Chemically Induced Love Y
Samiul Bashar Samin
Love hurts”—as the saying goes—and a certain degree of pain and difficulty in intimate relationships is unavoidable. Sometimes it may even be beneficial, since, as it is often argued, some types (and amounts) of suffering can lead to personal growth, self-discovery, and a range of other essential components of a life well lived. But at other times, love can be downright dangerous. Either it can trap a person in a cycle of violence …or it can prevent a person from moving on with his/her life or forming healthier relationships
Yet tampering chemically with love – whether easing a painful, unrequited obsession or changing one’s sexual orientation – is seen as taboo because society now places love in an exalted category all of its own. We see whom we love and how we love as among the most important parts of our identity. Love trumps most of our other values, such as ambition or even the desire to be free from suffering. Doctors readily prescribe drugs to heal bodily injuries so we can be in control of our bodies. Activists fight to de-stigmatise medication that helps mental-health problems
Love alone is untouchable, one of the last frontiers where the ability to manipulate or shun an experience seems to be asking for too much – but why? Love is in many ways a chemical reaction, and when love causes intense suffering or conflicts deeply with other values, people who want a chemical solution should, providing they give informed consent, have one. Access to anti-love drugs could bring some of us closer to one of the core values of Western society: personal autonomy, and a future where we control our lives and become the people we most want to be.
Ultimately, the individual and voluntary use of these technologies ‘can be justified or even morally required …In some cases, to deny its use would be inhumane…For however wonderful it can feel to be in love, this most central of human emotions can also be, as Shaw wrote, an “insane” and “delusive” passion—and a dangerous one as well.’ When love becomes dangerous, we need path to safety, ‘even if this would require the swallowing of a pill.’The taboo on treating love and the taboo on treating taboos – all of it needs to go.