Everyone has probably dreamed of a love potion at least once in their lives.
They are in tons of fairytales, aiding a hero or heroine to the love of their life; just to find that that love isn’t actually real. Studies at Oxford University are just steps away from creating love pills that might actually end up making someone fall in love, but there seems to be a lot of questions as to whether or not using them would be such a good idea.
Anders Sandberg is a Neuroethicist as Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, and he says that while these love drugs haven’t yet hit the stores, it’ll be only a matter of years before they are active. His entire work is centered around understanding the ethical consequences of these pills by combining studies of neuroscience and philosophy.
Sandberg is quoted saying “All our emotions are built on the foundation of neuroscience”.
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This is a huge statement because recently, neuroscientists are mapping out the processes in the brain when we are in love, which brings us ever closer to recreating those processes artificially.
While it’s no surprise that love is an extremely complicated emotion, neuroimaging of the brain is actually capturing just how complicated the feeling really is. Different sections of the brain are in charge of each stage of a romance, from the first initial feelings of attraction, all the way down to a full time commitment.
The very last step is the one that these love pills would focus on, helping couples to achieve a re-booted romance that will last. Sandberg helps to differentiate between these pills and what’s found in story books by saying, “it’s very different to the love potions in fairytales where you drink it and then fall in love with the next person who comes in.
From an ethical standpoint, that’s very worrisome.
I would imagine a future love drug would be something you take together with your partner, and that causes a slow, long-term experience”.
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Thank goodness they are thinking that one through or we would have catastrophes springing up all over the place!
You might be surprised to find out the little helpers behind mapping out the love system in the brain. Scientists have actually recruited the help of prairie voles. This is because there is one type of prairie vole that does not have monogamous relationships while the other does.
Using the differences between these two, researchers are able to distinguish which hormone is crucial to create long-lasting relationships. The name of the hormone is oxytocin, which suggests that it is the key to unlocking true love.
There are already quite a few drugs that can be obtained that create a release of oxytocin, but according to Sandberg none of them are strong enough to actually create a lasting effect. In order to achieve the best effect, a therapist would need to be involved in order to help ‘train’ the brain as to when it should be producing the desired amount of oxytocin.
So, while it is entirely possible that we will have these ‘love potions’ as it were in a matter of years, would we actually want to use them?
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When a love has already died away and there is no foreseeable future with that person any longer, perhaps it would just be better to let that love die. In some ways, we do try to overcome that dying love, by going to counselors or perhaps an expensive vacation.
Whenever those methods work everyone is quite pleased by it; the question that must be asked, then is, are these methods the same as using a love pill to help mend a broken marriage?
Well, surely there’s a difference between medicalization and traditional ways of fixing a dying relationship. When looking at the prospect of a drug fixing relationship problems, the primary focus should really be on whether these drugs could be used for good.
If there is a way to help to people who once truly did love each other rekindle their love, then that is a good thing. However, the biggest good may actually come from something of an “anti-love” potion that would help someone to escape from an abusive relationship.
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Despite any of these questions, it is impossible to know if a long-term relationship is actually worth trying to save. Sometimes the break up can lead to a world of hurt with terrible regret, while others result in a much happier outcome.
Realistically, if a love is so far gone that it needs drugs to be saved, then it really isn’t worth it. Love pills would be much better used for couple who simply want to rejuvenate their already solid relationship.