Tag Archives: evolutionary psychology

Love is a Mental Illness – Part 3: Why Love is Necessary For Human Survival

Untitled-1

Left To Their Own Accord, The Human Race Would Cease To Exist

When humans gained their prefrontal cortex, it was a tremendous boon for the human species. The ability to differentiate among conflicting thoughts, future consequences of current activities, working towards a defined goal, predicting outcomes, and the ability to control urges, are all moderated by the amazing prefrontal cortex.

But this was a problem for nature and the future of the human species. If humans were always in a rational state of mind and had the ability to easily overcome emotions or urges, no one would want to have babies. Think about it: Raising children is a huge drain on our individual resources. Not just time and money, but our mental and emotional resources too. Not only do we have to feed this baby, clothe it, and provide shelter for it, when it reaches the age of twelve, they start hating you for no apparent reason. They start demanding that you buy them clothes with esoteric logos that makes them “unique.” They think they know everything and can live independently on their own. They talk, yell, and scream back at you. And when they’re finally 18, you have to refinance your mortgage because your kid is compelled to go to this place called college, which is essentially a 4-year-long party for most kids who attend. Who, in their rational mind, would want to put up with that?

normal_kid_finger

If we could take the essence of nature, or evolution – I’m using both terms synonymously – and give it a voice we could understand, we would probably hear it saying “OH F*CK” when it realized people wouldn’t want to procreate anymore after doing a rational cost-benefit analysis. What essentially gave humans the ultimate edge in the world would simultaneously lead to their demise if nothing was done about it.

A serious problem, if evolution’s goal was to have organisms procreate into perpetuity successfully. They needed to break the humans’ rationality; not disassemble it completely, because that would be a waste of many millions of years of evolutionary work, but just enough so the species can reproduce without thinking so much about the burden of parenthood. What nature ingeniously came up with was temporary insanity, or what we would nowadays call it: Love.

Once someone becomes enraptured by love, they are no longer the calculating, rational being we once were. They are overcome by madness, thinking about this one person day and night; when they wake up in the morning, as they brush their teeth, as they work, as they eat dinner, as they fall asleep. They shower this one person with gifts. Even the most linguistically and culturally challenged person is able to sudden gain the ability to sing and write poems for this person. In the throes of love and passion, they dismiss the use of contraception even after years of being taught about its importance. Love is an obsession. Love is expensive. Love is time-consuming. Love is wasteful. Love is irrational. But love is necessary.

sd

Love is nature’s way getting what it wants: progeny. It inflicts us with temporary insanity, not enough to incapacitate us completely, but just enough to have us mate, procreate, and continue the human race. The conflict between intellect and evolutionary objectives does not arise in animals because they simply follow instinct. When it comes to sexual reproduction, they become automata – females go into heat, they release pheromones, the males go crazy for them, they mate, and the species continues. And to a large extent, this is what happens to us too. But the fact that we can self-reflect and rebel has necessitated the evolution of a safety mechanism. This safety mechanism throws reason and rationality out the window and enslaves us, albeit temporarily, to our primitive mating instincts. This is love. It is a drive created by evolution to ensure the continuation of our species. 

Love is not merely an unstable state of mind, it is a drive – perhaps even more powerful than the sex drive. If you ask someone to go to bed with you, and they say “no thank you,” you certainly don’t kill yourself or slip into a clinical depression. But around the world, people who are rejected in love will kill for it. People live for love, they kill for love, and they certainly die for love.

Sources:

Love Sick: Love as a Mental Illness

Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,