There were several stories in the news this week about the role of the neuropeptide, Oxytocin, in regulating levels of affection and disaffection.
Oxytocin has long been recognized as the hormonal neuropeptide associated with "Cupid's Arrow" -- the palpable phenomenon of feeling "lovestruck."
Recent research indicates that Oxytocin is also correlated to issues of trust. High levels of Oxytocin correlate to high levels of trust. Low levels of Oxytocin correlate to wariness and mistrust.
This correlation is not too surprising, since Fear (Apprehensiveness) and Trust are opposites (as are Fear and Love).
What's surprising is how strong the correlation is. The scientific findings showed that trust levels could be dramatically manipulated by exposing subjects to aromatic doses of Oxytocin.
A precipitous plunge in Oxytocin levels evidently corresponds to the emotionally devastating experience of a "broken heart."
It breaks my heart to say it, but I fear our culture is suffering from Oxytocin Deficit Disorder, as people become increasingly disaffected, wary, and mistrustful of others.
Trust-Building is one of the key goals of Community-Building.
But we seem to be in an era where the seeds of fear and mistrust are being widely sown by nefarious political operatives throughout the political culture.
Where has all the Oxytocin gone?
CopyLeft 2005, Barsoom Tork Associates.