Here, courtesy Thomas Lewis:
Answer on NeuroscienceIs there a standard for distinguishing one type of love from another?
As one of the authors of “A General Theory of Love,” I’ll take a stab at it. From the perspective of neuroscience, there are 3 basic forces that attract and bind people to one another. Each one is related to activity in certain brain networks. The 3 are:
1. Sexual desire.
2. Romantic infatuation
We are informed, with respect to attachment, that it is
a process of physiologic attunement and affection and affiliation. The basic and most fundamental form of attachment is that between mammalian parent and offspring, and other forms are elaborations of this basic mammalian caretaking and nurturing template. #3 can exist with or without #1, and #3 can exist with or without a prior instance of #2.”
A friend suggests that all this has the makings of a comic routine. Certainly not of a guide for life.
Having spent much of my own life with people whose first loves are God, country, nature, and ideologies, none of which is thought to need a teddy bear, I can’t help wondering where the “elaborations of this basic mammalian caretaking and nurturing template” come in.
C.S. Lewis wrote the only book I ever needed on this subject, The Four Loves.
Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose
moral and intellectual superiors – the trademark line of a friend, Five Feet of Fury .
Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.