May 24, 2014
Prevent Heartbreak With Anti-Love Drugs

Some existing drugs reduce various components of romantic attraction.

Instead of comforting a friend after a break up with ice cream and a movie, bioethicist Brian D. Earp foresees the possibility of an anti-love drug, which could nip those regretful feelings in the bud.

Imagine being able to turn down lust, obsession, or attachment with a pill.

But what can be suppressed and also be stoked. Turning on the genes for vasopressin and oxytocin receptors cause prairie voles to form a lasting bond. Some day we'll have the biotechnology to turn up lust, attachment, and obsessive thoughts.

Imagine where this could lead. A guy could kidnap the woman of his desire, inject drugs or gene therapy, and then force her to stare at him. After a while the woman will develop an obsession and wont want to leave.

If we reach the point where a person's preferences, attachments, and loyalties are susceptible to reprogramming religious cults and harems will be built up using biotechnology. Dictators will use biotech to create loyal servants.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2014 May 24 10:22 PM 


Comments
Kudzu Bob said at May 25, 2014 11:43 AM:

Imagine where this could lead. A guy could kidnap the woman of his desire, inject drugs or gene therapy, and then force her to stare at him. After a while the woman will develop an obsession and wont want to leave.

Any lovelorn biohacker contemplating such a strategy definitely should read this John Collier short story beforehand.

Kronos said at May 26, 2014 7:50 AM:

*A guy could kidnap the woman of his desire, inject drugs or gene therapy, and then force her to stare at him. After a while the woman will develop an obsession and wont want to leave.*

This would be true if humans were mere animals. But as many former drug addicts have demonstrated, it is possible to defy everything your brain is telling you and choose a different path.

David Friedman said at May 26, 2014 9:39 AM:

For my take on these issues (in _Future Imperfect_) see:

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Future_Imperfect/Chapter16.html

Brett Bellmore said at May 26, 2014 9:50 AM:

I suppose a drug which eliminated feelings of love would be very useful for reducing the suicide rate after divorce. Which is to say, most suicides in this country...

Ronald Brak said at May 27, 2014 7:46 PM:

Brett, less than half the people who commit suicide in the United States have been divorced one or more times.

coolball said at May 27, 2014 9:48 PM:

"But as many former drug addicts have demonstrated, it is possible to defy everything your brain is telling you and choose a different path. "

Up to a point. If memory and personality is modified aptly, and if love is generated stronger than any known drug, there won't be any escaping it.

Matt said at June 1, 2014 5:16 PM:

I could use some of these right now :-(

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