“Fisher’s interview reminds me of an idea that I’ve been wanting to get out into the public realm for a long time: We need drugs that will keep people happily married. The cost of divorce and illegitimacy for society is terrible. In some societies marriage for child-rearing is becoming the exception. This means childen are less well cared for and they do not turn out as well in terms of educational attainment, crime rates, and general success in life. Split ups of households lower the living standards as it costs more to maintain two separate households.
If we accept the evolutionary psychology argument about why people fall in and out of love it seems to me that the problem is that humans have not been selected for to behave in a way most optimal for extended child-raising and this problem needs to be fixed pharmacologically. Everything from the declining strength of religious belief to the mass media portrayals of tempting objects of affections are reducing forces holding marriage together with tragic results.
We can not fix this problem with gene therapy because that is going to take a lot longer to develop. Many potential gene therapies will have to be done on fetuses and therefore their results will not be felt until the babies grow to be adults. Also, many people might oppose the idea of genetically engineering their children to be highly monogamous and faithful by nature But we might be able to keep people together with pharmaceuticals.
Take whatever biochemical state people have in the initial flush of love. Imagne being able to maintain that feeling for years with both partners agreeing to do so together. Imagine a drug which. if you took it while looking at a particular person, that person would, as a result, look very sexy to you. Think about how much happier everyone would be if they weren’t all walking around thinking that the grass looked greener on that unattainable other side of the river. Imagine that the sexiness of a lover never wore out or got old. A lot of married people would stay together a lot longer and long enough to raise kids to adulthood of they could use drugs to maintain their attraction to each other.
Science may eventually be able to produce the love potions of mythical stories and modern fantasy TV shows and movies. Love drugs could help prevent and reverse the decline of marriage. If this became possible the benefits would be substantial.”