Green Room

Who wrote the book of … micro-moment positivity resonance?

posted at 4:31 pm on January 24, 2013 by

Chapter one says you have positivity resonance … nah, bad meter.  But the answer to the headline is Barbara Frederickson, as Emily Esfahani Smith informs us.  Frederickson says not only does love not mean “you never have to say you’re sorry,” it doesn’t mean anything close to what most of us believe:

In her new book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, the psychologist Barbara Fredrickson offers a radically new conception of love.

Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presents scientific evidence to argue that love is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting, continually present emotion that sustains a marriage; it is not the yearning and passion that characterizes young love; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship.

Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with less likely candidates, like a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store. Louis Armstrong put it best in “It’s a Wonderful World” when he sang, “I see friends shaking hands, sayin ‘how do you do?’ / They’re really sayin’, ‘I love you.’”

Actually, I’d call it Love 3.0 or more.  The original visions of love weren’t the sappy, romantic, “there’s only one person in the whole wide world for me” emotions that popular culture sells nowadays, either.  It was an active, sacrificial commitment to others in one form or another, a much more permanent bond with eternal consequences.  True romance and passion should be the natural result of that love; what we experience in the beginning of dating relationships is infatuation and sexual attraction, not actual love as understood before the modern age confused it.  Those aren’t bad things in and of themselves, but a lot of people make themselves miserable by confusing them with real love, of either the eros or philos variety.

But I don’t mean to be Captain Buzzkill.  I’ll leave you with this thought.  Could Peter Frampton have had a monster hit with “Baby I Love Your Positivity Resonance”?  Before you answer, remember that this was the 1970s….

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It was an active, sacrificial commitment to others in one form or another, a much more permanent bond with eternal consequences. True romance and passion should be the natural result of that love; what we experience in the beginning of dating relationships is infatuation and sexual attraction, not actual love as understood before the modern age confused it. Those aren’t bad things in and of themselves, but a lot of people make themselves miserable by confusing them with real love, of either the eros or philos variety.

Yes, love in not an emotion, real love is an intellectual decision. It is the willful and intentional decision to place the welfare and well-being of another individual ahead of your own desires.

SWalker on January 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

I stopped reading there. Unc-CH is a cesspool of insane thoughts.

nobar on January 24, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Love is an attitude. And as any navigator will tell you, attitude is something you continually monitor and correct, so that you will stay on course. Love therefore is to be mindfully and willfully maintained, as you regard the beloved and set your course always toward and for her.

Scribbler on January 24, 2013 at 6:46 PM

In a healthy society, with a healthy economy, there would be no “researchers of positive emotions”, much less “leading” ones. They would starve. I wonder how much the U.S. taxpayer got soaked for the research grant on this one.

ROCnPhilly on January 25, 2013 at 7:42 AM