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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

Man Needs To Love And Be Loved

            It is true that in the last analysis each man stands alone. Love is also recognizes need No matter how many people surround him or how famous he may be, in the most significant moments of his life he'll most likely find himself alone. The moment of birth is an "alone" world, as is the moment of death. In between these most significant moments there is the aloneness of the moments of tears, moments of struggle for change, moments of decision. These are times when man is faced only with himself, for no one else can ever truly understand his tears, his striving, or the complex motivations behind his decisions. Most men remain essentially strangers, even to those who need to love them. Orestes was alone when he decided to kill Clytemnestra, his mother, the act that freed him. Hamlet was alone when he made the decision to avenge his father's death, the act that destroyed him and virtually all those about him. John Kennedy was alone when he made the famous Bay of Pigs decision, a decision which might have brought another great war upon the world. Most of us will never know the weight of such momentous aloneness, but each time we, too, make a decision, insignificant though it may seem, we are just as truly alone.

            The concept of aloneness becomes even more devastating when we equate "aloneness" with "loneliness." These, of course, are two radically different things. One can be alone and never feel loneliness and, conversely, one can be lonely even when he is among people. We have all experienced degrees of aloneness. They have not always been frightening. At times, we've found aloneness not only necessary but challenging, enlightening, even joyful. We've needed to be alone with ourselves to become re-acquainted with ourselves in the deepest sense. We've needed time to reflect, to tie loose ends together, to make meaning of confusion or simply to revel in dreams. We have found that we often do these things best alone. Albert Schweitzer stressed this poignantly in his comment that modern man is so much a part of a crowd that he is dying of a personal loneliness.

            Most men seem able to contend with the knowledge of being alone as a unique challenge. But they edge of being alone as a unique challenge. But they do not choose aloneness as a permanent state. Man is by nature a social being. He finds that he feels more comfortable in his aloneness to the degree to which he can volitionally be involved with be involved with others. He discovers that with each deep relationship he's brought closer to himself, that others help him to gain personal strength and this strength, in turn, makes it more possible for him to face his aloneness. So man strives consciously to reach out to others and bring them closer to himself. He does this to the degree to which he is able and to which he is accepted. The more he can ally himself to all things, even to death, the less fearful of isolation he becomes. For these reasons man created marriage, the family, communities, and most recently, communes , and some contend, even God.

            There seems to be accumulating evidence that there is actually an inborn need for this togetherness, this human interaction, this love. It seems that without these close ties with other human beings, a newborn infant, for example, can regress, developmentally, lose consciousness, fall into idiocy and die. He may do this even if he has a perfect physical environment, a superb diet, and hospital type hygiene. These do not seem to be enough for his continued physical and mental development. The infant mortality rate in well-equipped has been appalling. In the previous two decades, before an understanding of the import of human response on child development was accepted, the statistics of infant mortality in institutions were even more horrible. In 1915, for example, at a meeting of the American Pediatric Society, Dr. Henry Chapin reported a study of ten institutions for infants in the United States where every child under two years of age died! Other reports at the time were similar.

            Dr. Griffith Banning, in study of 800 Canadian children, reported that in a situation where children whose parents were divorced, dead or separated, and where a feeling of love and affection was lacking, this knowledge did far more damage to growth than caused by disease and was more serious than all others factors combined.

            Skeels, a noted psychologist and educator, reported recently on his most dramatic long-term study conducted on orphaned children where the only variable was human love and nurturing. One group of 12 children remained housed in an orphan-age. Each of 12 children, in a second group, was brought daily to be cared for and loved by an adolescent, retarded girl in an institution nearby. His findings have become classic in the literature. After over twenty years of study he has found that of those in Group I who remained in the institution, without person love, all were at present, if not dead, either in institutions for the mentally retarded or in institutions for the mentally ill. Of those in Group II, who received love and attention, all were self-supporting, most had graduated high school and all were happily married, with only one divorce. Startling statistics, indeed! there for we say that the love as a learned phenomenon.

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