Oxytocin is appearing so often in the media of late, and getting everybody from scientists to entrepreneurs excited, is because of the power it might have to change both individuals and perhaps even society itself. An easily manufactured, in fact naturally produced, substance that has the potential to make anyone who comes into contact with it more trusting of other people. A possible transformative cure for children blighted with autism or adult suffering the mental torture of social phobia, perhaps even conditions such as schizophrenia. On the other hand, the potential for misuse of such a drug hardly needs to be spelled out. When you consider the lengths and costs that politicians and businesses go to make the voter or consumer ‘trust them’, then you can already hear them itching to get their hands on this stuff.
On a wider scale, if oxytocin does indeed live up to its present hype, it could perhaps generate social and cultural change on a scale even greater than that reputably triggered by the widespread use amongst young people of the original ‘love drugs’, such as acid and LSD, in the 60’s. A drug that could be used by a nefarious government to placate and manipulate a docile population or something truly transformative and liberating that could turn society into a lasting version of what the flower people could only dream about in the ‘summer of love’..