Synopsis: Making very good, helpful, interesting and possibly fun-filled use of your time while socially isolated alone or together by searching into more of the many ways love knowledge is being discovered and spread is the topic of this mini-love-lesson. It also presents some pretty intriguing sources for the more engaged, deeper, probing students of love and love related topics.
Useful Fun Time Learning?Might this be a good time for you, or you and yours together, to learn more about love? There is so much that is new and wonderful being discovered concerning love and all the great things it does for us. Exciting research into healing love, parent-child love, altruistic love, lasting couples love, love and the brain sciences and hundreds of other “loveology” topics are opening up for meaningful investigation. They are revealing amazing and highly useful love knowledge we all can use. At same time, other efforts are working to spread the ancient truths of love taught by various great teachers and wisdom masters of the world’s diverse cultures, societies and religions. This is making a fresh, possible, worldwide integration of love understandings and the many ways to go about doing love well.
Love knowledge is starting to be applied in areas of life where healthy, real, love ideas and concepts were seldom applied before. Take for example, how concepts of healthful love are beginning to be introduced into politics. This is evidenced by the love platform candidate, Marianne Williamson, who made it all the way to several of the US, nation wide TV, Democratic Party presidential debates. Politically minded people also are increasingly reading about politics and love, as in books like Love and Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer and A Politics of Love by Marianne Williamson.
The Pandemic: A Forced Opportunity for Love LearningThe 2020 pandemic is forcing us to learn how to do love in spite of isolation and safe living rules about do not touch and stay apart. Some are adapting to the new challenges and requirements and some are not, or are not yet. Far too many are becoming increasingly lonely, depressed and essentially love-malnourished or even love-starved. Thus, we all are challenged to find fresh ways to love one another as we love ourselves through this worldwide crisis (see “Isolated and Doing Love Anyway”).
If you are one of the millions who really enjoy learning, this can be a good time for you in that way. You can use it for learning about the ever widening, fascinating and fun-filled world of growing love knowledge, hopefully like you are right now. However, there are a couple of caveats. As you may already know, you may have to wade through a lot of fact-free nonsense, misleading falsehoods and useless puff stuff about love to find the good stuff. Then I suggest discussing what you are learning and thinking about love with others. As you do this, maybe you will discover some blocks to learning about love in yourself or in others.
Getting Past the Blocks to Love LearningLearning about love is probably not as easy as it should be. There is a lot in the way. First, of all, as the Buddhist Sage, Thich Nhat Hanh, points out, the word love itself is sick and in need of rehabilitation. It is often used in frivolous, inconsequential and trivialized ways such as in “I love that food, hat, tune or whatever”. At other times it is synonymous with loveless sex. There are those such as forensic specialists that see love as something that is all too often possessive, jealous, insane and essentially as a dangerous, destructive and even deadly force in life. A multitude of others do not look deeply into love because they see it as only a romantic myth, and/or a made up fantasy entity of no actual substance or consequence. For others it is just too confusing and indefinite to even try to become current, or up-to-date about.
Some dismiss the importance of love in ordinary human life as too contaminated, earthly, profane and common. For them, the word Love is worthwhile only when used in a holy, religious context. There are other blocks to learning about love too numerous to discuss here. Even with all that to get past, finding material on healthy, real love and its dynamics proves to be well worthwhile, but of course I am biased about the subject (see “Is Love Ignorance the Problem?”).
Until rather recently, psychiatry, psychology and even marriage and family therapy have had only a little to say about healthy, real love. In the behavioral sciences love often has been seen as a pathology, a sub-topic of sexuality or only as being about shallow, sophomoric romance. I find it interesting that it took an animal, comparative experimental, laboratory-oriented psychologist studying monkeys (Harry Harlow) to get the general field of psychology to pay any useful attention to love itself. Now, the newer field of positive psychology offers love a real place in behavioral science. Much of the best knowledge about love has come from child psychology and before that pediatric medicine.
The importance of love started to be seen by scientists with the early 1900s discovery that infants physically died when they did not receive love conveying actions, even though they were otherwise well taken care of, fed, clothed, etc. Harlow discovered the same thing for monkey babies in the 50s. There really is a fascinating history of love discoveries to learn about if you have a mind to search for it. You might enjoy reading Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection by Deborah Blum. For dramatic, engaged and intrigued learning about the early struggles for a science of love, I recommend The Practice of Love by Ashley Montagu.
The media and the Internet offer a plethora of, in my opinion, juvenile and irrelevant mishmash on love, mixed with the occasional jewel of worthwhile, usable and sometimes even inspiring information about love. Intriguingly, it is Russia that seems to be the country where love is being taken most seriously. It is there that loveology is an authorized, natural science complete with research grants and advanced degree programs (see “Is There Really a New Field Called Loveology?”).
In spite of all the blocks, you can find, with some effort, very useful, enjoyable to learn sources about healthy, real love and how to do it well if you look for it. Naturally, I recommend this site for doing just that, but as I have said I am biased and probably prejudiced and opinionated too.
To Learn Love, Get Yourself to Read and Talk More about Love!Look for some good books to read about love. Remember, the latest book is seldom the best book on any topic so look for some of the older ones as you search. The Art of Loving by Eric Fromm is still one of the best for many people. A more recent one, Teachings on Love by the renowned Buddhist sage, Thich Nanh Hanh, has a lot to offer. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman helps a lot of people with couples love, although there are more than five major ways to convey love according to the research. Of course, for those seeking to recover from or avoid love problems I honestly and heartily recommend our contributions Recovering Love and Real Love, False Love. Perhaps easiest and quickest is to keep picking entries from this sites over 250 mini-love-lessons. Some readers pick One-A-Day and report getting a lot out of that approach. The real point is to keep seeking and gathering input about love so that your outgo about love is always fresh and growing (see “How Love Works - 7 Basics”).
With what you read while isolated, talk to others via phone, Skype, Zoom and other similar services. Bring up love and love topics seeing what others think and, in the process, developing your own thoughts further. If you are isolated or mostly isolated together with a Love Mate or family or friends, etc., you can learn and talk together discussing the many aspects of love as you learn about them. For many, this is great way to develop your own understanding much further. Some make agreements to read the same material and at regular, preset times talk about it in an online, book club fashion (see “Learning about Love - Together”).
Using whatever degree of social isolation you are practicing, you may utilize that time to ready your love abilities for a freer future. In the meantime, you can increase your love knowledge about a great many love related things, perhaps starting with protective love as it relates to healthy self-love, family love, mate love and other love.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Love Success Question: In this pandemic time, who are you going to tell two or three things about what you are doing by way of protective, healthy self-love and for self nurturing -followed by asking them about what they are doing?