What is love? Is it a complex neurological process – one based solely upon the release of neurochemicals in the brain, is it nature’s way of encouraging the human species to procreate, or is it a process of energy exchange between two compatible souls?
In his book The Forgotten Art Of Love cardiologist and professor Armin A. Zadeh confronts this challenging question head-on and weaves his way through the myriad of connections and influences that cause us from time to time to feel that we are are either in love, or falling deeply into it.
As a young adult Zadeh came across a copy of the ground-breaking book The Art Of Loving by Erich Fromm on his parent’s bookshelves. He read it for hours with a growing fascination for its author’s insights into human relationships. Once he first discovered Fromm’s assertion that love is the “supreme unifying force of life.” he knew it this was a seminal moment in his life.
Reading Fromm at that early age activated a lifelong process that has led Zadeh to search for even deeper meanings to love than those that Fromm presented way back in the 1950s. In particular his researches have led him towards finding the connection between love, its expression, and its impact on the health of the human heart.
Love as an Art Form
In his book the The Forgotten Art of Love Zadeh makes the interesting observation that love is primarily a passive phenomenon whilst its expression is determined by the degreee with which we actively focus upon it and actively express it. He argues that whilst it is a powerful, transformative force it is not free and something that we have to earn “…by training our minds to reject competing impulses.”
Zadeh considers love, and its expression, within a number of different scenarios. He looks at self-love and its impact on emotional development, explores romantic relationships, the connections between love and passion, sexual attraction, and the unique binding love for our children.
Later on he comments upon the vital link that has existed for thousands of years between love and religion. Here he identifies the role love plays in establishing our connection to the world of spirit through spiritual philosophy.
This aspect to love merges into consideration of its impact and influence upon our levels of happiness, health, and the meaning of life.
The Forgotten Art of Love closes with a notes section and index.
If you were confused as to what love is before reading this book then please be warned that there is every chance that this same level of confusion will probably remain once you finish it.
Love, so it seems, is such a mysterious, unquantifiable experience and for that reason alone it has held an important place in the imagination of writers, painters, philosophers and romantics throughout human history.
This unfathomable element to love is brought to light by Amin A. Zadeh quite brilliantly in his book – from its opening discourse on the powerful chemical effect of love upon the brain through to consideration of the role that love has in the human experience.
Then, just when you think he, and by association yourself, have a firm handle on this love thing he pulls another strain of philosophical enquiry out of the bag – one that leads you to question your earlier definitive beliefs.
Despite its inevitable confusing terrain and wide-ranging field of study, this is a book that elevates the spirit and at the very minimum establishes some very significant reasons for why we should all experience, express, and manifest love. Like all good books it challenges and confronts, questions and dissects, and I found it to be scintillating and captivating throughout.
Quite frankly, given the importance attributed to the love by religion and every aspect of New Age spirituality this is a book that ought to be on everyone’s book shelf. It’s an important work and insightful commentary and I loved it.