Carl Jung once remarked that the serious problems of life are never solved, and if it seems that they have been solved, something important has been lost.
The paradox of love is that it is the highest degree of awareness of the self as a person and the highest degree of absorption in the other. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin asks, in The Phenomenon of Man, "At what moment do lovers come into the most complete possession of themselves, if not when they are lost in each other?"
These forms of the society are molded and presented first of all by artists. It is the artists who teach us to see, who break the ground in the enlargement of our consciousness; they point the way toward the new dimensions of experience which we have, in any given period, been missing.
To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before.
The acorn becomes an oak by means of automatic growth; no commitment is necessary. The kitten similarly becomes a cat on the basis of instinct. Nature and being are identical in creatures like them. But a man or woman becomes fully human only by his or her choices and his or her commitment to them. People attain worth and dignity by the multitude of decisions they make from day by day. These decisions require courage.
Tenderness emerges from the fact that the two persons, longing, as all individuals do, to overcome the separateness and isolation to which we are all heir because we are individuals, can participate in a relationship that, for the moment, is not of two isolated selves but a union.