The word “love” elicits reactions from everyone, and some of those feelings are not pretty. Except when they’re absolutely beautiful.
On Valentine’s Day, Internet users’ emotions were plentiful and mixed. Twitter trends like #CandyHeartRejects and #FedValentines popped up, illuminating the thoughts of quite a few bitter birds. Facebook also celebrated Valentine’s Day with some birdlike activity. News leaked last month that the Angry Birds would crash onto Facebook on Valentine’s Day. It’s the perfect game for pissed off single users to play on the heart of hearts day. But for all the love-related bitterness on social media, there are still moments of grace.
Yesterday Wired published a sweet piece on a movie called “The Love Competition.” For the film, Director Brent Hoff works with Stanford University neuroscientists to test the lovers’ “love” capabilities. Is love something that one can “win” or “lose,” like the Super Bowl or a reality TV show?
The film follows seven contestants whose challenge is simple: Pick a person, and try to love that person as hard as possible for an entire five minutes. As the contestants performed this activity, an fMRI measured their brain activity.
“I love what Ram Dass says,” explains one of the love competition contestants. “You have to be in it [the relationship], to come to God together. I don’t believe that means take the other person to church. I think that means to evolve together – that you’re helping the other person evolve into the person they’re supposed to be, and they’re helping you evolve.” Not surprisingly, this woman won the love contest. She cried, hugging her husband of 50-some-odd years, and celebrating with expressions of gratitude.
But the real “winner” of this love competition might not be that woman. The winner here might actually be the guy who scored the lowest. The loser, if you will. During the fMRI scan, he thought about his ex-girlfriend and their break-up, which absolutely devastated him. He scored the lowest. Yet at the end, he felt happy – ecstatic, even.
“The guy who lost…was probably the happiest of anyone; he realized he wasn’t in love with his ex-girlfriend,” Hoff told Wired. “He walks out of there with his arms raised, triumphant.”
So next time you’re thinking about tweeting something pissy or knocking down stacks of virtual birds, think about someone you love and just stay still.