The ‘Love’ Triangle in Human Society : Evolution, Biology & Psychology

Where, is  this ‘Love’ business on the ladder of Evolution? –  The Biology

As  most physiological processes are driven, emotions begin in the command center of our physiologies : The Brain. Or at least, that portion of which biologists call the ‘Limbic System’ and the ‘Neocortex’.

I strongly feel that our Original Ancestor truly was that last reptile which morphed into the first mammal, walking on ‘terra firma’ with the first mammalian limbs. From this reptile we inherited the reptilian brain formed over the millennia and from the mammal came the rat-like true mammal which is our predecessor on the long ladder of Biological Evolution : which was different from the reptilian stream of the animal kingdom in that it had ‘evolved’ another layer to its brain : The Neocortex – the seat of ‘higher learning’ so far known to our species.

Given this, isn’t it uniquely strange that it is the heart that is flaunted on Valentine’s day and not the brain? Strange creatures, we the Homo sapiens!

When began this ‘Love’ business ? – The Psychology

It was a milestone when the first paleo brain was developed well-enough – to make the first turtle burying its eggs under sand to hide them from predators, the first mother-bird hunting for food for its chicks and the first mother-mouse that fed it’s young one on its milk. In short parental care, arising out of a ‘nurturing’ tendency – making a new beginning in an era where the dominant custom was starkly ‘reptilian’ : an era where the extreme went up to prenatal cannibalization. As in sharks, for example – one of the young  ate up its siblings before they were born. Or  the mother snake swallowed up many of her young  as soon as they hatched. And in the honey bee colonies where the queen killed her young sisters to become the sole ruler.

Evolution and genes, of course go hand in hand. How far we have come, where from we came is clearly mapped in our genes. Till date the theory that the entire human race was descended from one woman – nicknamed Mitochondrial Eve , from Africa and one man called Y-chromosomal Adam holds good! And so the next question comes up…..

Is Love in our DNA?

As much as ‘rage’ is in our DNA, emanating from that part of our brains called the ‘reptilian brain’, (lower part of the brain), so is Love part of our genetic make-up.

Ma Evolution skillfully designed complex behavioral patterns which ensured that!

A healthy male peacock with a diffuse colorful tail is ‘loved’, albeit through sheer physical attraction mode, by peahens. A lion with the blackest and thickest mane is in ‘demand’…. Godmother Nature has been an excellent matchmaker through the millennia in which higher life forms evolved!

Evolutionary psychologists are of the strong viewpoint that many behavioral traits, are influenced by the genes that our ancestors passed on to us – which were shaped as we see them today –  as a result of millions of years of natural selection placing the emphasis on their ‘survival value’.  However, we the human race have mastered the ability not to let only the genes rule us : We let the ‘rational’ brain / Moral training take over and therefore make conscious choices when it comes to ‘equal adults’ , ‘mate preferences / partners’, and the young ones we bear.

Where to from here on?  Will we love Robots or vice-versa? – The Evolution

Intra-species love has been by far rated the best of survival value by the rule of natural selection. Hence a human being loves another human being when it comes to pair-bonding. Surely its only Puck Goodfellow’s magic juice squeezed on your eyelids that can cause you to fall in love with a donkey.

However, the love that a human organism has towards his fellow animal counterparts, be they in the domestic context of cattle, household pets, concern for wild animal species etc though has overtones of symbiosis, is different from that towards our own kind.

Thus, so far summed up is the biology and psychology of Love as per today’s Human Society. But the future of Humanity might not be entirely ‘Human’. It might to a certain degree or large extent be ‘Post Human’, or even become Cyborgs? If we were to have household, para-human robots…… would that shape the interaction between them and us ? Would that trigger the formation of another ‘society’?.  Would this be a triangle of para-human, human and post-human love?

The fourth Dimension –  Spirituality?

As much as I believe in Darwin, I’m a staunch believer of Spiritual Evolution. My musings on Love would be incomplete without this dimension. Though I’m not clear as to where an Animal ‘spirit’ stands and where a human stands on the ladder of Spiritual Evolution, I certainly can grade this within our own species tilting the scales across the spectrum of Altruism,  right down to extreme mercenary behaviors.

What would be the ‘Love’ pattern of such personalities and would there be a dichotomy of natures  within that future organism…….? For, though we are descended from very ‘biological’ principles, we have ‘evolved’ differently from the rest of the animal kingdom – the proof being culture and language and software. And war and holocausts, not to forget! We also have our saints, sufis and priests whose perception of ‘evolution’ is very different from the scientist’s.

What would be the next level of ‘Neocortex’ that we would develop? Would be it be bio-physical , or would it be psycho-genetic? When integrated, what would the Love-form that humanity would adopt? Or as many Enlightened Ones say, lose those shackling emotions once and for all and stand as a Supreme  Ocean of consciousness where Emotions are just the small waves lapping on the shore, unmatched with the intriguing depth and Majesty that is the Ocean itself?


  1. Quote
    pk.karthik said February 14, 2009, 9:03 am:

    That was brilliant Sultana…..interesting wirteup!!!…

    But with respect animals as u rightly said a brilliantly colored Peacock or a majecstic lion attracts mates….but then it just for sheer procreation …I mean genetically mates feel that these guys have best chance of carrying the their genes forward.But with humans we can offer no explantions:)….we along with Chimps and dophins are only one which mate for pleasure…So I guess as the evolution reaches a higher state then the mating pattern probably changes….I dont know just a specaulation …

    With respect to spiritual evolutions we can just assume Animals are in inferior state (I could be wrong).But in end it could also be like dolphins of HHGTG who leave us in the end thanking for the all the fish:)

  2. Quote

    A nice round up Sultana! An apt post for this blog on a day like today 😉 ‘Cerebral’ even in defining ‘matters of the heart’ LOL 😀 I had that “geeky” smirk on my face while I was reading this post. 🙂

    However, one item for clarification.

    AFAIK, and IIRC, Mitochondrial eve is not a single ‘woman’. I guess a reconstruction of your statement could be : “Till date the theory that the entire human race, that is in existence today, was descended from one woman

    This is because, Mitochondrial eve was not certainly the only “woman” back then –

    It is pedantic, but necessary to remove the common misconception that the Mitochondrial eve is akin to the Biblical eve, which she is not. 🙂

  3. Quote

    Oops! Now I’ve made a blooper too! Can you pls remove the “mitochondrial” in my statement “AFAIK, and IIRC, Mitochondrial eve is not a single ‘woman'”? I meant to say eve is plural, but agree that Mt eve is singular.

  4. Quote
    Sultana Fakhri said February 16, 2009, 9:44 am:

    hi Karthik,

    thank you for your comments.

    yes, that’s the whole point here about the difference between peacocks & lions as compared to humans. The ‘neo-cortex’ enables us to ‘rise’ above the preliminary survival instincts deeply coded into our genes….. and that’s what has helped us stand where we stand today on this Planet…

    though, like you rightly say, dolphins have the ability of telepathy and other para-psychological traits, naturally, whereas we, the highest evolved species has to get specially trained to achieve even the slightest meditative state….!
    let’s hope the next level of ‘evolution’ is of the Higher Intelligence kind which rises above the traditional ‘IQ’ & ‘EQ’ methods and is calibrated against special skills of the mind which even a baby dolphin can do with ease…!

    (though how much of those skills we would use to the benefit / detriment of the Planet, God knows!)

    Best Regards,


  5. Quote
    Sultana Fakhri said February 16, 2009, 9:57 am:


    Now, I had a very ‘awed’ expression on my face when I read your name… Goodness I AM scared of Scorpions and hell surely wouldn’t be a comfortable place to be around ….

    just kidding.!

    thanks for your comments.

    you’re right. Mitochondrial Eve and the Biblical Eve may not be the same people after all. All we know is that ME is the only ‘traceable’ genotype to which we can link our descent. and she and our Y Chromosomal Adam lived thousands of years apart – which means the male counterpart of ME got lost in the gene pool….our only earliest traceable ancestor known today is Y chromosomal Adam….

    Best Regards

  6. Quote

    He he … having a discussion abt my nick after sooooo long 😉 Am a scorpio not a scorpion 😛 and Rourkela can get very hot in summers. I had to endure 52 C during my final year there! 🙁 BTW my name’s already there in this blog under the Cognizant bloggers list 🙂

    Karthik & your conversation reminds me of an old report I had read somewhere (offline/online cant remember where) that the primordial procreation needs were what drove women to flock around rock/pop stars, namely the colourful aspect of these stars (a la peacocks/butterflies/lions/other showoffs) as opposed to the nerd looks of geeks 😉

  7. Quote

    Sultana – Let me say that the content is unusual for a Valentine’s Day post 🙂 When I saw the title – “Love Triangle”, I expected something mushy. I stand corrected.

    I personally find it difficult to imagine people falling for cyborgs. Then again, I could be wrong. So many women were swept off their feet by Tom Cruise 😉

    And it is indeed interesting to speculate what the next big evolutionary leap would be, the equivalent of our neocortex – and how it would influence our ability to love. I have a feeling that we might love less, if our ability to think evolves more. A super-cortex might be able to rein in the nurturing mammalian impulses as wasteful of cycle time, who can say?

  8. Quote

    Informative and Good one !!

    But personally i would love to love from my heart 🙂

  9. Quote
    Sultana Fakhri said February 18, 2009, 9:39 am:

    Hey Rajesh, that’s the whole point here : the heart is an organ akin to say the liver or lungs. Most vital organ no doubt. But it does not have the power to bring about Emotions. that’s the whole point here. we think we love with the heart : I thought so too for a long time. but no. its the mind that directs these Emotions……………. only blood flows through the heart. not the emotions. Emotions flow through the Command Centre of the brain and its systems!!!

    so though it may sound, ‘cerebral’, well , that’s the fact!! 🙂

  10. Quote
    Sultana Fakhri said February 18, 2009, 10:09 am:

    Hi Priya,

    I agree : very unusual Valentine’s day post indeed…but that’s how I wanted it to be..:)

    a tad different from the mushy stuff usually spoken about; About us falling for Cyborgs… or they for us; most of us already ‘Love’ the internet / our software / mobiles. A cyborg need not necessarily be a non-human; A post-human can evolve into a Cyborg. For eg, if the cells of the brain are replaced cell by cell with silicon, programmed just the way our neural networks are, then the cells of the ‘silicon’ brain won’t ever die…and as long as the brain is in a fit state to control the biological processes, the body will remain alive… so ‘physiological immortality’ is achieved. Add to that ‘organ’ by ‘organ’ programming to remain in its youthful state and disease-resistance and you have a bio-Cyborg! Unless this creature is annhilated by physical / violent methods there is no ‘programmed’ biological death as it is in our World today…. Of course they will be a different species from the standard human … and the equation between these two is yet to be hypothesised.

    You’re right about the danger of a supercortex cutting down on emotions ; but maybe not; Maternal love in the first place was an evolutionary ‘naturally’ selected trait – it ensured the nourishment and protection of the young and therefore enhanced the chances of survival of that species – Maternal love has till today distinct ‘survival value’. And the same applies to other forms of love too; It has a complex influence on a whole lot of physiological systems.

    Now in the future biological world, should the young be born so self-sufficient / independent of protection or nourishment, then and only then this trait would come up for scrutiny by Nature…. Moresoever, we cannot predict what our psychogenetic values would be at that time : We may still value it though the young might not; and hence the trait will yet remain within us.

    We need to remember that the Neocortex evolved to give us a better chance of survival. It will not contradict its own purpose. Hence the supercortex if any, even though it may have a tendency to cut down on superfluity (for eg, we do not use the olden forms of the English Language; and sms language is becoming fast popular by way of communication…) will not eliminate in a hurry, anything that has been of aid in ensuring survival and procreation ….

    to say the least, it would be an exciting World out there…!! From Planet Earth, who knows it may be Space-Ship Earth with ‘Development Centres’ instead of Continents, and Flying Automobiles like the one Harry Potter and his friend flew just at the touch of a console button…. 🙂

  11. Quote
    Sultana Fakhri said February 18, 2009, 10:25 am:

    Hi Scorpio… 🙂 glad that somebody else also likes Sun Signs. When I’m not reading up Biology, that’s the next thing I latch on to : Astrophysics – the cosmos, the planets – Eastern Physics – the like.

    Unfortunately I’m pathetic when it comes to the Math. So I really can’t get those Equations right. Otherwise get really starry-eyed around subjects like Time-Space concepts, Auroras, Comets, Meteors and the like…..I’m crazy about the constellations and really fascinated by the Zodiac Signs . The Early Civilizations of the world have all been too………… 🙂

  12. Quote

    Interesting post Sultana. Like everyone, i was amused by the choice of covering the neuroscience of love on valentine’s day. Definitely not one would expect on the “mush” day.

    In my view, our so called spiritual abilities are also a function of our superior mental abilities. So it is not really in conflict with Darwin.

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