Monday, June 06, 2005

Love is the drug....cont.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the news that love affects the brain like drug addiction is getting international attention (thanks to S for the link). Australia's Fairfax Digital opens their story with a reference to Emily Dickinson, a choice that would get my attention, as an American lit PhD, under any circumstances, but one that seems even more striking in the face of this weekend's NYT fruitfly story hook:
When it strikes, romantic love can feel like a kind of madness. Infatuated people act irrationally. They lose concentration. They feel giddy, wretched and wonderful. It is one of life's most powerful experiences. Emily Dickinson described it as "a perfect--paralysing bliss--contented as despair".

For centuries, we've looked to philosophers and poets to parse the mysteries of the human heart. Now it is science's turn.

When Dr Helen Fisher, of Rutgers University in New Jersey, reads the Dickinson poem, she sees passion, certainly. But she also detects signs of high levels of dopamine in the poet's caudate nucleus.
And here, of course, they lose me. God help those scientists with their understanding of Dickinson's caudate nucleus. It must suck to go through the world seeing things through that particular lens.

The story's close?

Because, as Peanuts' Charlie Brown said: "Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love."
Kudos to any journalist who manages to open with Dickinson and close with Charlie Brown I say.

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