‘A General Theory of Love,’ Part 1: How Mammal Brains Work


From Don’t Try This Alone: “A General Theory of Love, after Einstein’s ‘general theory of relativity,’ is by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon, three MDs and professors of psychiatry. They’re men on a mission to break the truth about the brain to America. It was passed to me with the promo that it has the latest science on how to re-program painful mental patterns like a broken heart.

Emotions, they report, are imprinted in the infant brain via what they call ‘limbic resonance’ and create how and whom we love, which creates who we are.

I never meant to get into brain science. But once I read A General Theory of Love, or GTL, as we dubbed it, I saw that what I didn’t know was killing me. It became obvious that I had brain trauma from infancy and I was walking around mis-attuned to people from deep in my brain stem . . .

War on Emotions

Triune Brain1 McCleanGTL starts with a bang: American society has declared war on emotions and that’s a tragedy, they state, because emotions, led by love, are what allow mammals to survive, humans included.

. . . ‘Modern America plows emotions under, a costly practice that obstructs happiness and misleads people about the nature and significance of their lives. That… is more damaging than one might suppose,’ they write . . .

‘Emotions have a biological function — they do something for an animal that helps it to live.’

. . . ‘A body animated only by the reptilian brain stem is no more human than a severed toe. Reptiles don’t have an emotional life,’ GTL notes. ‘The advent of the mammalian limbic lobe, uniquely, allows mammals to care for their own, have emotions, and risk and lose life for another.’

‘Emotions are good? I can’t think them away? These societal voices in my head telling me to “just stuff it and grow up” are wrong and maybe damaging? That’s a relief,’ I thought. ‘But I’ve sure got a lot of ’em and they’re a mess; now what?’

Stovepiped Brain

Stovepiped Brain Lizard Aardvark Monkey Medley

. . . The frontal cortex only imagines that the other two take orders and obey logic. ‘Not so,’ says GTL. ‘Words, good ideas, and logic mean nothing to at least two brains out of three. Much of one’s mind does not take orders.’ . .

Moreover, we need love to live and without love, we die, GTL continues. Here my anxiety went through the roof. I sure did feel like I was going to die without love, and soon; that was the whole nature of my roiling emotional pain. But I’m not finding any cozy mammals; I keep meeting reptiles who treat me like prey, so my doctors tell me to stay on Isolation Row.

How am I going to survive out here alone in the wilds without love?”

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