“All you need is love….” in my mind I can hear the Beatles performing that song as clearly as if it were 1967. It’s a great song with a great feeling. Enjoyable just to think about. And we do need love. It is as essential to a healthy life as air or water. But just as with air or water, it isn’t all we need.
There is a movie entitled “Magic Trip” which is a collection of video clips and recordings taken during the iconic bus trip Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters took across the United States in 1965. It is the work of directors Alex Gibney, Allison Ellwood, and three years of painstaking restoration work by UCLA Film and Television Archive archivists. A central theme in the movie are the experiences the Merry Pranksters shared while tripping on LSD. Kesey and the Pranksters were very much engaged in an experiential marathon. The reactions of people on the street seeing the bus are great!
However, while on the trip back to the west coast after visiting New York City and the World’s Fair, they decided to take the time to visit Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert – who later became and is better known as Ram Dass. I have no idea really what Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters had in mind in terms of what might be there when they met Leary and Alpert. Maybe, knowing of Timothy Leary’s involvement with LSD, they were expecting to meet a kindred spirit? However, from the report given in the movie “Magic Trip”, Ken Kesey anyway found Timothy Leary and the atmosphere at the Castalia Foundation to be somewhat intimidating. Scary in the cold intellectual deliberation he sensed there.
My perception is that Kesey was about experiencing, feeling, and learning; Leary was about experiencing, analyzing and learning. I hadn’t thought about it before but it seems there is a real yin-yang aspect to the two men. It’s not that Ken Kesey wasn’t involved in analyzing anything from his experiences using LSD, and I feel safe in saying it’s not at all that Timothy Leary wasn’t feeling his. It’s just that these two pioneers were approaching a new territory from two different directions. Kesey from the wild west and Leary from the disciplined halls of academia. And we who later found ourselves going down some of the same trails benefited from the spirit of love and the information they both publicly shared.
So where am I going with this? The thing is, we need more than just the love. We need the whole spectrum of emotion, and we need to be constantly engaged in building a genuine intellectual understanding of what it is we’re experiencing…and how to best respond to it, if a response is warranted.
For instance, is love the right response to an instance of one individual kidnapping and torturing another? Do we say to the kidnapper; “we love you”, and just let it go at that? No, in such a situation isn’t the right response to stop the kidnapper from doing what they seem to love doing? And won’t the kidnapper consider that anything but loving? Of course there is an inherent love for humanity being expressed in preventing the maltreatment of humans. The point is that wisdom in how we express and make love manifest makes all the difference in whether or not love is an asset or a liability.
We need to be establishing, improving, and refining our heart-mind connection! Do we need love? Yes, absolutely. Is love all we need? No, not by a long shot.