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Nurturing Our HumanityHow Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future$
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Riane Eisler and Douglas P. Fry

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190935726

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190935726.001.0001

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Love, the Brain, and Becoming Human

Love, the Brain, and Becoming Human

(p.44) 3 Love, the Brain, and Becoming Human
Nurturing Our Humanity

Riane Eisler

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces a new perspective on the role of love in human evolution and human development. The bonds of love, whether between parent and child, lovers, or close friends, may all have a common biological root, activating neurochemicals that make us feel good. Like other human capacities, such as consciousness, learning, and creativity, love has a long and fascinating evolutionary history. Indeed, the evolution of love appears to be integral to the development of our human brain and hence to much that distinguishes us from other species. Moreover, love plays a vital, though still largely unrecognized, role in human development, with evidence accumulating about the negative effects of love deprivation as well as the benefits of love. But whether or not our needs for meaning and love are met, and whether or not our capacities for creativity and love are expressed, are largely determined by the interaction of biology and culture—specifically, the degree to which a culture or subculture orients to the partnership or domination end of the continuum.

Keywords:   love, evolution of love, caring, human development, love deprivation, oxytocin, neurochemistry of love, bonobo, empathy

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