Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Passionate Love, Rational Choices, Limbic Systems, & Cultural Scripts and Storylines


Price: $75 for OLLI Members    $95 for non-members

Dates & Time: Monday, Jan 22, 29; Feb 5 & 12   1:00 – 3:00

Class Type: Course, In-Person

Instructor: Linda Pulliam


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Course Description

When the world is beset with so many crises that demand our attention, why should we devote time to thinking about romantic love? In a highly rational and rationalized society, how can examining an emotional experience be of value? Answering these questions and refuting their assumptions is complicated by misunderstanding rationality and emotion as separate entities when we now have substantial evidence they are interdependent. Nor is love an entirely private experience but rather one that is influenced by society and culture.

Formerly the province of psychologists and therapists, the science of emotions has garnered attention from a wide array of disciplines. Love, grief, fear, anger, shame, and other feeling states are being explored from a wide range of perspectives, offering broader and more nuanced understandings of human nature. Yet love remains the most mysterious emotion of them all as well as the one people seek out.

This class will consider what scholars and writers from disparate fields have discovered about the experiences of “being in love” and “loving.” Some theories are polar opposites while others complement each other. But all of them provide frames for thinking about such questions as:

Is there a single satisfactory definition of love?

What exactly is a soulmate?

Can you find true love on the internet?

How can we get through the loss of a love either through death or divorce, and why is it so painful?

Is there a difference between “making love” and “having sex”?

Do love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage? (as the old song says.)

Are there gender differences in expressing one’s love?

What if we feel we have missed out on having true love, or regret that our choices didn’t live up to expectations?

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s an ideal time to consider the many different angles from which we can view love.  Whether you think romantic love was concocted by florists, chocolatiers, and Hallmark for people who still believe in the Tooth Fairy, or you enjoy giving and receiving romantic gestures from a loving partner (or would if you had one) or fall somewhere in the middle, this class is for you. For we are all experts and all learners in the mysteries of love.


Additional information

Course Term


Day of the Week



Linda J Pulliam EdD, PhD

Event Type


Event Details

Date: 2024-01-22

Start time: 01:00 p.m. PST

End time: 03:00 p.m. PST

Venue: In-Person


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