Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dr. Helen Fisher: "We are capable of loving more than one person at a time."

I am amazed that I just came across this video of a speech lecturer, author and cultural anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher gave three years ago. I often reference her in my poly educational programs and her writings about how we love, and why. She has a real talent for explaining human sexuality and pair bonding with clarity, especially as to what chemicals are at work when we fall in love, pair bond, etc., their effects, and how that fits/has fit - or not - into social mores.

In this video Fisher talks about three brain systems, lust, romantic love, and attachment, and how it is that these don't always go together. At 17 minutes into the lecture, she says what I've longed to hear her say but have never heard her say so clearly and unequivocally, and that is that because these three brain systems aren't always connected to each other,

" can feel deep attachment to a long term partner WHILE you feel intense romantic love for somebody else WHILE you feel the sex drive for people unrelated to these other partners. In short, we are capable of loving more than one person at a time." (At which time the skies opened and angels sang!) "In fact you can lie in bed at night and swing from deep feelings of attachment for one person to deep feelings of romantic love for somebody else. It's as if there's a committee meeting going on in your head as you are trying to decide what to do, so I don't think honestly we are an animal that was built to be happy, I think we are an animal that was built to reproduce, and I think that any happiness we find we make, and I think however we can make good relationships with each other."

Which is what we polyamorists are doing and doing better and better as time passes.

Fisher spends a fair amount of time speaking generally about romantic love and relationships and also about the role for women in the future, all of which is very important and quite fascinating all by itself. If you can't wait to get to the poly part, you can jump forward to the 17 minute point. Enjoy!

By the way, the remarkable website where I found this is called "TED: Ideas Worth Spreading" and features the "18 minute talks of their lives" given by invited speakers to TED, which the website says, "... stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers ..."

I am definitely looking forward to exploring more thoroughly what else it has to offer.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

it seems then she has changed her tune from what she wrote in her book. It seemed kind of odd to me that she concluded we could not get past jealousy, and multiple relationships would be too difficult, after everything she said about the love chemicals seemed to say otherwise. Perhaps her editors insisted she make it monogomy-centric.