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#1 from 2016: The neglected universal force for peace and stability: LOVE?

Leszek J. Sibilski's picture
2016 Summer Session students, Montgomery College

Our Top Ten blog posts by readership in 2016. This post was originally published on January 8, 2016. 

“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”– Albert Einstein
 
When I present lectures on sociological theories, I often see in my students’ bored facial expressions indicating a total lack of interest in the subject. But, when I move the lecture to issues related to education, social class, or global stratification, I can see a few faces turning into a full attention mode, but still not all the students are with me. However, there is one topic that will cause the entire class to lay down their e-devices and start to listen to every word: that is the topic of LOVE. Love strikes me as a neglected force that, once released, could bring about international stability and boost economic development.
 
Love emerges in my lectures for its role in interpersonal relations in socialization and development. I begin my lecture with a discussion about the role of family in social development and then move towards marriage and, more broadly, love. The topic family frequently triggers strong emotional reactions among students. As classroom discussions reveal many have experienced some family difficulty or problems. And then comes the topic of love: each time when I talk about love, I can see melting facial expressions in each of my students. The purpose of the lecture is not only focused on romantic teenage love based on hormones and erotic attraction. In the Bible, in the Gospel of John, Chapter 15:13 “The Greatest Social Worker Ever” says, “Greater love has no one than this – that someone lay down his life for his friends.” I always substantiate this quote with a compelling story about the Polish Franciscan Maximilian Kolbe who volunteered to die by starvation in place of a stranger in the Nazis’ death camp of Auschwitz. Pope John Paul II declared him "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century." All of sudden, gender, complexion or ethnicity no longer matter. Neither does religion, age or sexual orientation. When I see students’ reaction to my lecture on love in everyday life, I get chills down my spine and goose bumps all over my body.
 
Watching the reactions of my students, I have become deeply convinced that love is not only a universal force for good, but one that also brings to the human heart hope and peace for a better tomorrow. When humans are in love, they can selflessly endure more- since love, like ray of hope, stimulates them to persevere. Hopefulness too, encourages us to explore, build, innovate and thrive, but it all starts with love. 
 
Recently, while surfing the Internet I came across a very interesting blog with very uplifting excerpts from one of Albert Einstein's letters to his first daughter, Lieserl, on love as a universal force. My initial reaction was enthusiastic. Finally, (I thought) I won’t be alone anymore when talking about love to my students, but on second thought I knew that I needed to thoroughly verify the authenticity of this letter, as the value of the content was priceless. Here are some excerpts:

Albert Einstein"… When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us.
This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force.
Love is Light that enlightens those who give and receive it.
Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others.
Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals.
For love we live and die.
Love is God and God is Love.
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation.
If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! …" 
 
Unfortunately, after digging deeper on the Internet my “googling” results revealed that the physicist did not write the letter, but an anonymous person did who still remains unknown. Before launching a full-fledged investigation, I read several on-line comments strongly indicating that humankind desperately pursues signs of affirmation related to love. Einstein's letter was skillfully and thoughtfully drafted to serve the purpose for all who crave this powerful virtue. I must admit, I found the fact that Einstein was not the author to be very disappointing. Unquestionably, my classroom arguments on love would come across more convincingly. Nevertheless, I have found one consolation providing evidence that I was not alone in my examination of Einstein’s alleged ‘love’ letter. In fact, many people sought to dig up the truth about Einstein's letter on ‘love’ as universal force.
 
One expert put the speculation to rest. Diana Kormos-Buchwald, a professor of physics and the history of science at the California Institute of Technology and a director and editor of the Einstein Papers Project authoritatively stated: "This document is not by Einstein. The family letters donated to the Hebrew University - referred to in this rumor - were not given by Lieserl. They were given by Margot Einstein, who was Albert Einstein's stepdaughter. Many of those letters were published in Volume 10 of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein in 2006 and in subsequent volumes, in chronological order." But later she added: “What I hope people take away is that Einstein was never the isolated scientist in the attic with a pen and paper, that image that seems to persist. He had a huge network of friends, colleagues and collaborators. What I’m impressed with most is how hard working he is. Inspiration is a very small component. He works very hard all day and every day.” In a TIME Magazine article we learn more about Einstein’s lost first child, Lieserl. The truth is unclear if not tragic, but is it up to us, commoners, to judge Einstein’s life moreover his genies?

2016 Spring Session students, Montgomery College

Sadly, I still wish Einstein or someone of his prominence had written this letter. We all need heartwarming gestures and stories, especially younger generations, but not exclusively! The emptiness and disillusionment reminds me of the day of Pope John Paul II's death on April 2, 2005, where the youth were not only grieving the departure of the Roman-Catholic Church leader, but also the passing of an untainted and trustworthy shepherd. As humans we crave true and unconditional love and the opportunity to love someone in return. The Prophet Muhammad humbly conveys to his followers: “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” According to Islam love is one of the greatest blessings Allah has bestowed on humanity. Allah has created human nature in such a way that a person will take pleasure from loving and being loved, from friendship and from intimacy.
 
Undoubtedly, the disputed Einstein letter should have a thought provoking effect on many, including those whose passion and life’s calling is the eradication of poverty. Isn’t development about giving and receiving? For those who work for global peace and social justice, love could have a soothing and contagious effect for oppressors and victims simultaneously. Mother Teresa once noticed: We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.”
 
One might wonder, where my fascination with this fabricated Einstein’s letter comes from. Call me naïve, but as someone who was born on April Fool’s Day, I have always been attracted to and intrigued by such sensations, and feel obliged to give the benefit of the doubt before facing the final uncertainty.
 
By sharing this letter with friends, colleagues, students, and loyal readers, I anticipate that we will be able to ignite a debate about love in the humdrum of daily life that is sometimes felt at the end of the honeymoon. I hope that we will learn how to incubate the most formidable, but also most fragile of unseen universal forces that distinguish us from other inhabitants of Earth. I wonder what the stats of mainstream media coverage are on Kardashian’s love life versus the coverage of the loving acts of ordinary people who struggle to keep their families together in developing countries. One of the greatest members of Einstein’s social circle was philosopher, medical missionary, and Nobel Prize winner Albert Schweitzer who very firmly expressed his admiration for love by saying: “We all know how important love is, yet how often is it really emoted or exhibited? What so many sick people in this world suffer from-loneliness, boredom and fear-can't be cured with a pill.”
 
But are we ready and mature enough to accept the call for love as a universal force? Perhaps 2016 is the year that love should be applied as an existential balm for our aching if not bleeding world? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said to those who opposed him: “I love you. I would rather die than hate you.” He was also one of those fascinated with the power of love and stated that: “Love is the only creative, redemptive transforming power in the universe.”   In his last magnificent sermon: The Drum Major Instinct, which at the request of his widow, was played at his funeral, he asked that it be mentioned in his eulogy: … that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. … that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.”
 
Wishing all to be loved and to know the joy of sharing selfless love with another in the upcoming year! “LOVE IS THE ONLY WAY.”
 
P.S. On October 5, 1962, the “Fab Four” from Liverpool launched their journey of international stardom and fame by releasing the first single “Love Me Do”. Maybe this is a hint from the Beatles to all of us to start everything what we do in our lives with passion and love? We should ask Sir Paul McCartney or Ringo Star about their views on the universal power of love before it is not too late to avoid confusion as it was with Albert Einstein.
 

The Beatles: Love Me Do - 50th Anniversary - BBC News



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Photograph of Albert Einstein by Orren Jack Turner via Wikimedia Commons
 

Comments

Submitted by Frank McGaha on

I Love You is the way in which I started a conversation last night with my girlfriend. The smile it gave her was worth it alone, but what I wasn't expecting was how it would make me feel when I heard the words replied back to me. I recently did an assignment on telling someone I love you and it's effects were almost contagious. Use those words often to the people you know and even those you don't because you never know the positive effect it will have on them and you.

Submitted by Lydia Abebe on

It all began when I told my best friend I love her. At first, I was nervous to say that to her because it's just not a usual thing we say to each other. But, her reaction was very pleasing and positive. She was happy to hear me say that to her. I thought there would be an awkward tension after but she wasn't judgmental at all and even said it back to me. I also noticed she was happier the rest of the day so the power of love can surprise everyone.

Submitted by Melissa Flores on

Everyone craves to be love and to love. It is part of our human nature. I told my brother that I love him. He rejected me at first but after talking with him about our relationship there was no doubt about my love towards him. Taking the time to speak with my brother about love made our bond closer and stronger.

Submitted by Emily Shimizu on

Talking about love opens up discussions that are very much needed sometimes. I am a person who doesn't frequently express my appreciation and feeling for others, but that's something that should changed. I told my sister I love and she was pleasantly surprised. We both had a discussion on what love means to us and how it's needed in the world. Love brings peace, joy, and many other wonderful feelings. Love should be talked about more frequently because like the quote says, "Love conquers all."

Submitted by Joel Alexis on

I found that three simple words "I LOVE YOU" or simply speaking about Love can start a spark inside the lives of everyone you know and don't. It's an irresistible, unstoppable force that I have noticed is our universal connection everyone: strangers, family, and friends. Your best friend was once a stranger, your spouse was a stranger, we all started our relationships with faces that were unfamiliar. I am not afraid of unfamiliar faces, I am afraid at how we have forgotten how familiar we are with one another in one way: LOVE.

Submitted by Marlene Morales on

The phrase "i love you" is a very powerful verse that can change people. Yesterday i told my mother, brother and best friend that i love them. It was a great expiration because it was all positive feelings and reward you get from it. They were all surprised and thought i was mysterious. I think telling someone you love them should not be surprising, infact it should be a daily action of our lives. One phrase can change someones mood, feeling, and even perspective so we will always be making a positive impact in our society.

Submitted by Michael H on

Only lately have I been realizing just what love means. And then I see athletes participating in the olympic games and think "that is love." to be able to put aside all differences ad any conflicts going on, to be able to see each other as equals and compete with a mutual respect. I think if we all took a moment to learn from these extraordinary athletes, we would have much to learn.

Submitted by Marcelo Pleitez on

Love is an amazing force. This article inspired me to talk with family members and loved ones about what love means. Love's impact is priceless and it means so much to so many people. The dialogue I had with family and friends were all very moving and emotional. In today's day and age love is seldom discussed and is often overlooked. My experiences discussing love were invaluable and have reminded me of the importance of loving others and caring for others. Never forget to choose love and respect above all else

Submitted by Alessandra on

Yesterday when I was home, I unexpectedly told my husband that Ioved him. His eyes immediately brightened and he responded: "I love you too,my dear". He was stressed from a difficult day at work and I could tell that my comment really made him feel better. We switched our conversation from a bad tone to a more positive and reinforcing tone, Love. Love can not only change your emotions, but also your attitude!

Submitted by Bruno Leon on

Love is pretty much everything in this world, well to me that is.
Being loved and giving love is what brings peace into this world. Everyone deserves a chance to be loved, so telling someone you love them might seem "stupid" but it actually can change their day and mood. I told my girlfriend I loved her, though she responded with my punching my stomach because I scared her with a suprise hug. She told me she loved me back and was happier the afternoon.
Even if it is not someone you hold dearly, saying "I love you" can change the daily life of someone in a positive way! Tell someone you love them!

Submitted by Alex L on

Telling someone you love them is one of the best things you can do. It'll make their day and it'll make them very happy. Love is something that must be spread and not kept hidden. You should always tell your family you love them as they've been with you all of your life and you should tell your significant other as well. Yesterday I told my mom I love her and she was very happy. Love will bring happiness to the world!

Submitted by Melanie on

I'm so happy to have been apart of this in my sociology class I feel proud to have been apart of this award winning project with the world bank. I gained an experience of a lifetime and opened my heart to share the person I love the most how I feel about them. Love is powerful in all it's movements! I will continue to share and preach the importance of love!

Submitted by Rob C on

I suggest you try what I did and talk to someone about what love means - you don't need to start the conversation with an "I love you" but it's as good of an introduction as any. I spoke to my Mom about love, and we agreed that it means persistently caring. It's communicating, helping, self-sacrifice, all of that, and I agree completely. Do it - talk to someone and find out what love means for you and that person, whether your sibling or significant other or grandmother. Try it!

Submitted by Sarah Bell on

It all began when I told someone I love them. I told my sister, I never see, that I love her. She was so happy to hear this. This resulted in her wanting me to move by her and her not leaving my side for the rest of the day. When my family got home we all sat together, which rarely happens, I told them I love them, and they told stories from when we were all little. It was so nice to hear all the stories and see my family so happy. With everyone in my family going through so much stress from their jobs it was nice to see them acting this way just from three little words. “I love you.”

Submitted by Anne-laure on

Love is indeed a weird topic. I randomly told a friend that I loved her and she laughed out of suprised and said it back to me calmly. I asked her how it made her feel and she replied saying that it wasn't so much a weird experience as much as embarrassing to be told that because friends and even family members don't saying it so often. And she told me that it made her happy as well as that if someone wants to say it they should. I believe love is a different feeling and experience for everyone, and that it should be expressed however the person feels comfortable expressing it. I also believe that aside from showing it, it is nice to let the person know from time to time as to enforce their belief of your love and let them know that the feelings are still there. Love is an important part of human relationships and not just human, but also all living beings are capable of expressing love in their own form. One could say that Love is a universal language for all living beings and hopefully it will still go on for many centuries to come.

Submitted by Ornella Mbakop on

It all began when I told someone I love them. I have a friend who has been going through difficult times. He is now a college drop out due to health reason. I said to him I love you for the first time and its reaction was unbelievable. He was so emotional and he said to me" it really means alot to hear such things from you. I love you too and thank you".

Submitted by Sarah Jansepar on

The moment I told my father “I love you”, was one of the most emotional and especial moment of my life. Although I always tell my father that I love him, whether its over the phone, text message, or in person but it never felt the way it did when I deeply and sincerely told him “I love you.” After that moment, both my father and I could feel the strong daughter father love which resulted us to get closer to one another. This was a very especial feeling since it not only made us feel loved, but it also made us feel so much better inside and out. Therefore, I believe that we all should start expressing love to not only our loved ones, but also to our friends, colleagues, and even strangers.

Submitted by Yasmin Mirzazadeh on

I Think Love is strong word.When I told my mother "I love you" and she was amused by words.she looked directly in to my eyes,I could see how happy she is.I felt joyous because I knew the love of a mother is real.I was convinced that love changes everything in life.

Submitted by Niloufar on

Love is the most powerful feeling in the world. This is why when I truly expressed my love for my dad, he got very emotional. Although it's been 6 years that my dad lives away from me, our relationship has stayed very strong. When I asked him why he got so emotional, his response left me speechless; he said: "When your little girl, who grew up in front of your eyes, expresses her most powerful feeling for you, it makes you very emotional." He also added that I probably won't exactly understand him because I do not have any children. I think he is right; I might not understand how he feels, but I can imagine that it's a very special feeling. From now on, I will make sure to express my love for my loved ones more often.

Submitted by Subhan Dowlati on

Love, it's one of the many wonders of the world, something that isn't acknowledged everyday. Sometimes saying something as I love you, can change a person's day and give a person new perspective, but it's positivity isn't just for the one being said I love you, but the one stating it is also effected. Even if you tell your mother or anyone that has unconditional love for you, it's always nice to hear it. It gives the person a reassuring feel, a feel of them knowing they are in your thoughts, that they mean something to you and that being something as powerful as love.

Submitted by EMS on

I Love you! Those were the first words I told my mom as she was coming back from work! She was very emotional and crying out of joy since our family is not the "sharing type". This article has helped me realize that is important to share and talk about our feelings. My mom knows that I love her but sometimes we need to hear it, speaking for myself as well. Spread the love and make a difference in someone's life!!!

Submitted by Julian Pennello on

I told my grandmother that I loved her. This immediately brought joy to her eyes and she began laughing. She responded with I love you back. Seeing the affect of me telling her I love you is something special and priceless. This assignment not only made my grandmother smile, but it made me feel great as well.

Submitted by Lammesa Enke on

WOW! what an inspiring and teaching article!. Love is the most important thing that can make this world the best place to live. If there is no love there is no peace. Love is the solution for every problem that can happen between families, friends, even between countries. I can say love is the best medicine for this world . Lets love each other regardless of any differences we have. love wins!

Submitted by Srujana on

I think "love" is a word we don't use enough. I hadn't realized how little I use it until I got an assignment to tell someone I love them. I had lived with my brother for 19 years and not once I had I told him I loved. So I chose to tell him, although he barley reacted it was still worth letting him know. Love is a very powerful word and if anything it only made our bond stronger. So try telling someone you love them and you may never know what might happen.

Submitted by Regina Namanda on

Love is peace ..love is unity ...Love heals...saying I love you to someone whether a close relative,a coworker, or someone you've met on the bus can definitely make a great great positive impact in their lives and change their lives completely...SO TRY IT TODAY AND GO TELL SOMEONE THAT YOU LOVE THEM.

Submitted by Deysi Morales on

I was very nervous to tell my dad that I love him because he is a serious person and I don't usually say that to him. After I told him that I loved him I felt proud and relief because he hugged me like never before. After this experience I learned how today we find it difficult to express our love by saying "I love you" and actually looking at the person's eyes. My dad's reaction was priceless and why not marking it a habit.

Submitted by Joel Alexis on

I approached an unfamiliar woman with a hopefully familiar topic: Love. As I asked her, "Do you know what love is? What does it mean to you?" As she spoke, her presence then began to feel familiar, as if I knew her for such a long time. She said, "Yes I know what Love is, Love is caring, always, showing someone that you love them, not only saying it." Our conversation started a ripple effect, suddenly other people waiting at the bus stop began to join in on our conversation. I felt comfortable, as if the people who were surrounding me for the first time were my family. Love has a certain sound, a certain action, a certain feeling, and is irresistible.

Submitted by Trung Le on

Love is like an adventure, a journey to find peace. I found peace in my soul when I have the chance to tell someone that I love them. Yesterday I told my grandma I love her. I felt a lot happier not only because I was able to share my love with someone close to me, but it was also the positive reaction I receive out of it. When I said “ I love you” to my grandma, she responded with a huge smile on her face. I was quite proud to be able to make her smile because I made her feel happier, and nothing could make me feel any better than seeing a huge smile on her face.

Submitted by Marcos Solloso on

Love is very important though it can be seen as a little awkward or nerve-racking in our society. I told a few people in my life that I love them. To see the reactions and it was a pleasant surprise to see and feel that they love me back. What I noticed from saying I love you is that males would try to brush it off or see it as an awkward as well as be surprised. With females, they appreciate the love. Overall it creates a positive atmosphere even though may sound a little weird

Submitted by Meri on

An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
I think that you ought to publish more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter
but generally folks don't discuss these issues. To the next!
Cheers!!

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