Sunday, 6 April 2008

Is Love a Mammalian Prerogative or is it universal among all living beings?

Love is an abstract concept yet so concrete that nothing else matters. 

Love has managed to remain beyond all human attempts to describe and define it, not to talk about controlling it.

One can experience love but cannot sufficiently explain it to another who has never experienced it.

Philosophers, poets, artists and singers have tried to describe love for the entire length of recorded history. Humans and divine beings in all mythology and religion deals with different forms and expressions of love, loss of love and consequences of love not socially accepted. 

What is considered taboo or punishable by death in one context is the norm or highest ideal in another, e.g., falling a love with and marrying a partner is considered a fundamental right in Western democracies but in many other societies one gets harsh penalties for such behaviour.

Some scientists approach love through a biological model of sex and tend to view love as a mammalian drive like thirst or hunger. Helen Fisher in her book, Anatomy of Love takes a scientific look and divides the experience of love into three partly overlapping stages: 
  1. Lust
  2. Attraction and 
  3. Attachment. 
What about post-attachment love then? Does love end in attachment and there is no room for non-attachment in love? Hmm! Frightening thought!

Lust exposes humans to others, romantic attraction encourages people to focus their energy on mating, and attachment involves tolerating the spouse long enough to rear a child into infancy. 

If we view the positive connotations of love, we could see loving as: 
  • acting intentionally
  • in sympathetic response to others
  • towards promoting mutual well-being.
Is love only a mammalian prerogative? 

How do we know that reptilians or insects never feel love?

How do we know that the buzzing of a bumblebee is not a serenade or the movement of a tapeworm is not an erotic dance?

Here is another way of looking at love through words of poetry.


Damien said...

It's amazing how love fascinates us. We can discover new angles to explore love all the time though poets, authors, musicians and philosophers have tried to describe love for thousands of years.

Rana Sinha said...

Thanks Damien for your comment. I totally agree with you.