Psychology

The need for Love in Humans and certain Animal Species



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"The need for Love in Humans and certain Animal Species"
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All living creatures respond favorably to love and positivity, as opposed to hate and negativity. Just as plants grow towards the warmth and light of the sun, we too are drawn towards the warmth and light that love can provide.

As human beings we are not alone in our need for love. We may have more sophisticated emotions and a higher degree of intelligence with which to comprehend our surroundings, but it is possible that all creatures can understand the emotion of love to a certain degree.

Many years ago studies involving Rhesus monkeys revealed to us that without love and caring monkeys didn't thrive. Baby monkeys who were allowed to stay with their mothers remained healthy and happy. Those who were left with a wire pretend mother covered in terry toweling became depressed and withdrawn. Those without even the pretend presence of a soft and warm mother fared very badly. It would seem that even monkeys can't do without love.

In the animal kingdom, and amongst our own species, love exists as a means of helping us to survive. When we love and are loved we take care of one another. As humans have progressed we have been able to take love to a higher level than mere survival. Love can help us to empathise with all different species and with different situations, so that we can better understand them.

Love can lift us from the darkest and deepest realms of emotional depravity and rescue us from sadness and and self destructive behaviour. Without love we can exist, but just like the Rhesus monkeys, we are unlikely to thrive and be happy without it.

The need for love can drive us to form relationships and bonds with the most unlikely of people, and the same goes for animals too. Dogs may befriend cats, cats may even tolerate and enjoy the company of mice and in extreme cases, perhaps even the lion can lay down the the lamb.

Without love there is conflict and destruction. Because we have the ability to love we can learn to understand others. Without this ability we could never forge allegiances and friendships with those who would otherwise be our enemies. With love there is the possibility of peace and forgiveness.

All beings need the emotion of love just as much as they need the ability of strength to fight tooth and nail for survival. The best way to survive is not always to engage in war and violence. Sometimes we have a choice as to whether we use either love or hate to drive us and keep us safe.

Although love has developed as a higher level emotion in humans it began as a lower level emotion, just as anger did. This is why we all have the capacity to love whether we are a human being, a horse, goat or a rat. It is how we engage this emotion and use it that lifts humans above many animals.

Some animals use their love only to protect their family and to nourish themselves. As humans we have the intelligence to think further afield and to use love to reach out to others and to empathise with people who need our help who live on the other side of the world.

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More about this author: Bridget Webber

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