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Person + Serotonin = Love??

The chemical serotonin is known as the 'love drug' but is there more to love than serotonin? can we as human beings love another? Obviously we love our children, well the female bond is obviously stronger but can we love anyone other than our own? can we truly love another human being who we know nothing about other then what they tell us?

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    Jun 24 2012: Seratonin? .. Hmm I thought it was oxytocin that did that.
  • Jun 24 2012: Which love?

    My dictionary has eleven different definitions.

    From the point of view of the one who is loving, there is the feeling of love, and then there are the behaviors that taken together amount to loving another person.

    From the outiside point of view, of the scientist, the feeling of love is extremely difficult to define, describe and measure. The behaviors are much easier to define, describe and measure. So, to the scientist, the behaviors are the better measure of love.

    So, judging by the behaviors, it would appear that Mother Theresa loved strangers much more than she loved her own family.

    Brian, I take issue with your statement that "Love is not a choice." Of course it is a choice. Many people choose not to love the members of the their birth family. You choose your spouse. Many people choose not to love their children. Love is always a choice, even if the emotion seems overwhelming, you always choose your actions; you cannot avoid choice.
    • Jun 24 2012: the ability to reason logically is not a choice. That is a skill that we are not born with. Some people may be lucky enough to have learned techniques that increase impulse control. Others have brain function issues especially in the frontal lobe that don't allow for the use of logic to override emotions. Either way its really a matter of child rearing, brain chemistry,and experience, none of which are choice.
      • Jun 24 2012: Brian, thank you for the clarification of your opinion.

        The objective, scientific part of my brain tends to lean toward the view that choice and free will are just an illusion and that each of us is just an on going chemical reaction. But the more practical part of my brain reacts. Without choice, there is no responsibility, and I refuse to give up responsibility for myself and my actions. Without choice and responsibility, there can be no freedom. Until science can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that choice does not exist, I will continue to choose responsibility and freedom.
        • Jun 24 2012: Fair enough Barry, i can't say i completely disagree with you.
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    Jul 21 2012: In my experience, the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES! Loving others who are not biologically our own is quite an important part of what it means to be a woman to me. I find it not only fascinating but really really satisfying. I find that for me, something about the person is very unique and I bond whole heartedly. I am never happier than when I am in love with someone I admire. Admiration seems to be a huge part of it for me. I want to know that I am with a wonderful human being and when I know it, he will have (or has had) my entire life force behind him- body, mind and soul. Respect is automatic, affection is easy and desire is there too.
    PS there must be more than one kind because my bonding seems to last a really long time until someone intentionally kills it.
  • Jun 22 2012: So technically, if that's the right word to use. We love the group of people 'family' we are born into yet we can never love someone as much as we love our family, apart from our offspring of course? Sounds a bit weird considering that religion tells us to love our neighbours etc.
    • Jun 22 2012: You have discovered how absurd of a thought it is to actually think you can love your neighbor the same as your family. As much as I wish it were possible, it just isn't. I think you can act in a caring manner but to say you love every person you see just isn't plausible. It would certainly make for an idyllic society to love your neighbor as we love our family, but I think we have grown up to a point where we understand utopias are more a construct of the mind, than an actual possibility.
  • Jun 22 2012: No you cannot love another human being as you would your wife/husband. You can act in a loving way and do your best to have compassion for all. Love is not a choice and strong feelings of love are associated with the pleasure of sex. You can love your friend, but if you have a falling out, it takes nowhere near the emotional toll as getting divorced or splitting up with a long term lover. This is an evolutionary effect that is related to the loss of that pleasure source that we all desire and need.
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    Jun 21 2012: I always thought it was Love Potion # 9 like the song said. I'm so confused. In the aniumal world either the male or the female lets off an odor that attacts suitors. Is perhaps serotonin our actractor. Maybe it is permones. How are these chemicals emitted to attract the opposite sex in humans.

    Maybe we should begin by defining "love" or it might just be lust.

    All the best. Bob.
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    Jun 21 2012: By love other humans we're not expected to love them as much as family, that can never be replicated. It's more of a realization that we are all in this together and understanding that a human goal for development is one of cooperation. So for this kind of love I wouldn't say that serotonin is responsible but rather an education of the human situation and admiration for our fragility as a species.