Human beings are unique in their pursuit of abstract rewards (money) with the determination most other creatures would save only for food and drink. We fight for scholastic achievement, career success, and material gains. But a few individuals such as Leo F. Buscaglia, Ph.D., the author of Living, Loving, and Learning, still understand the value of celebrating the true human core. Even when we are penniless, opportunity remains to learn how to love ourselves, others, and the beautiful ways in which life tickles our senses. Living, Loving, and Learning is a necessary read for all, because it reminds us to be uniquely human and not only succeed in life, but appreciate each moment of the effort.
The opening of the book explains how Buscaglia was the “only professor crazy enough to teach” his new class (Love 1A) at a university. Learning the joys of building meaningful social bonds with others and developing an unconditional positive regard for oneself rather than spending the time attending another Calculus or Economics class is an interesting thought, and an idea difficult for many to understand. The somewhat eccentric class description immediately grabs attention, and carries the readers far enough into the rest of the book to begin to see the world through Buscaglia’s eyes. Although textbook knowledge is essential, sometimes the species is lost in its scrambling and forgets to return to the splendor of its beating heart.
After reading the work, one sees that even through life’s troubles, it is necessary to pause on occasion and practice being a loving person to oneself and others. When appropriate, a moment to really enjoy the taste of wine by rolling it slowly over the tongue like a true Italian can be necessary. It is one thing to achieve, yet another to live the way humans were meant to live – through the senses, through relationships, and through perpetual self-improvement. The book explains how to “build bridges instead of barriers” with others.
Although other literature takes us in necessary directions, few works are as refreshing to the emotional well-being as Living, Loving, and Learning. In a lifetime that seems to fly past too quickly at times, it is necessary to give the concept of Love 1A a chance. For the sake of the broad community as well as for the individual’s internal state, works like this should be appreciated as a reminder to all to celebrate what is most essential – life.