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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 You Must Free
Yourself Of Labels

            In a previous section we discussed the import of words in the process of learning to love. We mentioned that words caused a permanent imprint, a freezing of reality, through which all future learning and perception would then be filtered. This filtering is a great hindrance to love. If your learning has caused an avoidance reaction to black men or Jews or the Mexican, or those with different manners from yours, a different dress, then your possibilities of loving these human beings will be minimized.

             Created words to free himself. He created language so that he could communicate himself to others and allow them to do the same. He intended words to help organize and record the wisdom of the past and dreams of the future. He found that words helped him in organizing his environment. But most of all, he used words to think with and to create. He developed language to free himself, never imagining that he would become a slave to language. He found that the very same labels he originated to merely stand for something soon had the power to become the thing itself. Man began to act as if the word was the thing. with names in hand, man assumed he had the 'thing' in hand. He inferred, therefore, that he could communicate it to others simply by using the label. therefor we say that the to love you must be free yourself of labels.. When he discussed a Frenchman, he supposed that all people had the same static picture of a Frenchman as he. This, of course, was not so and thus his ability to communicate began to break down. The label tricked man into becoming its slave and distanced him from other human beings. He never stopped to ask what he or others actually understood about another individual when he labeled him "Communist," "Catholic," "Republican," 'Jew." He did not bother to ask if the "communist" was also a good father, a gentle man, a dedicated teacher, a good human being, a warm lover, a pacifist, dreamer or a creator. The negative stimuli produced by the word, "communist," were enough to convince him he could "hate" the individual. So it went.

             I was a child, it was popular to call Italians "Dagos' and "Wops." We moved into a neighborhood which had never had an Italian family living among them. Immediately the label went to work. "Dagos are all members of the Mafia." "A Dago in the neighborhood will cause property values to go down." "The peace of the neighborhood is gone. Dagos are such boisterous, emotional people."

            For months we were ignored, though we tried to break down the barriers. We had been pushed aside, categorized. The connotation toward "Dagos" caused our neighbors to believe they knew us and be comfortable in rejecting us.

            What they didn't know about us was far greater and more significant than what they did know. They didn't know that mama was a singer and our house was always full of music.

            Mama, too, had great secret medical knowledge and while she was our physician none of the family was ever sick. Her treatments consisted mainly of two major remedies; "garlic," which was a general cure-all for daily use, and "polenta," which was scalding hot, thick mixture of corn flour and water, placed steaming hot on our chests when all else failed. The garlic was tied, rubbed and raw, in a small handkerchief around our necks each morning before school. Strangely enough, we were never ill. (I have developed a theory about this. With raw garlic on us, no one ever got close enough to pass on germs.) The polenta worked miracles, too, though I've never been able to figure out what pharmaceutical value it had. Perhaps it was the realization of the fact that whatever illness was present was minor compared to the second degree burns left by the steaming hot corn meal on our skin. These were already reason enough for neighbors not to exclude us. What better medical remedies could have been shared? What arias and operas will they never again have the opportunity to hear so superbly performed?

            Papa made wine which was fit for a Papal altar. He also demanded continual growth in the education of all of us. His favorite question, asked of each of us after every meal, was "well, what new thing did you learn today?" he was always eager to learn and continually concerned about his own education. We thought the wine superb. In fact, I was weaned on it. the practice of sharing new knowledge was not as appealing. When he was with us for dinner, the family was busy going through the encyclopedia looking for something new to teach papa, while he sat back, curled his moustache and sipped his wine. Our exclusive neighbors were missing this intellectual exchange and above all, the palatal delights of home-made "vino rosso."

            To be able to love one must control his linguistic environment, "defrost" all preconceived notions brought on by old word traps. Buckminster Fuller is said to have been so concerned with his being controlled by words that he spent two years, mostly alone, studying what words meant specifically to him. Only after a two-year period did he feel sufficiently free from language traps to use language as an agent for bringing things closer rather than pushing them away, for making language his tool.

            The effect of language on personality is now the science of psycholinguistics. They psycholinguist is repeatedly showing how language affects behavior. There are those who have created a positive linguistic environment. Their words are joyful, pleasant, reflective of the beautiful, reinforcing of the good. Others are controlled by negative words. their lives are made up of callous words, caustic, lifeless, dreary, tedious, depressing words, devoid of joy, unpleasant, reinforcing of the negative.

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