Love is a prevalent topic in chapter seven of Bel Canto. Gen realizes his feelings for Carmen and the Russian uses Gen to confess his love to Roxane. While we have known for sometime that everyone has a deep infatuation with Roxane and we noticed situations were becoming heated between Gen and Carmen, it isn’t until over half way through the book that people are finally admitting their feelings. Fyodorov is a married man, but he explains Roxane’s idea of love is much Americanized. Since everyone has been ripped away from his or her routine lives and the things they usually found love in were taken away; I wanted to research our basic need for love. I decided to research not only our need to love but also, our need for it.
The brain complicates feelings of love from a very young age with out us knowing it. These complications become more apparent the more connections and relationships we make. Infants have been studied in the early stages of life with their amount of intimacy and how it affects them psychologically. This form of love is called contact comfort. Children without such contact within the first six months of being born grow up to be psychologically damaged (Raghunathan). Harlow tested our basic needs for affection through the use of infant monkeys without mothers. He used a mechanical mother-like monkeys with a young monkey. Harlow removed young monkeys from their natural mothers a few hours after birth and left them to be “raised” by these mother surrogates. The experiment demonstrated that the baby monkeys spent significantly more time with their cloth mother than with their wire mother (Cherry). “This data makes it obvious that contact comfort is a variable of overwhelming importance in the development of affectional response, whereas lactation is a variable of negligible importance,” Harlow explained (1958). Although harsh, these experiments revealed the long-term devastation caused by deprivation, leading to profound psychological and emotional distress and even death (Cherry). The knowledge of this investigation begins to help us understand how vital affection and love is to our emotions and overall wellbeing.
There are many theories involving the complicated topic of love, but one in particular explains the dynamics of love and how it can be understood in three components. These three components are passion, intimacy and decision/commitment. If one takes all possible combinations of the three components of love one obtains eight subsets which helps to classify love. The classification that I became most interested in was the infatuated love (Sternberg 122). Infatuation would be solely the passion component of love. I believe this is the love we are seeing at this point in our novel. Infatuated love is described as love that turns toward obsession with the partner being loved as an idealized object rather than as him- or herself (Sternberg 124). The love we notice everyone having is a single layer type of love. Their admiration is based off of Roxane’s talent, voice and appearance rather than her intelligence or personality. Someone who is infatuated tends to be characterized by a high degree of mental and physical arousal (Sternberg 124). I have recently chose my topic of “music as propaganda”. I have begun to focus how music can be used against our will to persuade our decisions. Through the analysis of music I have investigated how music subconsciously stimulates our brain and causes involuntary effects, good and/or bad. Opera, with its large vocals, commands attention and causes both high and physical arousal.
After making a connection between the effects of music and the psychology of love I began to see a tight connection among both subjects. Top musicians of all genres have fans, but they always have those fans that take it too fan. They seem to live and breathe for only that particular artist and will do anything to meet them. Infatuation tends to be obsessive as well as asymmetrical (Sternberg 124). I am really interested in all the information I found about love and how difficult is it for scientists to create non-biased/cultured theories. I am still interested in our basic need for love and how it can affect our concentration, motivation, and other aspects of our daily lives. I am beginning to see my underlying question through some of my papers, what is the underlying effect that our subconscious has on our decisions. Do we really have control of our decisions or is what we are exposed to the decider? How has these experiences effected countries, do political officials strive for laws that the public needs or are that they implementing laws they want because of their personal experiences. Understanding the subconscious is a tough topic to understand; since it plays such a large yet silent role in our life, I believe it is worth taking a deeper look into.
Cherry, Kendra. “Who Was Psychologist Harry Harlow?” About.com Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesal/p/harry-harlow.htm>.
Harlow, Harry. (1958) The Nature of Love. American Psychologist, 13, 673-685.
Raghunathan, Raj, Ph.D. “The Need to Love.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 08 Jan. 2014. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sapient-nature/201401/the-need-love>.
Sternberg, Robert J., and Michael L. Barnes. The Psychology of Love. New Haven: Yale UP, 1988. Print.