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Introduction
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Forward To Love
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Love As a Learned Phenomenon

Man Needs to Loved and Be Loved

A Questions of Definition

Love Knows No Age

Love Has Many Deterrents

To Love Other You Must First Love Yourself

To Love You Must Free Yourself Of Labels

Love Involves Responsibility

Love Recognizes Needs

Love Requires One to Be Strong

Love Offers No Apology


Introduction

            In the winter of 1969, an intelligent, sensitive female student of mine committed suicide. She was from a seemingly fine upper middle class family. Her grades were excellent. She was popular and sought after. On the particular day in January she drove her car along the cliffs of Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, left the motor running, walked to the edge of a deep cliff overlooking the sea and leaped to her death on the rocks below. She left no note, not a word of explanation. She was only twenty.

            I have never been able to forger her eyes; alert, alive, full of promise, I can even recall her papers and examinations which I always read with interest. I wrote on one of her papers which she never received. “A very fine paper. Perceptive, intelligent and sensitive. It indicates your ability to apply what you have learned to your ‘real’ ability to apply what you have learned to your ‘real’ life. Nice work!” What did I know about her “real” sex life?

            I often wonder what I would read in her eyes or her papers if I could see them now. But, as with so many people and situations in our life, we superficially experience them, they pass and can never again be experience in the same manner.

            I was not blaming myself for her death. I simply wondered what I might have done; if I could have, even momentarily, helped.

            It was this question of definition, more than anything else that led me, in that year, to start an experimental class. It was to be an informal group with voluntary attendance, where any student could be present or drop out at any time, if he so desired. It was to be dedicated to personal growth. I did not want it to become problem –centered or group psychotherapy nor an encounter group. I was an educator, not a psychotherapist. I wanted this class to be a unique experience in learning. I wanted it to have a definite, yet loose, framework and be of broad interest and import to the student. I wanted it to be related to his immediate experience. Students with whom I was relating were, more than ever, concerned with life, living sex, growth, responsibility of love, death, hope, the future. It was obvious that the only subject which encompassed, and was at the core of all these concerns and more, was love.

            I called the class, “Love Class.” I knew beforehand that I could not “teach” – in the formal sense- such a class. It would be presumptuous. I too was limited in my knowledge and experience of the subject. I was as actively engaged as any of my students in discovering what the real meanings of the word were. I would only be able to act as a facilitator to the students as we guided each other closer to an understanding of the delicate love as a learned phenomenon of human.

            My determination to start such a class was met with no resistance as long as it was taught free of salary and on my own time without load credit. Of course, a few eyebrows were raised by those who didn’t consider love a scholarly subject nor a serious part of a university curriculum.

                       

            I was highly amused in the ensuing weeks by the odd looks I received from some colleagues. One professor, in discussing my plans over lunch in the Faculty Center, called love and anyone who purported to teach it- “irrelevant!” Others asked mockingly and with a wild leer, if the class had a lab requirement and was I going to be the primary investigator.

            Nevertheless, student attendance at the class kept growing until we had to close enrollment with 100 students per year. Love know no age i.e.The students were of all ages, from freshmen to graduates, obviously of varying degrees of experience and sophistication. All were unique and, as such, had individual’s approaches to the subject and some special knowledge to share.

            This book is an outgrowth of “Love Class.” It is, as such, in no way intended to be a scholarly, deeply philosophical or definitive work on love. It’s rather a sharing of some of the practical and vital ideas, feelings and observations which emerged from the group that seemed to me relevant to the human condition. It might be said that the classes and I wrote this book together. I book may be said to have over 400 authors.

            We never attempted nor in three years were able to define love. We felt as we grew in love, that to define it would be to delimit it and love seemed infinite. As one student stated, “I find love much like a mirror. When I love another, he becomes my mirror and I become his, and reflecting in each other’s love we see infinity!”