Guided by love…?

“Love is the only Revolution”

Translator’s note: the book mentioned in this article is not available in English. Other works by the authors have been published in several other languages, including The Compassionate Brain: How Empathy Creates Intelligence. We felt the central idea discussed here merited its publication.

The book has been on the market for a few years, but just recently in a seminar for executives on agile principles, I quoted from it a pessimistic message: “For centuries, many books have been published about love. But still we fail to give love more space in ourselves and in people.” Basis for an enriching group discussion.

A look at the trio of authors leads one to suspect that this is not about “being in love” or about partnership or other forms of love reality. On the contrary, the three maintain, from their individual perspectives, that love is the foundation of our cultural history. The book blurb reads:

“… It is the reason for our being. The book shows from a neurobiological, philosophical-theological and cultural-historical perspective that and to what extent the most important social, economic and cultural innovations of human history occurred out of a human motivation corresponding to the ultimate root of all great cultures, religions and philosophies – “God is love”. And that, therefore, there is every hope that humanity is capable of solving its present global development problems in this spirit as well.”

About the authors:

Gerald Hüther heads the Department of Basic Neurobiological Research at the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Göttingen and the Central Office for Neurobiological Prevention Research at the Universities of Göttingen and Mannheim/Heidelberg.

Maik Hosang, a German philosopher, futurologist and social ecologist, has already written the bestseller “Freedom is a Child of Love – Love is in Child of Freedom” together with Gerald Hüther. This book explores how the phenomena of “connectedness” and “independence” correspond with each other.

And Anselm Grün, a monk from the Benedictine Abbey of Münsterschwarzach and coach of many executives, brings spirituality, religion and business into relationship with each other as an author and coach.

The authors describe from their individual point of view how life on earth has developed and what role connectedness, love, freedom and God/spirituality have played in this context. Hüther says, for example, that we could never have evolved without love. I cannot identify with all theories and images, I particularly struggle with those of Anselm Grün. But basically the book reminds us of the “greatest of all virtues”.  

But why am I reviewing a book about love in this blog? And why do I quote from it in a seminar? Do love and business have anything to do with each other at all? I can already see the thought bubbles of some readers: Oh dear, first she came up with birds, now she‘s going on about love! You’re right, at first glance love has no place in a tough business world. Perhaps it is still permissible when I talk about self-love in the seminar. But otherwise? Hm, perhaps not. Unless I think of a former employer’s Christmas parties, where things got a little out of control…

And yet, when we work together appreciatively, with respect and on equal terms, develop the best creative idea through the most divergent team possible, resolve the longest-term conflicts, and let people develop freely, none of this is possible without love being involved. According to the authors, any co-creative relationship should strive to allow everyone involved to develop their own personal potential. Feeling respected and perceived is the basis of fearlessness and freedom, in turn allowing potential to be developed.

Love is lived in many forms. But with respect to the world of business, I ask: “What is love if not really seeing myself and the people around me and approaching myself and others with a loving attitude?” In order to live love, I have to observe myself and my fellow human beings and surroundings. Love begins with perceiving and accepting what we see. How do you observe? Does the inner “assessor” in your head switch on immediately, sometimes deciding very quickly whether something is good or bad? Or can you observe and describe in an unbiased way, without interpreting directly?

The book says that being guided by love needs courage, strength and gentleness at the same time. We have accumulated many diplomas and experiences, and yet we are stuck in the beginner status in the field of love and closeness. How could I recognize in you that you are guided by love in your life, whether privately or professionally? 

Original text: HFI
English translation: BCO


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