Union of Love and Will

Modern society, May (1969b) claimed is suffering from an unhealthy division of love and will. Love has become associated with sensual love or sex, whereas will has come to mean a dogged determination or will power. Neither concept captures the true meaning of these two terms. When love is seen as sex, it becomes temporary and lacking in commitment; there is no will, but only wish. When will is seen as will power, it becomes self-serving and lacking in passion; there is no care, but only manipulation.

There are biological reasons why love and will are separated. When children first come into the world they are at one with the universe (Umwelt), their mother (Milwell), and themselves (.Eigenwelt). "Our needs are met without self-conscious effort on our part, as, biologically, hi the early condition of nursing at the mother's breast. This is the first freedom, the first 'yes'" (May, 1969b, p. 284).

Later, as will begins to develop, it manifests itself as opposition, the first "no." The blissful existence of early infancy is now opposed by the emerging willfulness of late infancy. The "no" should not be seen as a statement against the parents but rather as a positive assertion of self. Unfortunately, parents often interpret the "no" negatively and therefore stifle the child's self-assertion. As a result, children learn to disassociate will from the blissful love they had previously enjoyed.

Our task, said May (1969b, 1990c), is to unite love and will. This task is not easy, but it is possible. Neither blissful love nor self-serving will have a role in the uniting of love and will. For the mature person, both love and will mean a reaching out toward another person. Both involve care, both necessitate choice, both hnply action, and both requhe responsibility.

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