Where does biology end and love start?

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Is mother love just oxytocin induced? Is sexual attraction a batch of chemicals and physiological reactions? Can you distinctly separate the Eros the poets speak of from explanations of science? Is it a compliment to call you a nice specimen?

-- Anonymous, November 17, 2000


I don't really draw a distinction between our feelings and the biological processes that underlie them. The fact that our emotions are mediated by the interactions of various chemicals and electrical impulses in our bodies doen't make them any less valid.

-- Anonymous, November 19, 2000

I agree with Jen. Any kind of love is a gift from a place beyond here. The fact that the gift may be caused by a combination of synapses firing and chemicals mixing doesn't make it any less of a gift.

I'd love to be called a "nice specimen," but wouldn't risk calling my girlfriend that. I think there are gender/objectification issues at play.

-- Anonymous, November 19, 2000

An analogy I like is that of playing jazz, or the blues. It's something one can learn in a methodical manner, from documentation of the usual scales and chords used, from studying sheet music, and so on. However, technical mastery of the music form without feel and groove and emotion is considered a failing among musicians.

Likewise, you have the chemicals in your blood setting up the attraction - there's your technique - but what you actually do with it after that is the province of your emotion.

-- Anonymous, November 19, 2000

they go hand in glove, and are perhaps two different ways of lookikng at the same thing. But its a tough one. physical/mental ATTRACTION probably involves fewer biochemical processes than LOVE.. based on defining love as that arising after sustaining a period of attraction, whereupon the attraction for ONE particular person zaps out other attractions, that may have more biochemical processes involved.

-- Anonymous, November 22, 2000

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