Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Science Locates the Center of Romantic Love
Why June WILL Get Her Groove Back

There was an interesting article in the NYTimes about the neurological basis of love. Scientists have shown that the tingle that you feel in your pants is distinct from that tingle that you feel in your heart when you have a new boyfriend. F.M.R.I. studies show that “the intoxication of new love” may be in the caudate nucleus.

As I was reading the article, some of the descriptions of being drunk on love resonated with me. And according to the research, it may not be so strange that when I first fell in love, I also ended up in the hospital having panic attacks. To lose love “while still in love, plays havoc with the emotional, cognitive, and deeper reward-driven areas of the brain.” As some of my closest friends know (and now the entire blog community I guess), I was in my first serious relationship when I also had my first serious bout with depression.

My caudate nucleusl was overloaded with happy doped up cells. I was high on life and lovin’ it. But it didn’t take long before I began to feel a new wave of much darker emotions. A lot of my depression was a centered around a feeling of despair. And contained within that despair was a fear that I was only whole when I was with my boyfriend. And if we broke up (which was proving to be more and more inevitable...long story) what would that leave me with? All of a sudden, being in love was like being at the edge of the universe looking at all the planets, and then realizing that you could plummet into that universe at any moment.

In tandem with the FMRI experiments were studies that showed how we try to internalize our lovers. Remember that feeling where you can’t squeeze your loved one hard enough? You just want to--(teeth clenched)--squeeze them until they are inside of you. But doesn’t that mean that during the process of internalizing you are also losing part of yourself? That’s what Bataille wrote about in “Erotism” and I think Rainer Rilke talks about it “Letters to a Young Poet” (I’m too lazy to look for quotes, just take my word for it). Basically, they talk about how pathetic beauty of love is the death of the self.

In the end, I came out of my depression (thanks for the concern). And, as the article reassures us, “the brain related to passion remain intact…capable in time of flaring to life with someone new.”

Long story short. I am a love phoenix and will rise again.


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