This is another question that has fascinated me for years. Research, both scientific and otherwise, details with great intricacy the various tear types, (there are three apparently), and the multitude of reasons why we do. There are many:- attracting attention, showing vulnerability and the reaction to emotion initiated by our nervous system.
The thing is though, it still doesn’t explain to me, why, or what is happening when we do. It’s interesting the visual impact of crying, and the fact that crocodile tears comes from the ancient belief that crocodiles used to cry to lure their pray. But to me, this still doesn’t explain what is happening when we cry, and I don’t think it can’t just be for visual stimuli either. Just because we now interpret tears as sadness, vulnerability etc doesn’t necessarily mean that is what we cry for.
It would be like saying we have teeth to smile. No, we don’t, we have teeth to eat. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors would show their teeth as a sign of anger, a sign of defiance, to warn of an impending fight, to scare an adversary. Now, showing teeth means something completely different. People have gone to great lengths to keep their teeth nice to show them for a totally opposed reason. They are showing happiness, approval, and health.
So, everything the body does is for a reason, and I don’t believe we just cry for our own superficial ends. I believe something else is going on.
Think of the brain, and the chemicals within. We know that chemicals are released inside the brain for various reasons and at various times. We know the brain contains numerous chemicals and keeping this balance is very important to our mental health.
What else could these tears be? Well, omitting the ones we fake and concentrating on the ones we produce when we really are sad, angry, or happy, I think the brain is performing a ‘chemical wash’.
Now, once you’ve stopped laughing, think about it. The thoughts we have, the emotions, stimulates the neurotransmitters in our brains. Chemicals must be produced, or distributed in accordance with these fired transmitters or because of them. The brain is then in a state of flux, it has lost its balance, and it will need to restore it. How would be the best way to do this? Perhaps water could be used?
I strongly believe, the tears we see streaming from someone’s tear glands are either the second phase of a process, or a continuation of a process already started elsewhere.
In summary, I think we cry to create a ‘chemical wash’, to clear the other chemicals released in the brain as a result of one of the aforementioned triggers. We do it to restore balance and equilibrium to the brain so it can carry on doing what it does so brilliantly.
Please, Prove I’m Wrong