Tag Archives: science

Intuition. Love. The light on the wall.

As a child, intuition was like the lightbulb that pops up when a character gets an idea.   Some books talk about intuition and the difference between two parts of our minds.  Our rational mind and our emotional mind.  How do we get those light-bulb feelings?  Is that the same thing as a “gut” reaction?  There are entire books written about each word of each of the above sentences.  For those interested, How we decide, and Stumbling on Happiness are both good reads.  For the super enthusiastic, that want to learn about decision making and are willing to watch a short clip, I’d highly recommend this TED talk.

What we do know is that part of what makes us human is the ability for our brains to jump to a conclusion about something without really even thinking about it.  I look at you, and I know I’ve seen you, but I haven’t yet figured out how.   You ask me who sings this song, I tell you, but I can’t remember when I heard it, or how I know. Or, regarding love, you meet someone and you’re drawn to them.

What the hell does that mean anyways?  I’m drawn to them?  I don’t know but I love it when it happens.  For no particular reason, I know where the light is on the wall.  What do I mean?  Well let me tell you a little story.

There have been repeated experiments with intuition and decision making.  One of the better examples of the anomaly of intuition involves a blind woman and a flashlight.  A medically blind patient who cannot distinguish light from dark, is asked to face a wall.  The scientist shines a light on the wall and asks the woman to point at the light.  The scientist typically has to calm the patient down, explaining that no they are not trying to offend them, but they would like them to try to find the light.  Want to know what happens?  The blind patient finds the light.  Not every time, but more than what is left to chance. (statistically significant)

Whats the point? How does this relate to love? Love is like intuition.  We don’t know why it happens, but when it does we can spot it from a mile away.  A blind person could spot it on the wall.
We’ve all heard the magic of marriage.  “you will just know when its right.”  What?  How will I know?  When will I know?  We don’t like this answer — it feels like leaving one of the most important things to us up to chance.  “It’s ok honey, you’re time will come.”  Right, Ok.  I agree it’s not just chance, we have to work at it.  But point is, we work for an indefinite amount of time until “the time is right.”  What happens at that moment?  For one the universe has aligned in your favor, and all of the Gods are blessing this moment.  For another, your gut is just telling you so.

  • “This one is a keeper.”
  • “I know you’re scared, but dammit, stick around, because this might be it.”
  • “Put yourself out there.  Love is worth it.”

You’re probably also fiddling with your hair, or if your a guy, your leg might be bouncing up and down.  Some people’s palms get sweaty.  Sometimes we blush.  Sometimes we just stop talking altogether because someone just stole the air from our lungs.  Maybe we want to run away.  But we’re happy.  We want to dig deeper.  Our gut tells us so.  These physical reactions are in fact our biological response to our gut telling us so.  This is the language of our gut when its talking about love, or at least interest.

We get a flurry of thoughts where our intuition, our instincts, our gut is just telling us it’s right.  For those of you who have found it, congratulations.  Hold on tight, because from what I’ve heard you’ve just finally reached the roller coaster and the ride is about to start.  For those who are still looking, don’t worry, I promise you, what will come will come.  OK, thats not that big of a promise, but I can say that if it is what you want, you are highly likely to find it.  Its just odds.  Half of the world is man and half of the world is woman.  You are beautiful, and you will find someone who agrees with me.  Your job is to be patient.

Stay hungry.  Follow your heart.  Listen to your intuitive mind.  Love will follow.

Why we love dark chocolate

Among other things, I am a dark chocolate addict.  I typically buy dark chocolate that is >70% cacao.  I like eating it with coffee, with tea, and especially after dinner.  When I’m buying it for someone else, I typically combine a good bar with a good drink.  It mellows the flavor and lets you take a break from its loveliness just for long enough so that when you take the next bite your feeding your addiction again.

But we don’t only like dark chocolate because it tastes good.  Lots of things taste good.  Not many people would deny a cup of their favorite ice cream, or creme brulee, or if we move to other food groups: an amazing fillet of salmon with rosemary potatoes.  There is something more to dark chocolate.

Yes, sometimes chocolate chills us out after a meal, but most of the time, when we think about what we’re told about chocolate, it has to do with Love.  With sex. Chocolate makes us voracious.  If it isn’t working, we want to eat more.

Chocolate gives us that same feeling of sitting on a hammock in warm spring breeze, while in our head living the fantasy of being the star of the show on a dance floor with the opposite sex eye-balling us to death, with a wink, and with big pink letters telling us what they are all about 😉

Ok maybe I took it a bit too far.  Point is we associate chocolate with a good time, and typically with a good time with the opposite sex.  Not many food groups get that honor.

Truthfully, there are both psychological and scientific reasons why chocolate has this association.  For one chocolate, especially dark chocolate has traces of Phenethylamine, which in short is a stimulant.  The type of stimulant that is found in antidepressants.  Not strong enough evidence? It also contains dopamine — which is a compound released after you work out, after you win the lottery, after you have sex.  Still not good enough?  It was chocolate that enabled a woman to steal johnny depp’s heart.

If you don’t like chocolate, you’re probably too worried about the sugar, or perhaps you have another fix that you like more.  Either way, I hope you’ve found your food group that has a strong association with love.  And when you have — buy it, eat it, and give it away to someone you love, or like 🙂

a+b x (S – F)

In my pricing class, our professor today tried to explain a concept of conjoint analysis by explaining this equation:

Happyness in Marriage = a + b * (S – F), where S = The amount of Sex in a month, and F = The number of fights in a month.  A + B are constants, so for simplicity I will ignore them in this blog post.

This might sound insane, but I think this seemly crazy equation deserves some thought.  Ok, I know I’ve just pissed you off.  This is NOT what I’m advocating for, but it IS WHAT MODERN PSYCHOLOGISTS / MARRIAGE COUNSELORS think about.

What I”m saying is that if you are having a problem with your marriage and you go to a marriage counselor undoubtably one of the questions they will ask is “how much sex are you having?”  Its a metric that at least in modern science takes into account a lot of the things, that if you and I were to respond to the question we might say things like:

  • commitment
  • mutual respect
  • fun together
  • romance
  • doing service together

Which all together is some part of what our equation of love would be. The sum of those things, each weighed differently depending on the person, along with a number of other attributes.  The list obviously is infinitely flexible depending on your own personal preferences, but I think we’d all agree that few people would disagree with the above points.

A psychologist or marriage counselor isn’t discounting these things when they ask “how much sex are you having” They assume that if you aren’t having enough sex, that one or more of the above things probably isn’t working out.

The other part of the equation is S-F, where F = number of fights in a month.  So here modern science is saying.. hm…

1) so maybe you’re having a bunch of sex, but you’re also fighting a bunch too… so you’re not that happy.

2) Or maybe you’re not having much sex, but your not fighting either, so your neutral.

3) Or worse, you’re not having sex and your fighting a lot, so you must be unhappy.

Ideally they hope that you’re

4) having a lot of sex, and not fighting, as this would be indicative of extreme happyness.

Pretty funny the way science works doesn’t it.  We live in a world where we try to quantify everything.  Love can’t be quantified, but it can be measured.  Sex, Fighting, yah, its two parts of love. But if that was all there was, then I could be married to someone that I spent no time with besides having sex and this equation would tell us we are an ideal couple.  There are words for those relationships but I won’t name them here.  Point is that relationship wouldn’t do much for the couple, and would do even less for the world around them.

I love science, and there is A LOT of science behind love.  I’ll blog about some real science behind love a later day.  For now lets just agree that sex and fighting are two important things that we will all do when we’re married, (ideally more sex than fighting) but marriage is much more complicated than that…