General Theory of Love: Love & the New Science of the Emotional Mind

General Theory of Love: Love & the New Science of the Emotional Mind

Hardcover

$23.95

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375503894
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/01/2000
Pages: 274
Product dimensions: 5.94(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.03(d)

About the Author

Thomas Lewis, M.D.  is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, and a former associate director of the Affective Disorders Program there. Dr. Lewis currently divides his time between writing, private practice, and teaching at the UCSF medical school. He lives in Sausalito, California.

Fari Amini, M.D. is a professor of psychiatry at the UCSF School of Medicine. Born and raised in Iran, he graduated from medical school at UCSF and has served on the faculty there for thirty-three years. Dr. Amini is married, has six children, and lives in Ross, California.

Richard Lannon, M.D. is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCSF School of Medicine. In 1980, Dr. Lannon founded the Affective Disorders Program at UCSF, a pioneering effort to integrate psychological concepts with the emerging biology of the brain. Dr. Lannon is married and the father of two; he lives in Greenbrae, California.

Read an Excerpt


What is love, and why are some people unable to find it? What is loneliness, and why does it hurt? What are relationships, and how and why do they work the way they do?

Answering these questions, laying bare the heart's deepest secrets, is this book's aim. Since the dawn of our species, human beings in every time and place have contended with an unruly emotional core that behaves in unpredicted and confusing ways. Science has been unable to help them. The Western world's first physician, Hippocrates, proposed in 450 B.C. that emotions emanate from the brain. He was right-but for the next twenty-five hundred years, medicine could offer nothing further about the details of emotional life. Matters of the heart were matters only for the arts-literature, song, poetry, painting, sculpture, dance. Until now.

The past decade has seen an explosion of scientific discoveries about the brain, the leading edge of a revolution that promises to change the way we think about ourselves, our relationships, our children, and our society. Science can at last turn its penetrating gaze on humanity's oldest questions. Its revelations stand poised to shatter more than a few modern assumptions about the inner workings of love.

Traditional versions of the mind hold that Passion is a troublesome remnant from humanity's savage past, and the intellectual subjugation of emotion is civilization's triumph. Logical but dubious derivations follow: emotional maturity is synonymous with emotional restraint. Schools can teach children missing emotional skills just as they impart the facts of geometry or history. To feel better, outthink your stubborn and recalcitrant heart. So saysconvention.

In this book, we demonstrate that where intellect and emotion clash, the heart often has the greater wisdom. In a pleasing turnabout, science-Reason's right hand-is proving this so. The brain's ancient emotional architecture is not a bothersome animal encumbrance. Instead, it is nothing less than the key to our lives. We live immersed in unseen forces and silent messages that shape our destinies. As individuals and as a culture, our chance for happiness depends on our ability to decipher a hidden world that revolves-invisibly, improbably, inexorably-around love.

From birth to death, love is not just the focus of human experience but also the life force of the mind, determining our moods, stabilizing our bodily rhythms, and changing the structure of our brains. The body's physiology ensures that relationships determine and fix our identities. Love makes us who we are, and who we can become. In these pages, we explain how and why this is so.

During the long centuries when science slumbered, humanity relied on the arts to chronicle the heart's mysterious ways. That accumulated wisdom is not to be disdained. This book, while traveling deep into the realm of science, keeps close at hand the humanism that renders such a journey meaningful. The thoughts of researchers and empiricists join those of poets, philosophers, and kings. Their respective starting points may be disparate in space, time, and temperament, but the voices in this volume rise and converge toward a common goal.

Every book, if it is anything at all, is an argument: an articulate arrow of words, fledged and notched and newly anointed with sharpened stone, speeding through paragraphs to its shimmering target. This book-as it elucidates the shaping power of parental devotion, the biological reality of romance, the healing force of communal connection-argues for love. Turn the page, and the arrow is loosed. The heart it seeks is your own.

Table of Contents

Prefacevii
1.The Heart's Castle: Science Joins the Search for Love3
2.Kits, Cats, Sacks, and Uncertainty: How the Brain's Basic Structure Poses Problems for Love16
3.Archimedes' Principle: How We Sense the Inner World of Other Hearts35
4.A Fiercer Sea: How Relationships Permeate the Human Body, Mind, and Soul66
5.Gravity's Incarnation: How Memory Stores and Shapes Love100
6.A Bend in the Road: How Love Changes Who We Are and Who We Can Become121
7.The Book of Life: How Love Forms, Guides, and Alters a Child's Emotional Mind145
8.Between Stone and Sky: What Can Be Done to Heal Hearts Gone Astray165
9.A Walk in the Shadows: How Culture Blinds Us to the Ways of Love191
10.The Open Door: What the Future Holds for the Mysteries of Love227
Notes231
Bibliography241
Acknowledgments255
Index261

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews