Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.
– Dalai Lama –
To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love. To know how to love someone,
we have to understand them. To understand, we need to listen.
– Thich Nhat Hanh –
Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person,
they are almost indistinguishable.
– David Augsburger –
We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others.
An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our
own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light.
– Hildegard of Bingen (paraphrased) –
The Love Project
“What is Love?” was the most googled question of 2011, 2012 and 2014. The term “love” is the ever-elusive signifier for something we all seem to deeply desire and somehow know, but few of us seem to understand. It is what keeps the world together and moving, but seemingly it is also what can tear it to pieces…
But love is not just a four-letter word. It is something that seems to drive and motivate all humanity; it is the one thing that appears to be universal. Almost everyone seems to be looking for it; some seem to find it, some lose it, some fight for it, some even die for it. It is the one thing in whose name humans seem to be willing to do almost anything; even to torture and to kill. This “thing” is what we call “love”. Actually, it is not a thing. It is, depending on whom we ask, an emotion, a feeling, an experience, a practice, an idea, a quality, a work in progress, a condition, a predisposition, a word, a concept, a hope, an addiction, equanimity, a survival strategy, a function of the brain, hormones or evolution, or it is even god or the entire universe.
Whatever we make out of it, first of all it is indeed a four-letter word, a signifier that takes on many different meanings. This is what The Love Project is about: It is about exploring “love” in its myriad manifestations, experiences, practices, contexts and meanings, not about finding the right answer or the one and only definition. Hence, this project seeks to encourage dialogue and reflection and to be truly global and multidimensional. It is not limited to one perspective or an authorial voice that claims a singular truth. Instead, the project aims to be truly collaborative and participatory and seeks to invite and encourage many different and diverse perspectives and voices, and to explore a wide variety of aspects and themes related to love as further detailed below.
Hence, at its core, The Love Project itself is about nourishing love and peace by advancing open global cultural exchange and making visible how “love” can sometimes make us blind and lead to its exact opposite, its other: fear, hate, anger and violence. In this sense, many parts of the world are still marked by a lack of love, and possibly even increasingly so, and our project seeks to make a modest contribution to filling this void by increasing awareness, reflection and tolerance, and hinting at what qualities, characteristics, practices and contexts might contribute to increased and sustained love and peace around the world.
So, what exactly is The Love Project?
The Love Project is a global, open, co-creative, participatory, interactive, web-based documentary project. While there is a core group driving the project, everyone is invited to join in in exploring the many meanings and practices of love and to submit content, mainly in the form of video/film clips. The results will be made available online in an interactive documentary film format, creating a space that explores some of humanity’s most important questions:
* What, when, why, or how exactly is love and how can it be grown and sustained?
* What characteristics, qualities, contexts and actions nourish love?
* How can love contribute to lasting peace and systemic change?
* How can we nourish meaningful and loving human relationships?
* How can we heal love and its traumata?
These and other questions are explored by addressing seven themes related to love:
* Theories, Art & Ethics of Love
Explores various philosophical, theoretical, spiritual and religious viewpoints on what “love” is and what it is not as well as the art and ethics of “true love”.
* Cultures & Histories of Love
Explores how different cultures have different conceptions, understandings, ideas and practices of love and how they have developed and changed over time in different parts of the world.
* Politics of Love
Explores how love and relationships at once shape and are shaped by politics and the economy on personal, interpersonal as well as cultural, social and global levels.
* Psychology & Biology of Love
Explores what happens to our bodies, minds and experiences when we “fall in love” and when we love.
* Experiences & Practices of Love
Provides insights into how love is experienced and practiced on a personal level and what it means to particular people around the world.
* Traumata, Healing & New Paradigms of Love
Explores in what sense love can be traumatic and how love might be healed on a personal as well as social level and thus make a contribution to peaceful global co-existence. We look at new and emerging paradigms of love and loving.
* Love in Art & Media
Explores how love has found its expression in various art forms such as poetry, prose, film, photography and painting and how they relate to and influence our current models and practices of love.
So, how exactly will The Love Project work and look like?
The website where we will host our content will work like this: A user comes to the website, can watch an introductory video clip about the project and the exploration of love and then navigate to one of the seven themes listed above. Each of these themes will again feature an introductory clip to the theme. From then on users will be able to create their own learning and watching experience by navigating through the collection of film clips in a variety of ways, including:
- recommendations based on user rating/feedback of certain clips
- indexing of clips by keywords/tags
- location of filmed content
The project will remain open so that content can be continously added. Users can save which clips they have watched and also share their filmic journey with others.
Single film clips will contain additional relevant information, links, biographical information, etc. so as to create a rich and meaningful journey into the heart of love.
Roadmap of The Love Project
We are currently in the process of getting the project underway and are creating a network of co-creators and contributors. We have established a core group of individuals who are dedicated to the project and are busily working on creating its framework and content. This initial website has been created, research has been done, initial promotion has begun, and we are in the process of acquiring funding for the project.
Filming and interviewing for the project will begin during 2019 and by 2020 we intend to have our website with initial film content online. From then on it will be possible for people and institutions to directly contribute film content to the project. Until then, please contact us if you would like to take part in the project.
If you are interested in co-creating and collaborating, please click here.