It was Cheryl who sparked these thoughts off.
As a Biologist I am always aware of what puppets we are to our genes, chemistry and psychology. We think we have free will but I believe it is largely a myth. We are ruled by our evolution.
As a species we are so new that our body chemistry and psychology hasn’t even begun to keep pace with our technology. We are chimps living in cities but acting like we are still in the jungle.
Friendship – such a crucial element for hunting. When you are out in the jungle with dangerous animals you have to put your trust in the friend next to you. Together, as a small hunting group, you can drive off a fearsome predator or make a kill that will feed the whole tribe. As a young hunter you had respect. Your friendship group of fellow hunters were trusted friends – you put your life in their hands; you faced danger and fear together; you bonded through terror. Your bravery and loyalty was crucial.
Now-a-days we see groups of youths in gangs on the streets in their hunting groups. Except there are no predators to ward off or beasts to kill. Yet they still crave the excitement and danger, still bond and seek the respect. They’ve lost their purpose and status.
Love – a biological phenomenon to pair bond sufficiently to have, and raise, children. An hormonal rush, endorphin saturation of the brain, and a passing phase. The female selects the highest status male she can. The aim is to find compatible genes to meld with her own in order to produce offspring who are endowed with the best in order to survive. The pair bonding is a euphoric rush of brain chemicals – no more. It induces feelings of protection and promotes crazy bouts of sex. The idea being that while the male is infatuated and the female hampered by pregnancy and an infant, he will protect and provide. But the love that will last forever soon loses its glow as after the duration necessary for the child to grow, the brain chemicals subside. A new infatuation develops with other potential partners – it is better no to put all your eggs in one basket (so to speak). A different set of genes provides more survival possibilities for a female’s offspring. Genetic variation. DNA testing in modern families show that a high proportion of children from supposedly loyal monogamous marriages have different fathers. Biologically we are programmed to be serial monogamists and some males more promiscuous (the cuckoo effect). Women are seduced by status.
Yet we also see that once the hormones and brain chemistry subsides there is the possibility of a different relationship – based on respect, affection, trust and ‘love’. It is deeper and less frenetic and brings pleasure and contentment. It is a different partnership.