Love: Why Does it Exist?

By:Vincent Barlow

love;Why does it exist_

Love. Who could think that four little letters could mean so much? But what exactly is love? Webster defines love as, “The strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.” But there’s still the question of why? Why do people have this feeling for others while in a relationship? What causes it? Does it come from our heads or our hearts?

Scientifically, it’s a harsh reality. The truth is, you can’t love somebody, or anything for that matter, with all your heart. That’s what the board-certified physician’s of say, anyways. You actually love someone from the Ventral Tegmental Area, the Hypothalamus, the Nucleus Accumbens, and other vital parts of the brain. According to Dr. Helen Fisher, one of the big researchers in the field of human affections, love can be divided into major parts: sex, romance and attachment. Each using separate parts of the brain, different chemicals and neurotransmitters at different phases of a relationship.

Fisher goes on to explain about how lust stems from the Hypothalamus, the part of your brain that has control over desires such as hunger and thirst. Directly related to the Hypothalamus is the Autonomic Nervous System, which is in charge of how fast your heart is beating. This explains why your heart can start going into jackhammer mode if you see your crush, especially if they are in a provocative state of dress.

The romance system, causing people to do stupid things while in love since it was invented. Some call this stupid, but scientists have another word for it: being high. That’s right, scientists have found that brand new lovers have high amounts of activity taking place in their Ventral Tegmental Area and Nucleus Accumbens, the same kind of activity that is shown when someone snorts a line of cocaine. This activity is also connected to levels of stress, depression and even obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD), which could possibly lead to addiction.

Lastly, the affection system. At this point, the chemicals that we’re being madly produced at the beginning have lessened quite a large amount. But some people still stay together after the chemicals have said their farewells and left. Love truly is an incredible subject, this just barely scrapes the surface. But just remember the next time you’re making a valentine’s day card, don’t write, I love you from the bottom of my heart. Write, I love you from my Ventral Tegmental Area.