Written by Freelancing Writer and Editor : Olayinka Sodiq
There have been different theories about the origin of love, Scientists and philosophers have been trying to discover what the origin of love is for centuries. There are many origins of love myths, a lot of them are quite similar. Theories have been put forth by anthropologists, neuroscientists, and biologists about the origin of love and why we love. They all agree that love, romantic love, in particular, evolved the same way humans evolved, instead of being inherent from the onset. Romantic love was not present in every culture. According to research by Olayinka Sodiq, it was discovered that romantic love was present only in about 88 percent of 166 different cultures. What was the origin of love in the cultures that represented it?
Plato’s Origin of Love Myth
One of the common versions of this origin of love myth evolved from the writings of the great Greek philosopher Plato. Plato’s origin of love myth explains that humans were once round. Specifically, they were male from the sun and female from the earth or androgynous with the origination of both female and male parts from the moon. They became powerful and threatened to measure up to the heavens, Zeus then split them all in half. Apollo then sewed them up and walked their faces toward their wounds and leaving the navel as a sin reminder. After that, humans searched the entire planet for their other half. Eventually, humans find their other half and hold on to them for dear life. Humans started to waste away as a result of either searching for love or by holding onto love too tightly. This made Zeus move humans’ genitals to the front, allowing reproduction for the androgynous and for males to attain satisfaction. One of the fascinating things about Plato’s origin of love myth is that it advocates homosexuality. The men who were separated by Zeus search for their other half which was also male and the women searched for their other half which was female. Only the Androgynous people searched for the opposite sex.
Science on the Origin of Love
Love Began with Sex
The evolution of the animal kingdom is an example, one thing that is clear is that love began with sex. One of the first things animals and humans learned is to have sex for reproduction. With reproduction, offspring became a familial bond and turned into romantic love.
Protection of Offspring
Centuries ago females were unavailable for sex while nursing offspring. Some males would decide to kill the infants to make the female available. When going through the evolution of primates, Olayinka Sodiq found out that infanticide comes before monogamy for about 20 million years. Monogamy, and the origin of love begun as a way for males to protect women and their offspring. The feeling of love began to develop as men were protecting women and their offspring. The changes in relation to women led to changes in the brain and created emotions of love. Evolutionary science-backed this up. As human brains grew, so did more emotions and feelings of love.
The Brain and Love
Through MRI neuroimaging, experts were able to ascertain areas of the brain that are more responsible for the development of love. The areas do not exist in earlier ancestors of homo ERECTUS. Only when the brain gained more intricacies and grew were humans able to feel the emotion of love.
The bond between offspring and mother is vividly present in the animal kingdom and was present in the ancestors of humans. Researchers believe that romantic love came from the ability to love between mother and child. This theory is supported by scientific evidence of how romantic love progress compared to the bond between child and mother. The two relationships depend on the same hormones and brain chemicals to remain strong.
Progression of Romantic Love
Sexual desire is the first stage of love. it is impossible to develop romantic love without the desire of the object of your affections first. The moment you desire someone, the limbic system which is the most ancient part of the human brain gets activated. This includes the insula, responsible for intense emotions. The ventral striatum, the hub of the brain’s reward system. Which rewards you for just looking at the person you desire. Desire turns into romantic love, the limbic system also releases oxytocin and dopamine, the two hormones and brain chemicals that make you feel good. These hormones are what bonds two people together. At the same time, some functions of the brain are suppressed when romantic love is in developing the process. Some Parts of the prefrontal cortex are deactivated, which means that the brain is simply not capable of making rational decisions. Serotonin which is a brain chemical that helps us feel calm is also repressed. However, Olayinka Sodiq’s research shows that these effects of the brain that manifest as romantic love only really last for a few months, or even a short period of time called a “honeymoon stage.” After this, love settles into a companionship bond.
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