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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

To Love Other You Must
First Love Yourself

            To love others you must love yourself. We have already started several times that you can only give to others what you have yourself. This is especially true of love. You cannot give what you have not learned and experienced. Since love is not a thing, it is not lost when given. You can offer your love completely to hundreds of people and still retain the same love you had originally. It is like knowledge. The wise man can teach all he knows ad when he's through he'll still know all that he has taught. But first he must have the knowledge. Love is a learned phenomenon it can be share. It would better be said that man "shares" love, as he "shares" knowledge but he can only share what he possesses.

            Loving oneself does not imply an ego-centered reality like the old witch in Snow White who reveled in the process of gazing into her mirror and asking, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all." Loving oneself does mean a genuine interest, caring, concern and respect for oneself. To care about oneself is basic to love. Man loves himself when he sees himself with accuracy, genuinely appreciates what he sees, but is especially excited and challenged with the prospect of what he can become.

            Each man is unique and it need to be loved. Nature abhors sameness. Each flower in the field is different, each blade of grass. Have you ever seen two roses alike, even among the same variety? No two faces are exactly alike, even in identical twins. Our fingerprints are so singularly ours that we can be positively identified by them. But man is a strange creature. Diversity frightens him. instead of accepting the challenge, the joy, the wonder of variation, he usually is frightened of it. He either moves away from or endeavors to twist uniqueness into sameness. Only then does he feel secure.

            Each child born is an unmarked creation, a new combination of wonder. In general, his human anatomy is similar to others, but on a subtle level even how his anatomy functions will vary with each individual. His personality development seems to have common elements which affect it; heredity, environment, chance. But there is surely an additional element, not yet scientifically identifiable , which can be called the "X" factor of personality, that special combination of forces which act upon the individual so that he will receive from birth will not afford him the freedom to discover and develop this uniqueness.

            As we have indicated previously, the true functions of a child's education should be the process of helping him to discover his uniqueness, aiding him toward its development and teaching him how to share it with others. Rather, education is an "imposition" of what is called "reality" upon the child. Society, on the other hand, should be the agent through which his uniqueness is shared, for it is in dire need of fresh, new approaches to individuals and group living. But society has the idea that what has been for centuries, even if it has not proven true, is the best way. This fallacy, if adhered to leads individuality to its doom.

            Each child offers a new hope for the world. But this thought apparently frightens most people. What would society be like made up of all "individuals?" Would it not be unruly and lead to anarchy? We recoil in horror at this thought. We feel more comfortable with a "silent majority." We distrust and suspect "oddballs." The family must make the child "fit" into the societal scheme of thing. Education is afforded a similar role. It is most successful when it maintain the status quo, when it makes what we call "good citizens." The definition of a "good citizen" is usually one who "thinks, behaves and responds like everyone else." Educators also feel that there is an essential body of knowledge which it is their duty to implant in each child. Their defense of this is that they are teaching "the wisdom of the ages."

            To love oneself is to struggle to rediscover and maintain your uniqueness. It is understanding and appreciating the idea that you will be the only you to ever live upon this earth, that when you die so will all of your fantastic possibilities. It is the realization that even you are not totally aware of the wonders which lie dormant within yourself. Herbert Otto says only about 5 percent of our human potential is realized in our lifetime. Margaret Mead has hypothesized that 4 percent is discovered. What of the other 95 percent?

            The psychiatrist R.D. Laing, has written: "We think much less than what we know, we know much less than what we love, we love much less than what there is, and to this precise extent we are much less than what we are!"

            There is a you, lying dormant. A potential within you to be realized. It does not matter whether you have an intelligence quotient of 60 or 160, there is more of you than what you are presently aware of. Perhaps the only peace and joy in like lies in the pursuit of and the development of this potential. It's doubtful that one will realize all of his 'self" in a lifetime even if his every moment were dedicated to it.

            Goethe has Faust discover this when he says, "If on this earth one moment of peace could I find, then unto that moment would I say, 'Linger awhile, so fair thou art.'" If he rests from his searches even for a brief moment, he is courting the devil, for there can be no peace in man's struggle to become. The Gospel of St. John tells us that our house has many rooms, each with its own wonders to disclose. How can we be content to let spiders, rats, decay and death take over our house?

            What may be is always potential for discovery. It's never too late. This knowledge should give man his greatest challenge- the pursuit of self- his own personal odyssey; discovering his room and putting them in order. It should challenge him not only to be a good person, a loving person, a feeling person, an intelligent person, but the best, most loving, feeling, intelligent person he is capable of. His search is not in competition with anyone else's. he becomes his own personal challenge.

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