Without the sad times,
the happy times would not be so enjoyable
Minh Tan (see haiquote version)
Technology exists today that you can monitor brain activity associated with being in love. However, up until recently, most of the studies have been done in the Western world, which is only a minor part of the world. So is love truly universal as the idealists would have you believe, or is it cross-cultural and different among cultures like so many things are? I mean, different cultures don’t express love the same ways. They don’t court mates in the same ways. They don’t assign roles or values in love the same ways. In fact, I doubt you could find anything universal about love across all cultures.
But good news. No. Great news!
Love is truly universal!
Dr Art Aron, a professor of psychology at Stony Brook university in New York, and graduate student Xiaomeng Xu, have shown love to be universal by brain activity (Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times blog). Brain activity is the thing that counts when it comes to being able to scientifically define love. For all the talk of feelings and the heart, that’s all metaphors. Brain activity is where it’s at.
They measured and mapped brain activity of people in different cultures claiming to be in love, shown pictures of their loved ones, and did this for some over an 18 month period as relationships sometimes changed. What they got were some “very clear patterns”, according to Dr Aron. However, he cautions against being able to predict the future of relationships on differences on brain patterns seen among those who stayed in and fell out of love during the time they were monitored. Seems the patterns were an indicator of the present state, and not good enough to predict whether the state would persist or degrade in the future.
Still, it is great to be able to scientifically say love is truly universal among humanity!
Yet, despite all this, I cannot help but think of the paradoxes of racism and interracial relationships which I had seen and felt ever since I was a Vietnamese refugee child in Canada. Interracial relationships have generally been taboo in North America. Sure, there are enough people who accept it, though I will save stories of experiments I’ve done which have shown far fewer would embrace it than accept it in others in some places. In other words, I don’t care if someone else does it but not me. But interracial relationships are still taboo. In Nova Scotia, where I live, an interracial couple has been twice subject to hate crimes in early 2010 (CBC). It was the actions of a few, not representative of a community who rallied around the couple, but those actions don’t come out of nowhere without others someone having propagated the sentiments in the guilty in the first place.
Anyhow, what I’ve long wondered is this. I see people cooing and getting giddy over cross-breeds of dogs, cats and other animals all the time. It’s exotic and prized. Yet, two people of the same species, and we are all homo sapiens, who differ in skin colour, aren’t approved to be able to love each other and be with each other?
You tell me how this makes sense.
It’s just as paradoxical as why tanning is so cool, but being brown naturally and longer than a few weeks at a time is not.
Tell me how that also makes sense.
But tragically, that’s what makes us human and not Vulcans.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.9
I’m proud to share that my friend, Denise Robson of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, won the Women’s Masters Division (40 and over) at the Boston Marathon today! She also placed first among women in the 40-44 year old category, obviously… and she’s got an elite athlete profile (link above). How cool is that!!!
Denise ran a 2:43:16, her best Boston time by 2 minutes. That translates to a rocking 6:14/mile pace. She passed half way in 1:19:55, with a slight positive split for the second half containing Heartbreak Hill. The 41 year old Mother of three daughters placed 282nd overall among over 26,000 runners, was the 24th woman to finish, and 9th fastest Canadian in the field.
The top Canadian finisher in the field is also a friend of mine, Rami Bardeesy, from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He ran his 9th consecutive fastest Boston marathon in 2:27:22, 59 seconds faster than his previous fastest that was last year. That was good enough for 48th overall and 46th among men. This was also a personal best for Rami, who was an agonizing 1 second from going under 2:28 in Sacramento at the California International Marathon in 2008. He sure righted that today! And on such a tough course as Boston, too!
We Nova Scotians sure had a great showing this year! Not just at the top but also among the more than 100 runners who headed down. Other notable performances at the top included:
Sadly, I had to defer Boston this year.
For their victories, Denise earned a smashing $10,000 and Rami got $2,500, respectively! Cha-ching!
Which ain’t as good as the bling, I am sure!
I’m also friends with all these fast runners. It’s almost sad to run 3:12 or 3:10 and be a turtle among fast friends. 🙂
Congratulations to them all, and others, on a fabulous race!
As for the absolute finishers, 20 year old Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot from Kenya won in a course record 2:05:52. That netted him $150,000 and $25,000 for the record. Interestingly enough, he had smashed a record held by another but unrelated Robert Cheruiyot, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, in 2006, by 82 seconds.
Shall we call these boys Cheruiyots of fire?
You’d think with a name like Robert Cheruiyot, and being an elite marathon runner, nobody would ever confuse you with anybody else, eh? Tough luck!
Among the top men, second went to Tekeste Kebede from Ethiopia. He was 91 seconds behind, with Deriba Merga, the defending champion, coming third in 2:08:39.
Among the elite women, Teyba Erkesso from Ethiopia was top at 2:26:11. It was a sprint to the finish, though, beating Russia’s Tatyana Pushkareva by just 3 seconds. Ouch! Teyba also won $150,000 with the gender equality in prize money being given by the Boston Marathon.
Well done, everyone! I hope to be in the action next spring!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5