When you boil down any social problem, the root of it is always the absence of love. When you analyze the positive aspects of society, the bottom line is always the abundance of love. It’s a simple concept, too often overlooked in the convoluted dealings of man. When you love your brother, you will not do him any harm, either directly or indirectly. When societies are formed, when laws are written and when policies are formulated, they can be of no worth at all without being based upon love. Look around and see what the results of turning away from love have been; war, poverty, corruption and hatred.

We all feel love, a whole lot of it. We love our families, our friends, our nation and we talk about it all the time. We write poems and songs to its glories, and  beautiful laments the emptiness we feel inside when love is lost. So it’s not like people are unaware of love or that it is an old notion that has gone the way of the horse and buggy. It’s just that we apply our love too selectively, and somehow consider that love is not applicable to every aspect of our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. When loves guides every decision and every relationship, every life gains worth, and every act becomes an expression of love. There is no one alive without the capacity to give and receive love, and no area of life that would not be vastly improved by love’s guidance. Love does not steal, love does not hate and love does not murder.

What is war but organized murder on a grand scale? Love teaches us not to kill, but the act of war removes the personal liability for the act of killing another human being. No soldier in any army has a personal grudge against any soldier from another army. That man has done him no harm, but having been trained and ordered to kill that man, a soldier does so without hesitation, because that is what armies do, they kill. Who is guilty of that man’s death, the man who ordered him killed or the man who’s hand took his life? That is a question that would never need to be asked if love was the first consideration in dealings between nations. 

Greed is what causes wars, and nothing else. It may be greed for wealth, for glory, for power, for land, for resources or simply greed for ideas; the spreading of your own ideas and the annihilation of the ideas of others. If your idea was all that great to begin with, no war would be necessary to spread it, its merits would spread it throughout the entire world in the space of a year. More likely, your idea is a good idea for you and those who agree with you, but if it is an idea with no basis in love, then few will embrace it and no amount of bloodshed will make it acceptable. There is no vindication in military victory. That only plants the seeds of future wars when the vanquished turn the tables on their conquerors. They will live for the day when they do the killing and the marching in victory parades and the announcing that their loveless ideology will replace your loveless ideology. And more men, women and children will die cruel deaths before their time.

And while it is no sin to grow rich, what is poverty but an absence of love? In too many places in this world, the few have taken the lion’s share of the wealth at the expense of the many. Is there any better illustration of this sad fact than a castle surrounded by thatched cottages and malnourished serfs? The legacy of that mental image lives on everywhere, with the rich living privileged lives of shameless excess while the poor literally starve. This year, pretty much like every year for as long as can be remembered, 13 million people will die of starvation, and another 5 to 6 million from drinking contaminated water. The vast majority of these people will be small children, too young to understand why their lives are over so soon, before they had a chance to live or to make their voices heard.  

Other than their devastated parents, who loved these children? Certainly no one hated them, but they might as well have. The absence of love is what  killed them as much as the absence of nutrition and sanitation; the faceless, benign indifference to the suffering of others. Are these children extra people? Does anybody have spares? Few people lift a finger to help the starving, including the leaders of their own nations. And while there are many wealthy nations in a position to end this benign slaughter of tens of millions of helpless human beings, many countries are speaking instead of giving over millions of acres of life-giving farmland to crops that will produce fuel for cars. How many more will starve then?

So the cycle of poverty and starvation continues, and from deprivation and desperation arises theft, and the culture of theft, out of which rises corruption. And in this pervasive corrupt culture, the wealthy practice theft on a far grander scale than the poor could ever imagine. In this foul atmosphere of death, theft and corruption, it is only a short walk to war. What we are left with is isolated pockets of love, fighting the evil of greed, theft and corruption that kills our brothers and sisters every day. All this because we have left the essential ingredient of life out of the daily equation of living and dealing with others. Love is the answer, love is the only glory, love is our only guide to true civilization, and civilized behavior, where no killer of men earns the nickname “The Great.” Love is kindness and bestows dignity on our fellow man. Love is still the only game in town. We ignore it at our own peril. Give love and give life. It is one and the same.

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