The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love.
Instructions: 1. Explain the metamorphosis that occurs when you fall in love. How is the object of you attention perceived? What are the chemicals in our brain that contribute to romantic love and how are they triggered?
2. Why do we choose who we choose as love partners? Provide the three main reasons alluded by Fisher.
3. Aristotle thought there was a standard for physical beauty. Do you agree? Do well proportionate people are more attractive? What does Fisher think (she talks about the “hip-waist” ratio in women and “highly symmetrical men”)
4. Do you agree with Helen Fisher when she says that “Romantic love does not necessarily go hand in hand with the urge to attach to a mating partner over a long period. You can fall in love with someone from a different walk of life whom you never wish to marry. And you can feel romantic passion for one person while you feel deeply attached to another, usually a spouse. Moreover, you can have sex with someone for whom you feel no romantic love, even feel romantic passion for one individual while you copulate with another.”? Explain.
5. Fisher talks about “American philanderers” (people who have children by their clandestine partners) and quotes a study from 1998 saying that 10% of children tested in a screen for genetic diseases were not the offspring of their legal fathers. According to Fisher, why do women lie about that?
6. Explain the “spurned lover” behavior. Cite its symptoms and explain it.
7. Does the one who loves less in a relationship has more power? Explain the “separation anxiety” syndrome.
8. Why romantic passion recedes with time? Can you keep love alive? How?
9. According to Fisher, in hunting/gathering societies children may begin sex and love as early as five years old. At what age do kids start to play “house” and “doctor” in our modern world? What should we do about it? When should children be allowed to love/to have sex?
10. Comment on this quote by Ayala Pines (psychologist) “We choose a mate who is similar to the parent with whom we have unresolved childhood issues; unconsciously we are seeking to resolve this natal relationship in adulthood”
11. Comment on this quote by Theodore Reik “Tell me whom you love and I will tell you who you are and, more importantly, who you want to be”
12. Comment on this quote by Actress Mae West “Men like women with a past because they hope history will repeat itself”
13. Explain Fisher’s concept of love as a drug or as an addiction. Comment on the following document about sex and love addiction:
The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love.
Sappho (Lesbos, 615 B.C-?) ‘Glittering-Minded deathless Aphrodite.’
In the poem, Aphrodite symbolizes the goddess of love. She is an immortal being who is the daughter of Zeus hence is a goddess. She is well versed in the matters of love as she always helps Sappho with her matters regarding love and courtship, attributing to her power over love. According to the poem, she is also a symbol of victory and winning, as the poet portrays her company as a sign of assured victory.
Plato. The Symposium. 360 B.C.
One concept of love is that it inspires courage. Persons endanger themselves to secure the people they love. Another aspect is that it influences the choices people make. For instance, some may choose to die for those they love. Although most believe that the source of love is good, it can be vulgar when it arises from evil desires. In such instances, the lovers focus on the body but not the soul. Finally, love is not only beautiful but also focuses on continuity. It spreads from one generation to another.
Ovid. Ars Amatoria. 2 AD and Remedia Amoris (Love’s Cure)
Ovid accurately conveyed women as people who love attention. Thus, men can easily woe a woman through giving her special treatment, such as taking her out for dinner. This notion is still applicable today, however, special treatment is not the only factor that entices women. Others entail the wealth status of a person, academic level, and personal interests. Men, on the other hand, are seen as individuals who are not satisfied by only one woman. Even today, most men cheat on their spouses.
Ovid advises women to not only take care of their appearances but also in the engagement with social activities such as singing. However, she should protect herself from getting hurt. This is through learning from the experiences of other women. Instead of displaying their materialistic nature, they should keep their lovers praying and loving. However, their traps should remain hidden. Finally, women should not be persons to run their tongues even when angry. Rather, they could embrace the art of acting that convinces men that they love them.
Ovid’s advice, when followed, can help persons to get over bad relationships. However, the advice can lead to people blocking partners who could treat them right. For this reason, the most surprising advice was that one should fight love at the beginning. However, the most useful one is engaging in activities that eliminate any instances of idleness. This helps a person to prioritize other things other than hurtful love.
Some of the recommendations Ovid gave could work today. They include fighting love at the beginning for persons who do not wish to give love a chance, avoiding idleness, disentangling from love with time, and putting up with the pain of inability to access that which one craves for. However, having more than one mistress may result in loving either of them. Focusing on the negative attributes of a person is not necessarily a cure but may be a source of other negative emotions such as remorse.
Chrétien de Troyes, Lancelot, c. 1170
A major characteristic of a knight’s behavior is courage. From the excerpt, Lancelot defended the damsel from being assaulted by a knight. Instead of running away from the situation since two of the Knights were ready for a fight, he opted to defend her. A second characteristic is that knights are bound by their words. Lancelot kept the promise he made to the damsel. The third attribute is nobility. Though he lay next to the damsel, he did not touch her.
One of the characteristics of ‘Courtly love’ is that the lover willingly becomes the servant of the lady. Lancelot wrote the romance in compliance with the lady’s wish. Another attribute is praising the lady. Lancelot declares that the Queen surpasses all women. Thirdly, the lover willingly risks his life for his lover, as Lancelot demonstrated when he went to save the Queen from the kidnappers.
The New Life (La Vita Nuova) by Dante Alighieri
When Dante first saw Beatrice, his spirits influenced him to fall in love with her. They directed her to let his love for her rule over him. His love for Beatrice ennobled him and thus made him write a poem where he describes Beatrice as an angel. He was focused on writing a piece describing Beatrice in a way that no woman had been written about. His focus was on making the piece more worthily of Beatrice. In my life, I have loved my niece, an act that has ennobled me because I am gentle with her, and I put her wishes interests before mine.
Dante’s dream meant that Beatrice would heartbreak him through her death. He would, however, be unable to get over the heartbreak, as she would have left with his heart. He would be unable to love another woman as he loved Beatrice. Love has both a joyful and horrible aspect because one enjoys spending time with the person they love. However, it is horrible because they can hurt you.
Screen ladies refer to ladies used as a screen from the truth. They are used as a shield that alters the surrounding people from the truth of the real love interests by distracting them. An example is Beatrice’s friend whom Dante used to protect his real love interest from prying eyes. Secret love leads to suppression of happiness and emotions regarding the unknowing person. As such, it may result in extreme actions from the secretive party such as pain and even stalking.
Dante refers to Beatrice as if she were a God when he states that Beatrice seemed as if she were the daughter of God instead of a daughter of man. Her image was praiseworthy and noble. He further refers to her as the Queen of Glory. His love for her leads him to refer to her as not only a queen but also a glorious queen, a description that was given to GOD or Christ by the Catholics.
Francesco Petrarcha (1304-1374)
The vision of love involves idealization. The object of love is not viewed as a human but a perfect being without any blemish in form of strengths and weakness. “I am mortal proved, and she divine” (Petrarcha 1304, 4). Another striking characteristic is idolization. This involves comparison of the loved woman to a goddess. “What nymph of the fountain, what goddess of the wood” (Petrarcha 1304, 5). Infatuation and unrequited love is another characteristic. This involves the idea of love rather than being in love “And love whose light no more on earth finds room” while experiencing these emotions from afar off without reciprocation. “They weep within my heart; and ears are deaf” (Petrarcha 1304, 9).
Love and Death (Anonymous)
key message of the poem concerns love. The poem has the hidden message that
love and death go hand in hand. Cupid (love) gives life a newness and gayness
(happiness) in life inexperienced before. However, this love plays a key role
in their downfall and undoing later on in life. For instance, the youths
inflicted by love do not surpass the age of twenty years. Hence, the moral
behind the poem is that death and love go hand in hand. As much as love revives
the meaning of life, it is fatal, and
only death frees one from its clutch.
Alighieri, D. (1295). The New Life (La Vita Nuova). Translated by Mark Musa. Oxford: Oxford UP.
Anonymous. (N.d). Love and Death. Retrieved on August 9, 2016 from http://www4.gvsu.edu/wrightd/SPA%20307%20Death/Love%20and%20Death.htm
Ovid, & Melville, A. (1990). Ovid, the love poems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Petrarcha, F., Petrarcha, F., and Petrarcha, F. (1514). II Petrarcha. Impresso in Vinegia: Nelle case d’Aldo Romano.
Plato. (360 B.C.). The Symposium. Plato & Waterfield eds ‘Symposium’. New York: Oxford University Press.
Sappho. (Lesbos, 615 B.C-?). ‘Glittering-Minded deathless Aphrodite’. Retrieved on Aug 9, 2016 from http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Greek/Sappho.htm
Troyes, C. (1170). Lancelot. Translated by Burton Raffel. New Haven: Yale University Press.