Love more unstable, unreasonable, and dangerous than Hate

I read a news article about some scientists studying the brain's reactions to love and hate. Interestingly enough, they discovered that the brain's reaction to either emotional extreme is virtually identical. In both instances, parts of the cerebral cortex that have been found to be responsible for judgement and reasoning essentially shuts down, or enters a state of very low activity, while other parts of the brain responsible for creativity and imagination go into high activity. Or, to put it simply, we abandon reason and logic in favor of fantasy and desire. No shit, right? Didn't need a scientist to tell me that.


But the interesting thing is that, though the response itself is identical for both love and hate, there is one notable difference... and that is that, with love, the reaction is far larger and thus more influential on the subject's behavior. Or again, to put it simply... love will cause you to take leave of your senses and your reason much more than hate will. Love has much greater potential to cause you to do things that you wouldn't otherwise have done, if you still had your senses.


Now, granted, the difference between love and hate is obvious to anyone. Realistically, the phenomenon that these scientists have found is a good thing... Love is more likely to drive you to do nice things for the person you love, and your extreme unreasonableness will probably cause you to do "sweet" things like taking days off work just to spend time with your lover, or spending more money than you know you should and having to tighten your budget just so you can buy/do nice things with your lover.


Meanwhile on the flipside, maintaining MORE of your reason when experiencing hatred will actually help you to keep a cool head and not go do something stupid that you'll ultimately regret. If hate made you as unreasonable as love did, murder would be more common.


Still, it's an interesting observation they've made, and it means that in the right circumstances, love can drive you to greater extremes than hate can. It makes me wonder about the instinctive panic reaction. Some of you may have possibly experienced this, if so then by all means tell me if it was the same for you... but for me, and for many of my brothers in arms who've had moments when they were engaged with the enemy and didn't think they were going to survive, and we had to dig down and find something to push us onward... it wasn't the hatred for our enemies that we mostly came up with, but the desire to see our loved ones again, or our desire to protect our friends on our left and right so that they could see THEIR loved ones again.


For me it was my daughter that came to my mind... and believe me when I tell you, no amount of hatred for my enemies could ever have driven me into such a bloodthirsty killing rage as the singular thought, "You're not going to take me from my little girl." I'd never felt so passionately about anything in my life. It was amazing, terrifying and yet exhilirating. I'll never forget that feeling. Talking to friends who've been in combat, some of whom were in that very same fight with me, I've learned that by and large, they all thought similar things. Not hatred or malice or killing intent, but memories of those they loved and a grim determination to live and see them again at any cost.


Anyway... I guess that's enough on this subject. Until next time.


 - I am Kaustic, and I'm jumping on the "I am" blog signature bandwagon.

Uploaded 10/28/2008
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Tags: love