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Forward To Love

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

Forward To Love

(An excerpt from a speech delivered in Texas 1970 – and since.)

             If we are going to “love” together, it’s important that you know who I am and where I’m “at.” My name is B-U-S-C-A-G-L-I-A, and it’s pronounced like everything in the world. I always start by telling this story because I think it’s delightful. Recently I placed a long distance call, the line was busy, and the operator said she’d call me back. I gave her my name, waited a while, and then the phone rang. When I picked it up, she said, “Would you please tell Dr. Boxcar that his telephone call is through?” I said, “Could that be Buscaglia?” She giggled and said, “Sir, it could be damn near anything!”

              I have a wonderful time with my name because not only is it Buscaglia, but if you’ll look at it you’ll see that it’s also Leo F. Well, it’s really Leonardo, the middle initial is F., but that’s really the first name, and it’s Felice that means happiness. Isn’t that fantastic? Felice Leonardo Buscaglia! Recently I wanted to visit the Communist-block countries, and I needed a visa. I was in a large room in Los Angeles and filled out a very official form which I turned in. After which, I was asked to sit down and wait for my name to be called. When the time came, this poor man stood at his counter for a moment and looked at the form and I knew it was me he was going to call. He did sort of a double take, took a deep breath, looked up, and said, “Phyllis?” And I swear I’ll answer to anything, but Phyllis.

             Yes, I am in a “love bag,” and I’m not ashamed of it. I have one single message, and I can give you that now. Then you can lay the book aside, go for a walk and hold hands with someone or what you will.

              We are in a time in our society when we’re really beginning to look at what life is all about, what is learning of love, and what are the processes of change. We’re becoming acquainted with a new nomenclature. We’re looking at “conditioning,” we’re looking at “behavior shaping and modification,” reinforcement, that it is necessary to reinforce, that what is reinforced will probably affect behavior. We are using all kind of things to reinforce. We’re using money, we’re using candy. M & M’s have become the big thing, and when somebody gives the correct response, we pop an M & M into his mouth. My message to you today is simply that the best M & M in the world is a warm, pulsating, non-melting human being – YOU! Real love is a learned phenomenon for a human.

              About five years ago I started a love class at the University. I am – I’m teaching a class in love, and we are probably the only University in the country that does have such a class. It meets on Tuesday nights. We sit on the floor and relate, and I’m sure the vibrations are felt all over the world. I don’t teach love, of course, I simply facilitate growth in love.

             Love is a learned phenomenon, and I think the sociologists, the anthropologists, the psychologists, will tell us this with no hesitation. What worries me am that maybe many of us are not happy with the way we’ve learned it. As experienced human beings we must certainly believe in one thing more than anything else- we believe in change. And so, if you don’t like where you’re at in terms of love, you can change it, you can create a new scene. You can only give away what you have. That’s the miracle. you have love, you can give it. you don’t have it, you don’t have it to give. Actually it’s not really I even a matter of giving, is it? It’s a matter of sharing. Whatever I have I can share with you. I don’t lose, it because I still have it. For example, I could teach I every reader everything I know. I would still know everything I know. It is possible for me-and not unreasonable to love everyone with equal intensity and still have all the love energy I have ever had. There are a lot of miracles to being a human being, but this is one of the greatest miracles.

             Only recently has it become at all defensible to even mention the word “love.” Every time I go to speak somewhere, someone asks, “Will you talk about love?” I reply, “Sure,” and they say, “What’s your title?” I reply, “Let’s just call it ‘Love.’” There’s a brief hesitation, and then they say, “Well, you know, this is a professional meeting, and it may not be understood. What will the press say?” So I suggest “Affect as a Behavior Modifier,” and they agree that sounds more acceptable and scientific and everyone is happy.

             Love has really been ignored by the scientists. It’s amazing. My students and I did a study. We went through books in psychology. We went through books in sociology. We went through books in anthropology, and we were hard pressed to find even reference to the word “love.” This is shocking because it is something we all know that love recognizes need, something we’re all continually looking for, and yet there’s no class in it. It is also offer not apology, It’s just assumed that it comes to us by and through some mysterious life force.

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