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Excerpted from Loving Each Other by Leo Buscaglia. Copyright 1984 by Leo Buscaglia. Excerpted by permission of Fawcett, a division of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"This is a book about love, tenderness, compassion, caring, sharing, and relating the most vital of human behaviors."

Leo Buscaglia
Loving Each Other
, Part 1

Why are we so afraid to commit ourselves to loving each other?

This is a book about love, tenderness, compassion, caring, sharing, and relating the most vital of human behaviors. Without these qualities life is empty though we may have the best of health, the most comfortable of homes, the most impressive of bank balances. Even knowing this, we spend so little time developing these behaviors. In fact, we are living in a society in which such words as love and commitment have been relegated to sentimental, old-fashioned nonsense. Skeptics are only too ready and capable with quick wit and stinging phrases to ridicule those who continue to speak of broken hearts, of devastating loneliness and the mystical ways and power of love.

If you love, you are considered nave. If happy, you are considered frivolous and simple. If generous and altruistic, you are considered suspect. If forgiving, you are considered weak. If trusting, you are considered a fool. If you try to be all of these things, people are sure you are phony. This flippant attitude has had much to do with the breeding of a society of detached, noncommitted persons too sophisticated to admit their confusion and unhappiness and too caught up in ego to risk doing anything about it. It has perpetuated isolation and devalued basic human values. This, in spite of the fact that over the past years there has been amassed a vast scientific literature which proves that relationships do matter, that intimacy is necessary to sustain a good, productive life, that a loving touch or a hearty laugh can heal, that positive relating brings physical, psychological and mental well being. Such contemporary philosophers and scientists as Ashley Montagu, Carl Rogers, A.H. Maslow, Harold Bloomfield, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, Desmond Morris, James Lynch, Theodore Issac Rubin, Margaret Mead, Norman Cousins, David Viscott, Clark Moustakas, William Menninger, Melanie Klein, C.S. Lewis, Nathaniel Branden and others have persisted in their writings and research, in spite of their critics, in affirming that a society devoid of these basic human needs is doomed.

Our growing inability to relate one with another is reaching frightening proportions. Soon the two-parent family will be considered the exception. Notions of marriage, of extended families and long-lasting friendships are more and more being considered outmoded. Meaningless sexual promiscuity is accepted as the norm and even being advocated as useful behavior for solving problems in failing marriages. 

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