"The way we love is not working anymore," believes social philosophy and travel author Bruce Brander, who has studied the topic for more than 30 years.
Failed love, he says, remains one of life's most devastating experiences, often ending in damaged souls and divorce. "While modern romancing masquerades as preparation for marriage, it functions better as training for infidelity," he writes.
What is the answer? Although scientists attempt to research and understand love, Brander finds that "poets, philosophers, and storytellers do a better job explaining love than [do] scientists with their rigorous empirical methods."
After offering a brief history of romantic love, Brander explores three kinds of love (agape, eros, philia), then looks at the enemies of love, including jealousy, neglect, criticism, perfectionism, and especially dishonesty, which he says deflects and poisons love.
When we love, he writes, we must reach high, "be as generous as possible as often as possible," and make serving the greatest good of the other the major goal. If we follow Jesus' commandment to "love one another," we can, in doing so, change our own small parts of the world.
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