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- The Falling Man
- There's a reason they call it 'falling' in love
Posted April 17, An article in the New York Times turns the act of falling in love into a laboratory exercise.
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It's typical of how we try to take the risk out of things these days, but when it comes to love you just need to take the plunge, writes Mark Manolopoulos. We have no control when we're falling. The whole process is a violation, a violence, having its own volition. Love overcomes us, overwhelms us, overtakes us. No wonder we lose our appetite, our sleep, our minds when we fall in love. Romantic love is so frightening that we moderns are finding all sorts of creatively dubious ways of avoiding or neutralising its traumatic nature.
Part of internet dating's allure must surely lie with its managerial approach.
Falling in love is re-cast as an in-depth job interview: applicants offer their CVs in the form of profiles which are often as fudged as real ones ; credentials are compared; potential suitors are identified; and a procession of remotely-conducted interviews may lead to a face-to-face interview if you're lucky , which routinely produces instant dismissal if you're unlucky.
The exemplary "safe" website is eHarmony. Even the word "eHarmony" suggests that the process of falling in love will be a smooth, tranquil transition from singledom to partnerhood without all that messy psychical violence. As with every other meaningful domain of our lives in contemporary society, what we have here is a clinical process that attempts to remove the risk or gamble out of an inherently dangerous endeavour. Catron recalls the work of psychologist Arthur Aron and his associates, who devised a method for facilitating love.
It involved the two participants asking each other a series of increasingly intimate questions, followed by staring into each other's eyes for four minutes. The program apparently succeeded in uniting a couple, and Catron confirmed that the method worked for her, too. I think there are commendable things with this method, especially in terms of meaningful, incisive questions that aren't asked often enough in a world filled with small talk and idle chatter, as well as the crucial dimension of silence, which, once again, is rare in a world filled with noisy idle chatter.
Nonetheless, what we have here is a perfect example of the fixation with having total control, for seeking to neutralise fear and uncertainty. Love is not understood as an earth-shattering event that we experience with little or no control but rather a tightly controlled laboratory process. It's difficult to find a more glaring example of the contemporary desire to neutralise the romantic free-fall and its attendant fear and violence. We need to remind ourselves that love is something that happens to us, and when it happens, it exposes us to fear and failure as well as joy and fulfilment.
My hunch is that it's a mix of the two, for there's certainly an element of pro-activity in the process: we're not purely passive subjects during this process; indeed, we often fall in love precisely because we're chasing after somebody. So falling in love is something that we do as well as something that happens to us.
In any case, let's remember that what we're experiencing when we're falling in love is falling. If you want to be open to love, you also need to be open to the fear that comes with falling. Dr Mark Manolopoulos is a philosopher. Topics: community-and-society , philosophy. Whether it can be induced or it's a passive process, the ultimate effect is that there's a chemical imbalance in the brain which lasts for about 18 months.
It's best of both all partners can experience this contemporaneously because if it's not a mutual experience, there's no good long-term prognosis for the relationship. Even so, the evolutionary value is that 18 months is just about the right length of time for the next generation to be spawned and raised to an age where it's more likely than not to survive to produce its own children. But there are no guarantees for any particular individual. Remember, evolutionary strategies are all about the total population, not the individual.
Your individual personal evolutionary success is improved if you remember that candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.
Alert moderator. Quite right Tomokatu, these psychologists can develop whatever theories they want but the fact is that biochemistry is where it's at. In addition to chemicals in the brain such as dopamine having a strong role in feelings of love, our attraction to different people based on their body smell appears to help us seek out folks with different immune systems to our own in order that our offspring might have the ability to fight off a broader range of diseases.
That's a very bold assertion that there is "no evidence". You may need to back up that claim with evidence in support. I suggest that you read some basic neurochemistry texts wherein you will find much more evidence than you believe at the moment.
It's been the subject of a LOT of research and the results have been published. Do the reading. I accept that if you're one of the people who has an attachment to the mystical qualities of thought and mind, you may choose not to believe that evidence.
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That's always your prerogative but it's there nonetheless. Ordinarily is the claimant that provides the evidence, and not the sceptic. Can you give us the readings that convincingly show that 'falling in love' is largely in a chemical process. I am not necessarily disagreeing with you.
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Also available as a PDF online They're also good on the effects of rejection stalking, homicide, suicide clinical depression but the paper's major effect is to differentiate between romantic love and the sex drive. Now, let's see if Aunty will let me reply or whether I have to find another way to get you this information. Tomokatu, Just drop the word "imbalance", and you'll have the everyone except the dualists.
Or another way of looking at it is that life is a "chemical imbalance in the brain". The damn thing is constantly changing until we die and then it changes more slowly. The brain is flooded with dopamine at times during the 'falling in love'. Is this an 'imbalance'? It's not our normal state, but it is a normal event to occur when we fall in love, it doesn't require treatment and levels return to normal over time.
If that's an imbalance to you or not isn't much of a big deal really. I have got to disagree Dave, according to Robert Palmer,Doctor, doctor give me the news, I've got a bad case of lovin' you.
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He does, however go on to state 'aint no pill gonna cure my ill', which begs the question, why go to the Dr in the first place Robert? There may well be "a chemical imbalance in the brain which lasts for about 18 months. For some poor souls it never happens at all, these are the ones who claim love is an illusion. Every now and again a research team will come up with some figures that will be claimed to expose the workings of the mind. Somehow nothing ever comes of it.
There's a reason they call it 'falling' in love
There has to be 'something' but am not sure about love or chemistry. What about being happy and comfortable with each other? Both enjoying the delights of shopping at Aldi or disliking commercial TV, The Daily Telegraph and our treatment of refugees, yet liking ABC Drum and believing in climate change and solar energy are probably a much better guide to a steady caring future than mere love or chemical imbalances.
Loving someone, or something, is not the same as being in love. That's why even when one person loves another, there can be a falling in love with another. The out-of-control thing that is inexplicable, and often inexcusable by the slighted one. The fascination of these feelings is apparent when we look at the plethora of literature and even just poor, puerile, pathetic writings on the matter.
Thousands of years of "suffering" haven't got us any closer to understanding it. But your relationship with Helga? I couldn't get that in with three tries for some reason. I am still 'falling", after many years and it's wonderful. Let me keep falling! There is no "standard pattern" and can go against the "statistics" and enjoy it.
Is it always easy? When the love runneth out, then it's time to go to the kitchen of give take and to realise that friendship is also pretty good , it's just a different kind of love, different from 'the falling-in-love kind of love'. I am a believer that love never runs out. In the 70s, a friend recited his little poem that I found simple and profound; "Like and dislike, this there is but love and dislove?
For once loved is always loved and shall be loved forever. The depth of the feeling of "love" only gets shifted, as you suggest, into a more manageable category. Probably because we are incapable of abandoning that which has been so significant. I'd suggest that much of the acrimony seen in break-ups is a consequence of the inability to reconcile redefining the love to a less romantic status.