I was interested to read an article in the New York Times recently. An American journalist, Mandy Len Catron put a technique created by psychologist Dr. Arthur Aron to the test. In short his theory and evidence proved that if a couple stared into each others eyes for exactly four minutes the result would be that the couple would fall in love.
Catron said ‘Staring into someones eyes for four minutes was one of the most thrilling and terrifying experiences in my life’. Prior to this ‘staring’ thirty six seemingly trivial questions were asked to one another. Ultimately Aron’s theory was proven and Catron did indeed fall in love.
I want to take this one step further. In a world were one in four of us suffer mental illness at one point in our lives, my question is if we were to look into our own eyes for four minutes would it be possible to fall in love with ourself, thus potentially stripping us of self loathing, low self esteem, insecurities and anxieties? Self loathing and a lack of self love is one of the key factors of our unhappiness and unrest.
Surely if Arons theory works with two separate individuals it could feasibly be possible to apply this on yourself? By looking deeply through the ‘windows of our soul’ could we fall in love with ourself? Would experiencing completely true self love give us happiness and contentment? With regards to the thirty six questions, (which to me are fairly basic first date questions albeit obviously revealing and personal, therefore ones that you might say after your third tequila) perhaps if we asked ourselves these questions and answered them honestly, void of self judgment and truly accepting followed by the ‘staring’ I wonder if the outcome would be parallel to the original experiment. One could argue a similar questionnaire could be used i.e. The Proust Questionaire.
I have to admit personally I would be a bit relunctant to do this test on myself. Staring into my own eyes freaks me out a little bit, it seems to trigger an ‘out of body’ experience and unnerves me, but maybe I didn’t look for long enough. Maybe I need to push past that wall and reach a point where body meets soul again, and maybe, just maybe they might see each other in another light?
Our constant hunger for materialistic satisfaction could arguably be a substitute for the lack of fulfillment and contentment we feel within ourselves. Religion has dictated that ‘love’ is the key to happiness and contentment and self help books have dictated ‘if we don’t love ourselves how can we expect others to love us?’. Our minds are a melting pot of ego (and Id and Super Ego of course, if you’re Freud fans) in varying degrees, each pot a different recipe, all the ingredients affecting us in different ways. We are obsessed with the idea that our lives and experiences shape us and dictate our decisions, but in fact it just boils down to neuro science. Our brains run us. They decide why and how we look at things and think in certain ways.
I digress I little. Coming back to Arons experiment, I also have another question. What if you couldn’t see the sex of the other person? If essentially the subjects are looking into each others eyes and asking questions, if the gender could not be depicted would or could the subjects still fall in love? Obviously voice would be an issue, so maybe the voice could be disguised some way. I’m over complicating, but you get the jist.
In a world where the lines of sexuality are becoming increasingly blurred and pansexuality, gender blindness, ‘fluidity’, etc, whatever new term is being coined, is on the increase, could this or a version of this experiment encourage further diminishment of homophobia or social sexual barriers. I wonder if once the gender of the subject was revealed, depending on your sexuality, if the connection would still remain or bias or core beliefs would win out?..
This is really interesting and wonderful experiment created by Love Has No Labels.
‘Before anything else, we are all human. It’s time to embrace diversity. Let’s put aside labels in the name of love’ – Love Has No Labels
Another version of this blog can be found here