Do you need a love-pill?

(Image courtesy: Wikipedia)

I recently read about the invention of a love-pill. Brian Earp, researcher at Oxford University’s Institute for Neuroethics, is working on magic pills to help you fall in and out of love(!) I was instantly transported back to Shakespeare’s midsummer night’s dream. Remember that story in which Titania (the queen of fairies) falls in love with Nick Bottom (the weaver with a donkey head)? Well, that spell is being cast all over again -just that this time it isn’t fictional.

Apparently, this pill can create attraction between people. The fundamental premise is that love is a neuro-chemical reaction in the brain (well, they got that part right). So it should be possible to create that feeling just by triggering the brain to release the right amount of chemicals at a given time. I can’t stop feeling amused as I go over the implications this could have. My imagination is running wild with all the places this could be of use.

Let’s look at an arranged marriage setup. The guy goes to see the girl (read: checkout). On first looks, he doesn’t get a good feeling. He wants to run but he can’t. It’s a sticky situation as the whole family is busy binging on samosas and jalebis. He avoids smiling, least he looks interested. If the girl likes him she can easily get him to agree : (1) Insist he has tea (2) Slip him a pill (3) Say ‘yes’ and seal the deal.

By the time the drug wears off he could be walking around with an engagement ring :-)

Apparently, there are other benefits of the pill. If your marriage has become stale after a decade or two, this pill helps you rekindle lost feelings. To relive good times I don’t need memories, I can use pills. Suddenly, I’m at the mercy of my hormones. What happens once the chemical reaction, that has been so tactfully created, wears off? May be I should keep popping pills till I start finding stray animals attractive.

I am also hoping that the long eyes of the characters in the love-pill articles are a part of the creative team’s visualization and people are not actually going to start walking around with heart-shaped pupils. That would be a rather funny sight, wouldn’t it? A secret way of disclosing your intentions without having to say a word.

Why don’t we sugar coat these pills and offer them to all the people who turned down our proposals in the past? That’s an easy way to get all of them to like us back in an instant. Wouldn’t that kind of ‘reciprocation’ of feelings really boost our self-esteem? Suddenly, the rejected lover in us becomes the bone of contention for all. So we don’t have to get lucky in love. We just have to become smarter than the one we love :-)

Also, if a person is going through a heartbreak this pill helps him recover faster. What if recovering from the break isn’t a good idea at all? Doesn’t it happen at times that we realise what we could have done better and get back with the one we have broken off with? Or can we just pill our way out of each one?

Needless to say, I am skeptical about the ways in which this pill can help us solve our problems with falling in and out of love. Both events take place as a result of something we experience with another person. By taking drugs and producing a cocktail of chemicals in our brain we could end up with life-altering situations that might not be in our best interest. The emotions we experience guide us to select what is good for us and what isn’t. They aren’t things that just stand in the way -something we should get rid off.

I think that if a person used a pill to fall in love, he will soon need the same pill to help him fall out. Wish we could find ways to trust our feelings a little more otherwise there is going to be a huge shift in the dating scene. Once upon a time a person’s eyes were supposed to be the window to his soul. In future, his pharmacy bill will tell us more.