On Flourishing

Baha'i prophet

“They have said: ‘Love is a light that never dwelleth in a heart possessed by fear.’”

Augustine of Hippo
Christian saint

“Once for all, then, a short precept is given you: Love, and do what you will: whether you hold your peace, through love hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.”

The Dhammapada
Buddhist scripture

“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.”

Erich Fromm
The Art of Loving Social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher 1900-1980

“Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one ‘object’ of love. If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment or an enlarged egotism.”

Erich Fromm
The Art of Loving Social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher 1900-1980

“In brotherly love there is the experience of union with all men, of human solidarity, of human at-onement. Brotherly love is based on the experience that we are all one. The differences in talents, intelligence, knowledge are negligible in comparison with the identity of the human core common to all men.”

Arthur Zajonc
American Physicist

“Our true relationships in life are never to the material side of things. Reflect for a moment and you will recognize that you love your child or your garden or a poem because you have worked your way through its exteriority to an interior relationship with it.”

Teresa of Avila
Christian saint

“We cannot know whether or not we love God, although there are strong indications for recognizing that we do love Him; but we can know whether we love our neighbor.”

C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer

“[L]ove [is] the Divine energy. This primal love is Gift-love. In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.”

Ibn Al ‘Arabi
Islamic scholar and mystic

“I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love's camels take, that is my religion and my faith.”

Jonathan Sacks
British Orthodox Rabbi and author

“A creed that tells us that we are no more than selfish genes, with nothing in principle to separate us from the animals, in a society whose strongest motivators are money and success, in a universe that came into existence for no reason whatsoever and for no reason will one day cease to be, will never speak as strongly to the human spirit as one that tells us we are in the image and likeness of God in a universe he created in love.”

The Analects
Confucian Text

"To rank the effort above the prize may be called love." (6:20)

George E. Vaillant
psychoanalyst and research psychiatrist

“The 75 years and 20 million dollars spent on the [Harvard Study of Adult Development] points to a straightforward five-word conclusion, Happiness is love. Full stop.”

Tyler J. VanderWeele, Ph.D.
Director of the Harvard Human Flourishing Program

“While the term ‘love’ means different things to different people, in much theological writing, it is understood as a desire for and/or commitment to the good of the other. That seeking of the other’s good, in childhood (and arguably throughout life), is very powerful. In addition to the actions that promote the good of the beloved, that experience of love affirms the person’s intrinsic value and worth. It establishes a bond. It fulfills one of the deepest human yearnings for connection with others. It is no wonder, then, that the experience of love appears to affect so many health and well-being outcomes."

Richard Rorty
philosopher and atheist

“My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
French Jesuit priest, scientist, and philosopher

“The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
American philosopher

“The power of love, as the basis of state, has never been tried."

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Swiss-American psychiatrist 1926-2004

"If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow."

Samuel Johnson
English poet and playwright 1709-1784

“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”

John Lennon
English singer-songwriter 1940-1980

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

Mahatma Gandhi
Acknowledged by Indians as Father of the Nation

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Dr. Suess
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! 1904-1991

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

W.E.B. Du Bois
American sociologist and civil rights activist 1868-1963

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson
American astrophysicist and science communicator 1958

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.”

Abraham Maslow
American Psychologist 1908-1970

“Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.”

Henri Matisse
French Artist 1869-1954

“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.”

Karl Groos
German philosopher and play theorist; Evolutionary biologist 1861–1946

“The very existence of youth is due in part to the necessity for play; the animal does not play because he is young, he has a period of youth because he must play.”

D.W. Winnicott
British pediatrician and psychoanalyst 1896–1971

“It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.”

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