy. But we excuse the gesture as an 'act of love'.
Honestly, the science of love and the innate simple meaning of it go hand-in-hand and if we understand the science better, we can surely answer the world's most complicated question ever- 'what is love'? There, that's answering Haddaway's cry for help!