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April 5, 2005

'Love as a mental illness'


So reads the subtitle of psychologist Frank Tallis's new book, "Love Sick."

More: "We are afflicted rather than affected by love."

I'll drink to that.

And have, more than once, but that's another story, for another time.

Daniel Swift, reviewing the book in Sunday's New York Times Book Review, wrote, "our genes are hard-wired to follow slavishly the dictates of natural selection, but our societies and and our bodies would become exhausted if we followed them into ceaseless childbearing and raising."

Tallis writes, "However, the very fact that we can self-reflect, and rebel, has perhaps necessitated the evolution of a safety mechanism. We call this safety mechanism 'love.'"

Swift wrote that Tallis believes that the great unspoken fear that dating and relationship manuals seek to assuage is the fear of abandonment and humiliation: "of being stood up at a bar or at the alter."

Tallis believes this is wrongheaded and writes, "To be romantically involved is an admission that carries a host of implications: passion, folly, obsession, anguish, recklessness, intrigue and adventure."

By necessity, love — and fear — enter at the same door.


The book is $10.85 at amazon, if you want — or need — more.

[via Daniel Swift and the New York Times Book Review]

April 5, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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