In honor of the Valentine’s season, we’ll explore the perennial question of the Art of Love against the backdrop of how the practice of NVC has contributed to and/or complicated the quality of our experiences with others (in other words, what factors have impacted your ‘LQ’ or ‘love quotient’ while cultivating the consciousness of Ahimsa, a.k.a. philanthropic love)…
Sunday, February 17, 2013 ~ Is Love an Art?
“Is love an art? Then it requires knowledge and effort.”
― Erich Fromm
“For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Jelaluddin Rumi
Fromm, E. (1957) The Art of Loving. Now marketed as a ‘classic of personal development’, this book is distinctive from most others that crowd personal growth shelves. Erich Fromm, a psychoanalyst and social theorist, inquires whether ‘love is an art?’ by examining its existence and its disintegration in contemporary western society. A final chapter explores the practice of love. See also: Erich Fromm – Selfishness and Self–Love
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
Can one person experience love more deeply than another? That’s what The Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging and filmmaker Brent Hoff set out to understand when they hosted the 1st Annual Love Competition. Seven contestants, ranging from 10 to 75 years of age, took part, read more…
In his Rhetoric, Aristotle defines the activity involved in philia (τὸ φιλεῖν) as:
“wanting for someone what one thinks good, for his sake and not for one’s own, and being inclined, so far as one can, to do such things for him”
Agápe is the love of the spirit; a universal love
|As MLK once said, “Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale.”|
Éros is euphoric love, passion touched by the beauty within — a force that inspires art and philosophy as well as lovers.
“As Venus within Eros does not really aim at pleasure, so Eros does not aim at happiness. We may think he does, but when he is brought to the test it proves otherwise… For it is the very mark of Eros that when he is in us we had rather share unhappiness with the Beloved than be happy on any other terms.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
We’ll explore how apprenticing to Nonviolent Communication has influenced our capacity to love in the context of the myriad of relational dynamics in which we move; for example, by using the skills of ‘self-connection’, ‘integrated honesty’ &/or ’empathic attunement’ during the dance of a conversation to bring our cortext (the more nurturing, communal ‘monkey mind’ or ‘higher porpoise’ depicted beneath) back online when we recognize that the more solitary/suvivalistic reptilian brain has been activated, whether in ourselves or another (See also: Dr. Daniel Siegel – “The Low Road” & Dr. Daniel Siegel on Emotional Intelligence and Mindsight).
Are you aware of when your buttons have been pushed?
“Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between the stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight. The capacity to create ourselves, based upon this freedom, is inseparable from consciousness or self-awareness.”
― Rollo May, The Courage to Create
Dr Daniel Siegel presenting
a Hand Model of the Brain
|“We exist in a bizarre combination of Stone Age emotions, medieval beliefs, and god-like technology.”|
Edward O. Wilson, 2008 (author of On Human Nature)
Our human brain contains the foundations of vertebrate brain evolution: our reptilian brain (our Lizard Legacy) and our paleo-mammal brain (our Furry L’il Mammal). Evolved later is our human rational brain, the neocortex (our Monkey Mind), and highly developed in the human are the prefrontal cortex or frontal lobes (our Higher Porpoise; higher purpose).
Drawing beneath courtesy of Nancy Margulies –
Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are only princesses waiting for us to act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence something that wants our love.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
“In the mid-1990s, a group of Italian neuroscientists were studying the premotor area of monkey’s cortext. They were using implanted electrodes to monitor individual neurons, and when the monkey ate a peanut, a certain electrode fired. No surprise there – that’s what they expected. But what happened next has changed the course of our insight into the mind. When the monkey simply watched one of the researchers eat a peanut, that same motor neuron fired…This mirror neuron system has since been identified in human beings and is now considered the root of empathy.” (See our page referencing Reptilian Brain & Mindsight)