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Love

Love is empathy. The paradox about love is that you can feel another's sadness or joy as if it were your own, but at the same time you feel yourself as a separate person. Two hearts can beat as one, but they are still two individual hearts. The steps of embracing and letting go, of joining and separating is honored again and again.

Kathering Keating

 

Introduction

Love and Erich Fromm

The Importance of Love

Love and Education

Love or Education - What is more important?

Love and the Legal System

Love, Control, Fear, Freedom

Unconditional Love by Linda Silverman

Valentines Day


Core Topics

Respect | Empathy
Caring | Listening
Understanding

Free EQ for Everybody Book


Introduction

Today is October 9, 2005. I just realized I don't have a page on love.

I don't have a file called love.htm

Well, now I do. And I will write about love here.

I almost can't believe I have never started a page on love. It is so important. But I don't think I realized how important it was.

 
Love and Erich Fromm

I started reading the book "The Art of Love" again, by Erich Fromm. I read it a couple times in English. Fromm said some interesting things. He said we can't really love anyone till we love everyone. And we can't love anyone else if we don't love ourselves.

I am not sure about this. I think I can love some people and love myself without loving everyone. And I don't understand why it is necessary to love everyone, as Fromm says, but maybe he knows more than me.

Anyhow, even if we can't love all people, I think it is important to have some level of compassion for people for all people, even the ones that some would call "evil."

I think compassion is based on understanding, And understanding is based on knowledge of human emotional needs. And knowledge of how society fails to meet the human emotional needs.

I am sure, by the way, that we can do a better job of filling the emotional needs of young people so they are less "evil" by the time they are old enough to hurt someone.

Fromm also said that we know that love is important but still we don't study it and we don't try to improve our ability to love. I am not sure though, that we really do know love is important. Here are some of my thoughts on the importance of love.

Fromm is one of my favorite authors, by the way.

 

 

The Importance of love

It seems almost no one really talks about the true importance of love. And it seems love is not very important in the most basic social institutions. It seems almost everything else is more important. For example, is love important within the educational system? Is love important in the legal system?

I will probably write more about the importance of love, but I wanted to post this much because I don't know when I will be online again.

Love and Education

Does it matter how much two young people love each other when they are at schhol, for example when they are 17 or 18 and still in high school? What if they want to hold hands, hug, be in the same classes? Would it matter how much they were in love? What if the person they loved was in another school in the same city? Would the school authorities and allow one of them to change schools? What if someone didn't want to go to school one day because the person they loved was sick or had some problems? Would being with someone you loved be an acceptable reason for missing school?

Also, would it matter how much a person loved kids if they wanted to be a teacher? What would matter more to the people who hire teachers...iIf the person had a teaching certificate or if they loved kids and the kids loved them?

Later I will write about what is more useful in life: love or education.

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Here is something else my partner and I were talking about this morning. We were talking about how in most schools around the world they separate students according to their age. I was thinking about this the other day because here in Peru the children are so insecure, since their parents and teaches hit them, threaten them and punish them so much, that young siblings will often liteally cling to each other. It is common for two 8 year old cousins to walk hand in hand or arm in arm. But it wouldn't matter how much a brother and a sister loved each other or how much emotional support a child got from his or her brother, sister or cousin when it comes to assigning them to classrooms. This has absolutely no relevance at all in most schools. There are children all around the world who cry because they are separated from a family member, yet how important is this to those who control the schools?

Here is a story from Laura's family.

This is a story about what happened with Laura's nephew and niece, Hans and Josie. Hans was 5 years old and Josie was 4. Hans was already going to a pre-school when the parents decided to put Josie there too. But because she is a year younger, they put her in a different classroom. Laura had the job of making sure Josie got to school since their mother went off to work. The first day when Josie got to school and realized she was not going to be with her brother, she started to cry. The teacher invalidated her and said "Don't cry. Your brother is in the next classroom." Needless to say, this did not comfort Josie and she continued to cry. The teacher then tried to distract her by saying things like "Look at all the pretty colors in the classroom" and "Look at what fun the other students are having." But she just continued to cry.

The next day when Laura tried to get Josie ready for school Josie said, "I don't want to go! I don't want to go!" The grandmother said, "Leave her alone. She has to get used to it." Laura felt bad, but also felt obligated to take Josie to school. Josie cried again but Laura felt powerless to do anything to help. She walked away from the school feeling horrible.

Later in the week a teacher told Laura that Josie had gotten up and gone over to classroom where Hans was. Hans got a chair for her and she sat down next to him. Luckily, Hans' teacher was a little more understanding than Josie's, and she let Josie stay with her brother. She even went over to the other classroom and got some work for Josie to do. Hans then said, "I will help you with it" and began to help her. Then later when the teacher passed out lolipops, Hans gave his to his little sister.

At five years old little Hans showed he knew more about what was important in life than the teachers did.

Love or Education - What is more important?

The other day I asked some girls, around 9 years old, what is more important: love or education. Very quickly, they all responded "Love!" This reminded me that children often have better answers to my questions than adults. For example, when I ask children here in South America if Jesus would ever hit a child, they quickly say "no." And when I ask them if Jesus would ever wear a tie, they also say "no" without having to stop and think about it. Try this test yourself if you want and write to me with your results.

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This morning Laura and I were talking about this again. We were talking about the idea of going to a teacher's college and giving a presentation on the topic "What is more important, love or education?" Then Laura remembered what the little girls said. She told me how surprised she was. She said, "They didn't even have to think about it." But I wasn't surprised. I wasn't surprised because I have been asking questions like this to children for a while now. I think I started asking these kinds of questions about a year ago when I got to Peru and saw how messed up it is. I saw how the Peruvian adults think and I could see that their values and priorities are seriously out of harmony with nature and what is healthy for humans. So I started asking children questions like "What is more important.. " and "Do you think Jesus would...."

The children here are pretty much like children everywhere in the world. They are happy, friendly, cooperative, playful, helpful, eager to learn. Or at least the young children are. The longer they live in this country the less happy, friendly etc. they are. It doesn't take a PhD in psychology to see what is happening to the children here. You just have to look at their faces.

Children know that love is more important, but the adults tell them that education is more important. It is common for a father or mother to tell their daughter that they need to get their university degree first, then think about having a boyfriend. Yet nature prepares girls to be mothers when they are around 12 years old. And nearly everyone knows that males and females are sexually attracted to each other when they are in their teens. Yet the young people are told not to follow their inner nature, not to follow their hearts.

In talking to teenage females around the world I believe they also know what is important. They know that relationships and love and having a friend you can trust and confide in are important. But their teachers and parents tell them that grades are important. Peru is one of the worst countries I have ever seen, all the way around, but I have heard parents in many countries telling their teenagers that they are too young to know what love is and that they should study first, etc. etc. The more children I meet though, and the more people I meet with university degrees, the more I am convinced this thinking is not healthy for the world.

S. Hein
Nov 8, 2005

Here is a related story about the difference between young students and university students.


Here are more thoughts on love and education...

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I don't want to say that education is not important. I believe it is. But it depents what kind of education we are talking about. For example, here in Peru a student might have to study the history of Peru for 6 years. But is learning about the history of Peru really going to help someone be a better father or mother? Is it going to help a couple resolve a conflict? Is it going to help them be better listeners or learn how to show understanding when their partner is talking?

Erich Fromm seems to be right. We take love for granted. But I am pretty sure that teachers and school directors would get defensive if they heard me say that we should be teaching about love in school and that it was more important than the history of their country.

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Love, Control, Fear, Freedom

I think anyone who feels a lot of love doesn't feel the need for much control or power. I think the person who feels a lot of love wants others to be free and doesn't want them to feel controlled. Most of control seems to be based on fear, and I think anyone who feels a lot of love for other humans doesn't want others to feel afraid of them or anyone else.

Love and the Legal System

Here is something I wrote from Peru in 2005

When I think of taking my partner, Laura, with me to visit the USA, where it is now very hard to get visitors visas, I am reminded of how unimportant love is to the immigration officials and to the politicians who make the laws. If Laura and I were married and had a little piece of paper to prove it, it would be much easier for her to travel to the USA with me. It doesn't matter how much she loves me or how much I love her. What matters is whether we have a little piece of paper saying we are married.

And all around the world, if you fall in love with someone in one country where you are a visitor, the fact that you fell in love doesn't matter to the immigration officials. When your visa runs out you have to leave or try to get it extended some how. You can't legally stay in the country with the person you love unless you get some official approval. Being in love is not an acceptable reason to stay.

It doesn't matter how much you love them. Even if one individual person cared they would still have to follow the rules. You would be very lucky to find someone who would help you and do a special favor for you just because they believed that you were in love. The chances of anyone actually caring how much you were in love are so small it would hardly be worth mentioning.to anyone. They might even just laugh in your face. That is how important love is in the legal system.

It really seems that in the legal system, love is completely irrelevant.

What does this imply about our society?

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A difference in students

When I have gone to highschools in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Ecuador and Peru the students are almost always excited to have a foreigner come in. They smile, ask me questions, are eager to help me and show interest in me. But when I walk into a university campus, almost no one notices me. They are all too busy thinking about their tests.

One time in Madrid I visited a major university. As I was leaving the campus I was confused about the subway system and I was trying to figure out the subway map. All the university students just walked past me, even though it was obvious from the look on my face that I needed help. I finally asked someone and they helped me, but they weren't friendly, just factual. Then when I got on the subway system there were a lot of university students. Again I felt completely ignored, invisible. They were either talking to themselves or reading the university textbooks. If it would have been a group of highschool students, or primary school students, however, they would have all been much more curious about me and almost without doubt we would have started a conversation.

Around the world, the younger kids are typically the most friendly, helpful and curious. Next are the highschool students, and then the university students, who are the least friendly, helpful or interested in talking to someone new.