Love, Sex, Romance, Friendship, Hormones, Brain Chemistry, Biology and Evolution.

Love, Sex, Romance, Friendship, Hormones, Brain Chemistry, Biology and Evolution.

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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.

The Future will have no Prisons

All behaviour is either learnt or innate.

There is no such thing as evil. That religious concept went out with the death of the Devil (another human invention).

That does not mean that people do not do ‘evil’ things. They do. We all have the innate behavioural pathways to do cruel, hateful, callous and nasty things.

But most of us don’t. Should the ones who do be punished?

Either their behaviour is the result of being damaged by their horrible experiences, of being taught badly, or of an innate character flaw. Whatever the cause it is down to bad wiring in the brain and bad brain chemistry.

What has been learnt can be unlearnt, wiring can be rewired, chemistry imbalances can be corrected.

In future when we have understood the functioning and biochemistry of the brain a lot better, rather than punish someone for bad behaviour all that will be required is reprocessing.

Should criminals and violent people lose their rights and be forcibly subjected to reprocessing?

I think so. At least given the choice of incarceration or reprocessing.

There will be no need for prison or punishment. It never works anyway does it? The problems are brain wiring and chemistry. Perhaps we can have a society where the aggressive, violent and antisocial aspects of our personality can be addressed?

Is that ethical or Brave New World/1984??

Sex!!! Part 7 – Relationships and babies.

Because of our big brains babies take a long time to grow. They need a lot of nurturing and looking after. They take forever to become independent (around sixty years!)
Because of this they need two parents to provide the care, love and stimulation.
It’s bloody hard work.
Hence evolution has created a mechanism to ensure babies are brought up and cared for. It is pair-bonding. We call it love.
We fall in love and stay together. It’s all to do with hormones, pheromones and chemistry.
Being in love is a biological phenomenon evolved to keep two animals together long enough to bring their children up to an age when they are relatively independent (round about the age of sixty five!)
Being in love causes changes in brain chemistry resulting in euphoria, obsession with the partner and intense sexual stimulation. This great sex results in babies.
The intensity reduces but the relationship is fostered by this chemistry. It usually lasts for about seven years – long enough for a child to become relatively self-sufficient.
We need both partners to bring up a child.
In Africa they say that it takes a whole village to bring up a baby!