Thursday, February 2, 2012

Occupy Solidarity

Occupy Solidarity

Beware of the Cuddle Monsters

Oxytocin was discovered by Sir Henry Dale in 1906. Dale realized that oxytocin could speed up labor by stimulating uterine contractions, and thus named it using the Greek words opus, for "swift," and tokos, for "birth."  

Oxytocin may also improve memory and learning, may someday be used as an antidepressant, and may even potentially serve as a weapon against Alzheimer's disease. 

Essentially, when exposed to oxytocin, our antistress systems are activated - our heartbeat slows; our body temperature rises, and time magically vanishes into thin air. 

Oxytocin is produced by the hypothalamus, and released by the pituitary gland into the bloodstream. It acts as a neurotransmitter that carries information across synapses, swaying emotions and behavior, promoting calming feelings and strengthening social bonds. Oxytocin is the endocrinological equivalent of candlelight, soft music and a glass of wine or a cup of warm, soothing coffee in the morning. No wonder oxytocin's been called the "cuddle hormone." 

Oxytocin in combination with endogenous opioid peptides are released during "maternal" interactions, which explains why we can forget about all the things we tell ourselves we need to be doing the moment we hug a child - or anyone - or anything, for that matter. 

No doubt, oxytocin is contagious because the moment we hug someone else, they seem to release it (oxytocin), too! 

I like to imagine the whole world going outside for one full-day to hug everyone they meet! People could also do this on Facebook and Twitter and My Sims! 

Conceivably, people everywhere could be hugging other people both inside and outside of their villages. People who live on the outskirts of communities, due to mere proximity, could be hugging people across the river who may be of different ethnic or religious faiths, who may speak different languages, or look different from them. 

Good oxytocin vibes would could literally travel through from one community to another until they reached everyone across the globe resulting in a Renaissance of Solidarity.  

This "cuddle hormone" has the power to inhibit the release of the stress hormones called glucocorticoids, which weaken the capacity of cells to survive traumas. Unleashing the potential of solidarity in our global community would conceivably evolve increased levels of oxytocin in our species' synapses that process information. This increase in human understanding could be harnessed into a heightened awareness that finally allows us to solve the world's most basic of problems (disease, famine, oppression). 

Stanford biologist Robert Sapolsky said that oxytocin might be Mother Nature's way of lending humanity a hand. 

Like I said...

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