The “Glue” That Attaches & Bonds Human Relationships
James W. Prescott, Ph.D., Joseph Chilton Pearce and Michael Mendizza
This essay precedes, compliments and supports Sensory Deprivation and the Developing Brain. It develops a scientific framework that establishes pleasure as the glue that forms and maintains human bonds. Think about it. Affectionate human touch is pleasurable. Being held as a baby, nursing at the breast of a pleasure filled mother, feeling close, safe and later in life, human sexuality and reproduction is full of pleasurable sensations. There is even a hormone, oxcitocin, called nature’s love or pleasure drug that produces the euphoric blush we all know and covet. It is time that we let pleasure out of the closet. And here’s why.
Pleasure and happiness provide the “glue” that attach and bond human relationships. We are attracted to experiences that generate pleasure and disassociate from those that cause physical or emotional pain. Pleasure and its subsequent bonding integrate brain development. Pain prevents this integration. Pleasure and pain are the primary sensory systems for socialization, which are encoded first in the emotional-social-sexual brain and later in the cognitive, rational, thinking brain. The encoding and early integration of these two brain systems through pleasure or their fragmentation through pain give rise to a self-world view that shapes individual life and culture. The moral definition and use of pleasure and pain by culture represents the cause and effect of this brain encoding process.
Affectional bonding and attachment, far from romantic sentiment, provide the foundation for all human development. Understanding the way pain fragments the brain, (often beginning with ritual circumcision, shown to alter normal pain-pleasure perceptions later in life), the integrative role of pleasure; and how these different experiences shape the developing brain and its behaviors is critical in understanding the true nature and importance of attachment and affectional bonding.
The essential role of pleasure in human development cannot be over stated. Pleasure and joy are not only moral, but are morally necessary to develop a moral person, a non-violent society, and truly intelligent culture. Belief systems that deny this biological imperative must be recognized as immoral, destructive, and obsolete, for these systems prevent the awakening and expression of our authentic human spirit.