This article comes from the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love
What is Unlimited Love?
Unlimited Love means love for all humanity without exception. Participation in this love inspires inner peace, abiding kindness and service. People of “Unlimited Love” deeply affirm and serve all humanity without exception. Participation in this love is the pinnacle of spirituality, inspiring inner peace, abiding kindness and effective action in the world. This love is expressed in a number of ways, including empathy and understanding, generosity and unselfishness, compassion and care, altruism and self-sacrifice, celebration and joy, and forgiveness and justice. In all of these expressions, unlimited love acknowledges the absolutely full significance of every human being that, because of egoism or hatred, we otherwise acknowledge only for ourselves or those closest to us.
How do we understand Unlimited Love?
Just as we investigate the force of gravity or the energy of the atom, we can scientifically examine the power of unlimited love in human moral and spiritual experience. Even though thousands of books have been written about this love, they have focused on the history of theological and philosophical ideas without considering scientific research. How can we better understand unlimited love in a way that brings together evolution, genetics, human development, neurology, social science, and positive psychology with great religious thought and practice, and with the moral vision of a common humanity to which all great spiritual traditions give rise? Without that vision, the future of humankind is increasingly imperiled. Unlimited love is the necessary point at which the human future must converge.
The development of this field of study is long overdue. Immense and complex questions resonate with all of us: how can we learn to love our neighbour even when he or she can give nothing in return, or is not a member of our in-group? Can we redirect our aggression away from one another and toward a common struggle against disease, starvation, poverty, violence, and other assaults on human well-being? Do people who give generously to others experience higher levels of psychological well-being, are they healthier, and do they live longer lives? Does love heal? Did our species evolve in a way that makes generous and cooperative behavior more true to our nature than egoism and selfishness? What can we discover from the lives of truly unselfish individuals that can help us to teach future generations to live generously? What can we learn about spiritual and moral transformations, both gradual and sudden, in the direction of unlimited love? In the giving of self is there an unsought for discovery of a higher self?
Shapes of things to come
The Institute has initiated collaborations with major national foundations and institutions to explore how unlimited love and creative altruism fit into the makeup of religious traditions, are understood in the humanities and the arts, and inform leadership and education at all levels. Some work in progress includes: an international conference entitled “Works of Love: Scientific and religious perspectives on altruism”; the collection and dissemination of remarkable stories of unlimited love as it is manifested in the lives of extraordinary people; the development of working groups of scientists and theologians; high-level summer seminars with leading scientists and religious scholars; essay contests and the publication of articles and books on the subject of unlimited love.