This book is about love. What it is and what it isn't. It is about you - and about everybody who has ever reached out to touch the heart of another. Among many other lessons of the heart, Leo Buscaglia reminds us: Love is open arms. If you close your arms about love you will find that you are left holding only yourself.
Love Is a Learned Phenomenon
At the turn of too century a child was found, In the forests of a small village in Prance. The child had been abandoned for deed by his parents. By some miracle he did not die in the forest. He survived, not as a child, even though he was physically a human being, but rather as an animal. He walked on all fours, made hit home in a hole in the ground, had no meaningful language above an animal cry, knew no close relationships, cared about no one or nothing except survival.
Cases such as this - that of Kumala, the Indian girl, for instance - have been reported from the beginning of time. They have In common the fact that If man Is raised as an animal he will behave as an animal, for man "learns" to be human. Just as man learns to be s human being, so he learns to feel as a human being, to love as a human being.
Psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, anthropologists and educators have suggested in countless studies and numerous research papers that love is a "learned response, a learned emotion." How man learns to love seems to be directly related to his ability to learn, those in his environment who will teach him, as well as the type, extent and sophistication of his culture. Family structure, courtship practices, marriage laws, sex taboos, for instance, all vary according to where one lives. The mores and folkways involved in love, sex, marriage and the family are different, for instance, In Bali than they are in New York City. In Bali, for instance, the family structure is close; in Manhattan, it is loose and less structured. In Bali, marriage is polygamous; in Manhattan, at least for legal purposes, monogamous.
These facts concerning the effects of learning upon behavior appear self-evident when stated. Yet, they seem to have little, if any, effect upon the majority of people when applied to love. Moet of us continue to behave as though love is not learned but lies dormant in each human being and simply awaits some mystical age of awareness to emerge in full bloom. Many welt for this age forever. We seem to refuse to face the obvious fact that most of us spend our lives trying to find love, trying to live in it, and dying without ever truly discovering it
There are those who will dismiss love as a naive and romantic construct of our culture. Others will wax poetic and tell you that "love is ell" "love is the bird call and the glint in a young girl's eyes on a summer night." Some will be dogmatic and tell you emphatically that "God is Love." And some, according to their own unique experience, will tell us, "Love is a strong, emotional attachment to another..." etc. In some cases you will find that people have never thought of questioning love, much less defining it, and object violently even to the suggestion that they think about it To them love is not to be pondered, it is simply to be experienced. It is true that to some degree all of these statements are correct, but to assume that any one is best or all there is to love, is rather simple. So each man lives love in his limited fashion and does not seem to relate the resultant confusion and loneliness to this lack of knowledge about love.
If he desired to know about automobiles, he would, without question, study diligently about automobiles. If his wife desired to be a gourmet cook, she'd certainly study the art of cooking, perhaps even attend a cooking class.