A personal reflection on the significance of this powerful human emotion.
OVER THE PAST CENTURY, advancements in science and technology have enabled us to decode just about everything: how our bodies and minds work, how nature works, how the planet and vast universe work.
As we’ve deciphered the world around us, we’ve also begun to replicate it. In some cases, we’ve designed systems so innovative that they can do things just as well as, if not better than, we can (and if they’re not better than us yet, they will be in time — think self-driving cars, artificial wombs, etc.).
This artificial intelligence, often referred to as AI, is already being used to improve and advance a variety of industries — finance, healthcare, manufacturing, education, transportation, and more. According to some experts and futurists, AI computing may exceed the processing power of all human brains on Earth by midcentury.
Yet one thing that I don’t foresee artificial intelligence being able to truly replicate is the human capacity for love, in whatever form it takes. Love is still, in many ways, a divine mystery.
We do know that, from a biological perspective, love is complex, involving certain parts of the brain and an array of hormones that work together just so to create feelings of compassion and empathy, passion, and desire.
Based on this knowledge, some might argue that AI will be able to love in the future since we can now mimic the structure and function of the brain.
Yet we don’t fully understand why we develop love with some people more easily than with others, why we fall in love with a certain someone, why we become passionate about particular topics and causes. Beyond familial and parental love, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for who or what we love.
Our ability to communicate love sets us apart from other species. Only we are capable of channeling this behavior to transform our circumstances, our communities, and even our world.
Yes, AI will also change the world, but I believe our innately human ability to feel and express love is more powerful. And in this time of growing division, we need to tap into it now more than ever.
To do this, I find it helpful to recall lessons from important spiritual figures — Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, and Buddha. These prophets are still worshiped by millions today because of the love and kindness that defined their lives. Despite their struggles and the resistance they encountered, they acted and reacted with love in their daily actions.
Whatever our individual religious beliefs or faith, we too can choose to speak and act from a place of love. We can let it be our guide — especially when we’re struggling, scared, or uncertain.
As I considered all of this recently, I was moved to write down my thoughts, which you can read at right. This serves as my personal reminder to live by love, and my hope is that it may inspire you as well. Perhaps you’ll write something of your own, approach a tough conversation with more compassion, help a stranger in need, or listen with a more open mind.
Love can transcend any divide when we give it the opportunity to lead.
The Religion of Love
Love Christians, love Jesus;
Love Jews, love Moses;
Love Muslims, love Muhammad;
Love Buddhists, love Buddha
Love Democrats, Republicans, and Independents;
Love blacks and whites
and every color in between
Love people from all religions,
all belief systems, all races;
Love people from all nations and
every corner of our world
Love men and women,
those who are straight
and LGBTQ, the young and the old
Love your neighbor,
your friends, your family;
Love nature and technology;
Love our planet and all the
living creatures on it
Love and respect love, justice,
integrity, passion, and unity,
and the power they have to bring
The more love we give,
the more we will receive;
Love will expand and grow,
it will heal and cure
So lead with love, embrace love,
spread and encourage love;
Start and end each day with love;
Let love be the guiding force
in all you do
Bahram Akradi is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Life Time — Healthy Way of Life.