Unconditional Love - A Blog Series by Carol Bragg
Longtime Nonviolence Institute friend and supporter Carol Bragg offers a series of blog posts on Unconditional Love.
The fundamental crisis in America today is neither political nor economic nor environmental. It’s the problem of our human brokenness. Indeed, many of the issues we identify as problems – racism, mass shootings, the opioid epidemic, alcoholism, bullying, alienation, depression, gang violence, domestic violence, child abuse, and suicide – derive from and are symptoms of the primary crisis of human brokenness, our disconnection from one another. Treating the symptoms does not adequately address the underlying problem.
Human beings are pack animals. We never would have survived as a species had we not formed tribes in which we looked after each other. The tribe was the means by which we most efficiently met our need for food, shelter and clothing and also was essential for protection. We’re also social animals whose physical, mental and emotional well-being require close human bonds. We need human touch to thrive, as studies of infants have demonstrated, and we need affirmation and acceptance of who we are, with all of our flaws, to be happy and realize our full human potential.
Our most basic need, in addition to sustenance, is for unconditional love. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., near the end of his life, wrote that developing an all-embracing and unconditional for all people love (he called it agape) is an absolute necessity for the survival of the human species. At the national level, it’s absolutely necessary for the long-term survival of our country. At the community level, it’s needed to create a safe and healthy environment in which to work and raise our children. And at the personal level, we all need it from the moment we’re born until the moment we die if we are to thrive and not simply exist.
Impossible, you say. But there’s growing research and evidence to refute this conclusion. When we learn that our physical bodies are designed to love and be loved in more than a sexual way and when we understand that much of our addictive behavior and many mental health problems derive from our starvation for unconditional love, we can gain the knowledge and develop the will to learn to love each other unconditionally. Over the next few months, I’ll share some of the things I’ve learned about unconditional love.