IS LOVE AN ART?
From Chapter I
Then it requires knowledge and effort. Or is love a pleasant sensation, which to experience is a matter of chance, something one “falls into” if one is lucky? This study is based on the former premise, while undoubtedly the majority of people today believe in the latter.
This peculiar attitude is based on several premises which either singly or combined tend to uphold it. Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one’s capacity to love.
A second premise behind the attitude that there is nothing to be learned about love is the assumption that the problem of love is the problem of an object, not the problem of a faculty. People think that to love is simple, but that to find the right object to love—or to be loved by—is difficult.
The third error leading to the assumption that there is nothing to be learned about love lies in the confusion between the initial experience of “falling” in love, and the permanent state of being in love, or as we might better say, of “standing” in love.
The first step to take is to become aware that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering.
The process of learning an art can be divided conveniently into two parts: one, the mastery of the theory; the other, the mastery of the practice.
And, maybe, here lies the answer to the question of why people in our culture try so rarely to learn this art, in spite of their obvious failures: in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power—almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving.
WE&P by: EZorrilla