The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.
– Victor Hugo
Language is often troubling, as can be seen in the literal meaning of common phrases: love is something you fall into, the tender trap; it is also something you make. In the West LOVE is sometimes described as a sort of flu of the heart but a flu that killed Tristan and Iseuld as weIl as Romeo and Juliet. Like flu, it is contagious. Teenagers, lovers, couples playing with each other’ s hearts can all experience the pain – just as with kids putting their fingers in the electric socket.
An extreme form of absurdity is to adopt the reductionist view that love is sex. The fact is that human love has many forms: affection, sex, tolerance, protection, companionship, fraternity, sisterhood, respect, compassion, admiration, dedication and worship. All of these attitudes generate positive interactions and are potentially huge sources of satisfaction. Many of them are crucial to maintaining cohesive groups and productive working environments.
Our inability to give or receive love hampers the quality of these interactions and the collectivity suffers from the sum of these accumulated failures.
The fight for survival of an individual may express itself in any form of competition or even in violence. In contrast, sensitivity for our fellow human beings, a sense of compassion, generosity and caring are needed for the collective survival of a community.
In the history of mankind, man is gradually learning to evolve and survive collectively, as apart of the whole. In a Darwinian sense, the fittest communities are those in which the heart, which cares for the whole, is alive to inspire the brain. This, by the way, was the authentic message of the great religious teachers. “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” This is an eminently social message. The qualities of the heart keep the family, the tribe or the clan together more effectively and deeply than force or fear.
Societies which could activate the primordial force of love are those that structure themselves to genuinely seek the greatest happiness for the greatest number.