Why we should die from a broken heart. A guide.

Don’t worry, this isn’t some nefarious plan that ends up with you annihilated (although I’ll talk about nihilism) nor am I going to set the clear steps towards suicide (but if you suffer from a severe pathologic disorder then please, stop reading)....


Anastasia Osik

9 months ago | 3 min read

Don’t worry, this isn’t some nefarious plan that ends up with you annihilated (although I’ll talk about nihilism) nor am I going to set the clear steps towards suicide (but if you suffer from a severe pathologic disorder then please, stop reading). I won’t touch romance nor drama, I’m not a big fan of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. However I do believe that Shakespeare’s central philosophical beliefs around skepticism and the fiction/reality duality will lead to great discussions on the Narcissistic Personality Disorder or, any other kind of Borderline Personality Organization types.

I’ll talk about what’s on the other side of emotions, of consciousness, of our brains and whatnot of our heart.

The heart. I’d even put a capital H in the word heart, just so it can live up to our expectation, and by our I mean the human species. Matters of the heart can be traced to the Ancient Greek where biologist and philosopher Aristotle acknowledged its importance devoting the entire first part of his magnificent “De Partibus Animalium” to this little, fist-sized organ. Nonetheless the brain also played an important role, one might say that Aristotle found himself under the dichotomy of brain and heart. Between heuristic and hermeneutic knowledge. Methods versus interpretations. Yet, as evolved human beings we are still unable to isolate the importance of one or the other.

Right now I’d like to focus on our heart, just for this post. The Brain side of things will be tackled from the next post onwards, where I’ll dive deep into psychoanalysis and it’s companion neuroscience.

You can’t love someone more than you love yourself”, ironically proved to be true. We tend to spend more than a quarter of our lives trying to learn how to love ourselves, some are successful others aren’t. For the ones that fail, does this mean that you’ll never be able to love another human being?.

As a social species you get your value from what others feel for you or think of you, many would like to believe that everything is within us and our purpose as humans can be achieved by us for us. “Looking outside yourself for anything is the fundamental delusion”.This can’t be any more wrong. From the evolutionary perspective we survived thanks to the forming of groups of small “packs” where every member took care of each other, without this we would’ve not been able to face the dangers of nature. So your love for yourself comes, against our wishes, from the exterior.

If you think about it, we were made to intertwine with other beings since we were little and all of our actions had to be validated, in this case by our relative others. It is known that our infant period affects our adult behaviour through unconscious means, so it does not surprise me that we still search for exterior validation of our character. However you can’t entirely base your worth on what others say of you. Because this is like a black hole, it can suck you in, deep.

“Love isn’t enough”, but it’s enough to kill you. The solely act of dying because of a broken heart has a name originated in Japan in the 90s “takotsubo cardiomyopathy”. Not surprising at all, it is more likely to happen in women than in men and probably has its cause in the imbalances generated due to psychologically stressing environments. Many fascinating experiments have been carried out to see the extent of this phenomena. One that caught my interest is related to the increase of death among widowers (Parkes et al.). Impressingly, the study is performed on men even when it is so much more common among women. As a result from this analysis a group of men had been found to have an increase rate of mortality compared to happily married man of that same age. One of the causes is the increase of stress due to the loss of your relative other and hence, the deterioration of the quality of normal habitual daily activities.You end up dying from the feeling of dying (ironic, huh).

Dying from a broken heart at least means that you loved someone, you could die without experiencing love, it is thought to be much worse (Is it ?). Isn’t love the purpose of one’s life? Actually here I’ll just have to give a shoutout to the Darwinian evolution theory, but don’t worry we’ll tackle this subject eventually.

Aristotle could be twitching in his grave knowing that the irrationality in people’s feelings can lead to death.Didn’t the human species learn anything in this vast period of time ?Did we become much more sensible and feeling-attached?It is definitely not a rational occurrence to die from a broken heart which means that we are less a rational species than could be thought, leading again towards the initial dichotomy.


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Anastasia Osik

Aerospace engineer curious about psychology, neuroscience, human behavior and why we think how we think.







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