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Love Paradigm What is love, and how do we experience it?

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Presentation on theme: "Love Paradigm What is love, and how do we experience it?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Love Paradigm What is love, and how do we experience it?

2 First, Consider the Earth from space. We maintain a delicate balance to sustain life. Slight changes even in the distance from the sun could eliminate life as we know it. Earth Alone

3 Life requires very specific conditions that are self-regulated and recycled in our closed system. Living Earth is a lonely outpost in the known universe, yet we are connected to everything else. Earth Isolated

4 So, now, what is Love? A progression of my thinking about the idea of love A progression of my thinking about the idea of love Started with a conversation about religion many years ago that put forward love as the only important feature of religion. Started with a conversation about religion many years ago that put forward love as the only important feature of religion. My undergraduate studies in psychology led me to discover the classic book “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm. This book revealed to me a new way to think about love – not as an emotion, but as an art. My undergraduate studies in psychology led me to discover the classic book “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm. This book revealed to me a new way to think about love – not as an emotion, but as an art. Writing “The Art of Convening: Authentic Engagement in Meetings, Gatherings, and Conversations” with Craig and Patricia Neal reminded me of Fromm’s work because The Art of Convening seemed like a perfect instrument to engage in one of the most important practices of love the Fromm recommended: meaningful conversation. Writing “The Art of Convening: Authentic Engagement in Meetings, Gatherings, and Conversations” with Craig and Patricia Neal reminded me of Fromm’s work because The Art of Convening seemed like a perfect instrument to engage in one of the most important practices of love the Fromm recommended: meaningful conversation. Taking some other literature about love and considering what Fromm’s “practices” actually accomplished, led me to think of love as an experience that is enhanced by being in a state of inner and outer balance. Taking some other literature about love and considering what Fromm’s “practices” actually accomplished, led me to think of love as an experience that is enhanced by being in a state of inner and outer balance. Further exposure to the concepts of the Standard Model in Physics and interviews with subjects claiming to have had a profound experience of love led me to think of love as the sub-atomic particles that everything in the universe is made from. Further exposure to the concepts of the Standard Model in Physics and interviews with subjects claiming to have had a profound experience of love led me to think of love as the sub-atomic particles that everything in the universe is made from.

5 Starting with Fromm In “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm In “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm Love is not a feeling or sentiment Love is not a feeling or sentiment Love is an art that requires knowledge and effort Love is an art that requires knowledge and effort 4 categories of practice that can increase our capacity to love are: 4 categories of practice that can increase our capacity to love are: Disciplined self-care Disciplined self-care Concentration, including meaningful conversation and deep listening Concentration, including meaningful conversation and deep listening Patience in the face of obstacles Patience in the face of obstacles “Supreme Care” – desire to increase our capacity to love. “Supreme Care” – desire to increase our capacity to love.

6 What is Love? Another book, “Love and Will” by Rollo May Another book, “Love and Will” by Rollo May Posits 4 kinds of Love (ancient and modern models) Posits 4 kinds of Love (ancient and modern models) Sex, lust or libido Sex, lust or libido Eros, drive to procreate, relationship Eros, drive to procreate, relationship Philia, friendship or brotherly love Philia, friendship or brotherly love Agape, devotion to the wellfare of others Agape, devotion to the wellfare of others When I considered these divisions, they didn’t seem to be consistent with the way that Fromm developed his thinking about love. I decided that these divisions, while accepted by many, were distractions from the way I was learning to understand love, but May’s work is quite interesting and probably useful in understanding some popular thinking on the subject. When I considered these divisions, they didn’t seem to be consistent with the way that Fromm developed his thinking about love. I decided that these divisions, while accepted by many, were distractions from the way I was learning to understand love, but May’s work is quite interesting and probably useful in understanding some popular thinking on the subject.

7 What is Love? When I read the article “Selfless Self-love” by Jan Bransen in the 2006 copy of Ethical Theory and Moral Practice When I read the article “Selfless Self-love” by Jan Bransen in the 2006 copy of Ethical Theory and Moral Practice It brought to mind the idea of love as being neither selfish nor selfless. This view counters many religious contexts that encourage a selfless model of love. It brought to mind the idea of love as being neither selfish nor selfless. This view counters many religious contexts that encourage a selfless model of love. Bransen viewed self-love as an extension of and necessary to the love of others. Real love would be the balance on a continuum between those two polarities. This suggested to me a vision of love as a state that was not only balanced on the selfless/selfish continuum, but existing as a state that was balanced between a number of polarized continuums.

8 What is Love? My developing Love Paradigm Theory My developing Love Paradigm Theory Considers that the capacity to love has to do with the ability to experience ourselves as one with another person, and ultimately one with everything that exists. Considers that the capacity to love has to do with the ability to experience ourselves as one with another person, and ultimately one with everything that exists. It requires a balanced state of being to achieve this ability. It requires a balanced state of being to achieve this ability. Self-reflection and knowledge help bring about this balanced state of being. Self-reflection and knowledge help bring about this balanced state of being. It is in this balanced state that we are able to connect with others in an experience of oneness. It is in this balanced state that we are able to connect with others in an experience of oneness. Certain practices enhance our likelihood of achieving and remaining in this state of balance that enhances our experience of oneness – which I assert is the experience of love. Certain practices enhance our likelihood of achieving and remaining in this state of balance that enhances our experience of oneness – which I assert is the experience of love.

9 Practices What, specifically, are those practices that can bring this balance? According to Fromm, some are: What, specifically, are those practices that can bring this balance? According to Fromm, some are: Meditation, prayer or quiet contemplation Meditation, prayer or quiet contemplation Disciplined habits of self-care Disciplined habits of self-care Meaningful conversation Meaningful conversation Deep listening Deep listening Patience in the face of slow progress Patience in the face of slow progress Desire to increase our capacity to love, to improve ourselves Desire to increase our capacity to love, to improve ourselves So, the love paradigm looks something like… So, the love paradigm looks something like…

10 Neither selfish nor selfless Love Paradigm Model

11 A Model of Love Neither chaotic nor regimented Love Paradigm Model

12 A Model of Love Neither passive nor aggressive Love Paradigm Model

13 A Model of Love The capacity for love dwells in a place of balance. Love Paradigm Model

14 A Model of Love And it is from this capacity to love that we can connect to others in an experience of oneness. Love Paradigm Model

15 Love Paradigm Theory in a Nutshell Life itself requires specific conditions that are delicately balanced to support it. Life itself requires specific conditions that are delicately balanced to support it. Likewise, an ability to experience love, or the connectedness of all things - a state of being in love - requires a delicate balance within ourselves. Likewise, an ability to experience love, or the connectedness of all things - a state of being in love - requires a delicate balance within ourselves. In order to achieve that balance we can engage in enhancing practices like meditation, disciplined self-care, deep listening and meaningful conversation. In order to achieve that balance we can engage in enhancing practices like meditation, disciplined self-care, deep listening and meaningful conversation. We increase our capacity to experience love by doing these things whether we intend to increase it or not. We increase our capacity to experience love by doing these things whether we intend to increase it or not.

16 Theme of Study Description Part 1: Development of a cogent definition of love as a way of being and practices/exercises that can be used to achieve that way of being. Part 1: Development of a cogent definition of love as a way of being and practices/exercises that can be used to achieve that way of being. Part 2: How might the practices used to achieve a way of being “within love” affect movements for positive social change. Part 2: How might the practices used to achieve a way of being “within love” affect movements for positive social change. Disciplines examined: Disciplines examined: Psychology Psychology Philosophy Philosophy Religion (religious studies) Religion (religious studies) Biology (effects of certain practices on brain function) Biology (effects of certain practices on brain function) Rhetoric (Words and dialogue as practice of love) Rhetoric (Words and dialogue as practice of love) Literature (Meaningful story, myth and entertainment exemplifying love) Literature (Meaningful story, myth and entertainment exemplifying love) Physics (What could the Standard Model have to do with love?) Physics (What could the Standard Model have to do with love?)

17 Some Reading A Sampling of Readings A Sampling of Readings The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm ( ) is central to my thinking The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm ( ) is central to my thinking Psychologist, philosopher, humanist taught at Columbia, Yale, and New York University. Author of many other books, including Escape from Freedom, Man for Himself, The Heart of Man. Psychologist, philosopher, humanist taught at Columbia, Yale, and New York University. Author of many other books, including Escape from Freedom, Man for Himself, The Heart of Man. I And Thou by Martin Buber ( ) I And Thou by Martin Buber ( ) Love and Will by Rollo May ( ) Love and Will by Rollo May ( ) The Psychology of Meditation, 1987, anthology edited by Michael A. West, Research fellow at University of Sheffield The Psychology of Meditation, 1987, anthology edited by Michael A. West, Research fellow at University of Sheffield

18 Closing Summary Love is a big subject. I have tried to develop the Love Paradigm Theory to narrow the scope of my investigation and define my terms. Love is a big subject. I have tried to develop the Love Paradigm Theory to narrow the scope of my investigation and define my terms. The experience of love, according to the Love Paradigm model, is the experience of oneness with another person or, ultimately, with the universe. The experience of love, according to the Love Paradigm model, is the experience of oneness with another person or, ultimately, with the universe. For a person of imagination, the rationale for my study could be extended almost infinitely, so part of the challenge I face is to work within natural or imposed boundaries. For a person of imagination, the rationale for my study could be extended almost infinitely, so part of the challenge I face is to work within natural or imposed boundaries.

19 Why does this matter? Perhaps the network created by the experience of love is a way in which we may strengthen and enhance our experience of life itself. A Final “Why?”


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