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A primordial area of the brain, far older than reason or thinking, creates both the capacity and the need for emotional intimacy that all humans share. A General Theory of Love describes the workings of this ancient, pivotal urge and reveals that our nervous systems are not self-contained. Instead, our brains link with those of the people close to us, in a silent rhythm that makes up the very life force of the body. These wordless and powerful ties determine our moods, stabilize and maintain our health and well-being, and change the structure of our brains. In consequence, who we are and who we become depend, in great part, on whom we love.
A General Theory of Love applies these and other extraordinary insights to some of the most crucial issues we face in our lives. Its authors explain how relationships function and where love goes wrong, how parents shape a child's developing self, how psychotherapy really works, what curbs and what fosters violent aggression in our children, and how modern society regularly courts disaster by flouting emotional laws it does not yet recognize.
A work of rare originality, passion, and eloquence, A General Theory of Love will forever change the way you think about human intimacy.
"A revolutionary book. In the tradition of Lewis Thomas, its authors transform hard science into page-turning lyricism. Every page provokes a shock of recognition as we see why the sources of our happiness lie far deeper in our brains than material goods, traditional psychotherapy, or self-help books have the power to reach. A reference book on life, this work deserves to be read and reread. It goes to the heart of what it means to be human."
—Madeline Levine, Ph.D., author of See No Evil: A Guide to Protecting Our Children from Media Violence
"Advancing a thesis as exciting in its way as Einstein's general theory of relativity, A General Theory of Love forges a wealth of fresh scientific research into a coherent thesis about the role of intimacy in our lives that is as eloquent as it is persuasive."
—Leonard Shlain, M.D., author of The Alphabet Versus the Goddess and Art & Physics
"A new and exciting integration of insights from many fields, A General Theory of Love provides an original understanding of human behavior. Clearly written, it is must reading for psychotherapists, patients, parents, teachers, and anyone who wants to better understand him- or herself."
—Paul Ekman, Ph.D., professor of psychology,
University of California, San Francisco, author of Telling Lies,
editor of Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals
"A General Theory of Love is a charmingly written, intriguing look at what the new frontiers of science tell us about the seemingly unscientific vagaries of human love. The authors explain the biological reasons behind what we already know in our hearts: Our need for love is wired deeply within us, and from infancy to old age our happiness depends upon receiving it. A General Theory of Love is both a revelation and a guide."
—Danielle Crittenden, author of What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us