Can Love Redeem the Sins of Jonah Lehrer?

David Brooks in The New York Times:

BrooksWe’ve all experienced the delicious madness when love first blooms — whether it happens in a bar, on a snowy street or when one person slips a hand into yours by a campfire. Your faces glow with that radiating aura. You marvel at the miraculous ways you are both the same! You’re up all night, sleepless, not eating. There are bursts of overflowing communication, and having crazy, silly fun in public. Every second apart produces an ache, and every minute together goes too fast. Your solar system has a new sun. For Jonah Lehrer, true love is not usually like this. In “A Book About Love” he argues that this wild first ecstasy feels true but is almost nothing. It’s just an infatuation, a chemical fiction that will fade with time. For Lehrer, love is more flannel pajamas than sexy lingerie; it is a steady attachment, not a divine fire. For Lehrer, attachment theory is the model that explains all kinds of love. Attachment theory was developed by researchers like John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth in the decades after World War II. The basic idea is that all of life is a series of daring explorations from a secure base. That secure base is established during the first years of life by having an attuned relationship with a parent. Most children are securely attached. Their parents mirrored their emotions and attended to their needs. They carry through life a mental model of how to establish reciprocal bonds. They can be brave and independent because they know how to be dependent on someone else.

But other children do not develop that attuned relationship early on. They carry avoidant, fearful or disorganized attachment models in their brains and are likely to have trouble bonding with others. The effects of early attachment styles reverberate. In one study, babies who had bad attachment patterns were nearly three times more likely to have chronic illness at age 32 than were securely attached babies. In the famous Grant study, done at Harvard, men who came from the most loving homes earned 50 percent more over the course of their careers than those from the unhappiest homes. They were much less likely to suffer from dementia in old age. As Lehrer writes, “Early attachment is more predictive of achievement than any other variable measured in the Grant study, including I.Q. scores.” Lehrer sees faith in God through the prism of attachment. Having an insecure attachment pattern in childhood nearly doubles the chance of having a sudden religious conversion as an adult. God is the ultimate secure base.

More here.