"The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution
which has to start with each one of us?"

-- Dorothy Day

Suggested Resources - Print & Web



  • Fromm, Erich. The Art of Loving. New York: Harper and Rowe, 1956.

    Dr. Fromm's classic work.

  • Barclay, William. New Testament Words. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2000. See his discussion on Agape.

  • Hansen, Charles E. The Technology of Love, Vol. I. The Corsense Institute, 2005.

    "Why will Love be the most important “technology of the future”? Why is a Love-dominated world no longer an idealist’s dream? Can Love actually be deliberately “produced”? This book offers the remarkable case based on Science…" ... "Could this be…the 'formal' beginning of the unequivocal ascendancy of Love over all domains of human endeavor, including (with the help of Science) Science itself…"

    Upon further recent review, October 2010, I have learned that a principal, presumably the principal, locus of Mr. Hansen's advocacy for love is the teaching by Jesus that we "love our neighbor." However, as explicated in his 2008 essay Jesus, the Great Economist, Mr. Hansen asserts that in Christ's admonition to love one's brother is found, in fact, a credible and comprehensive advocacy of capitalism. This assertion is counter to the view of The Agape Order.

    Moreover, in my view, were Mr. Hansen's assertion and characterization accurate, it would represent a substantive and frankly shocking compromise of Jesus' own advocacy of radical love of one's neighbor, a psychological and practical posture that capitalism was neither designed for nor reasonably supports. Please refer to The Agape Order home page, section Economic Behavior.

    Mr. Hansen's The Technology of Love remains extremely important and highly recommended, however, at the least for its comprehensive analysis and deconstruction of that referred to by "love," and because it remains one of the few serious and large-scale research efforts that takes the notion of brotherly love seriously in the modern world.

    This book comprises a large and serious study of Agape, which I am as yet insufficiently acquainted with, although I have read Mr. Hansen's Jesus essay in its entirety. I will present additional and more substantive commentary and review upon further examination of this volume.

  • McLellan, E.H. Gimpy's Secret, It's what's missing, Instantpublisher.com, 2010.

    E.H. McLellan is Charles E. Hansen's sister, and she acknowledges her intellectual and inspirational debt to him and his work. Here are my preliminary remarks concerning her book; I stole time from care for my elderly parents to pen these remarks.

    I read the work around 2011 upon receipt of my signed copy from the author; recently, June 2012, I reread it. I read carefully to about page 80, when admittedly I could no longer tolerate the primitive children's writing style; because of this, in concert with other factors, I read the rest of the book with a small measure of selected omissions of material that seemed purely explanatory, while not omitting review of sections, including individual paragraphs and sentences, that defined terms, concepts, and principles.

    My statement of my eventual impatience with the prose is not necessarily a criticism, just an observation that adults may become bored with the style; young children will likely enjoy it, save the sections that shift without warning into not merely an adult writing style, but an academic or elegant one.

    The book presents its lessons in the form and through the mouth of a talking chicken named Gimpy, whose pedagogical object is a young girl named Ellen.

    Since Ms. McLellan derives her concepts from the work of her brother Charles E. Hansen, his scholarly The Technology of Love, some of my points of critique, below, may be eliminated or otherwise addressed through acquaintance with his work, to contexualize or otherwise supplement her work. However, Ms. McLellan's book is a work unto itself and, accordingly, must be properly explanatory; moreover, its readers, especially its apparent principal audience, children, are unlikely to refer to her brother's book.

    Indeed, her book may be best utilized in a classroom or other setting where an adult moderator can teach the material and elucidate the contents through reference to her brothers book.

    SPOILER. What is Ms. McLellan's Secret? As Ellen discovers, The Secret is this:  love must be shown through action and behavior; good feelings and wishes are not enough. In other words, activity in the external world in service of others, not merely cognitive activity, is a prerequisite for, and is indeed integral to, the definition of love.

    Similarly, here again is the Agape Order definition of Agape:

    Agape, the principle of love, commonly referred to as "brotherly love," the "love ethic," or sometimes "universal love," as defined by the Agape Order, is the active consideration of, and acting upon, the interests of other people, in more-or-less the same proportion as you consider (and usually act upon) your own interests.

    Thus, the AO definition includes the key element "...acting upon..." as does Ms. McLellans, although the former definition does contain other elements.


    1. Ms. McLellan's book incorporates a mnemonic, or memory aid, as its apparent conceptual centerpiece: "A Loving Touch Profits Every Creature at Some Center Point"; the first letter of each word corresponding to a desirable or necessary loving behavior, such as Attentiveness, Listening, Thanking, Protecting, etc., A mnemonic, at least this one, strikes me as cumbersome and unnecessary. I personally favor a more direct and clear approach in simply presenting the list of desirable behaviors without this somewhat bombastic mnemonic that children are unlikely to remember, anyway. However, I'll leave this to others to decide for themselves. If some find it genuinely helpful, good.

    2. Moreover, I don't favor use of the word "profits" in a work teaching love, as use of this word is yet another unfortunate example of the overwhelming absorption into our national and international general linguistic database of words and phrases explicitly relevant to capitalism and the commercial sphere. The Agape Order considers such absorption and any usage that sustains it as unacceptable, and indeed ironic in a work advocating love, since capitalism is arguably a socio-economic system whose very normal operation makes the serious practice and full-flowering of brotherly love difficult, if not impossible.

      When one considers the full scale of adoption of commercial behaviors by the mass population, exemplified in recent years by such phenomenon as the mass sale of naming rights of stadia and roadways to corporations (e.g. the "Staples Center"), or people carrying commercial ads on the sides of their cars and even their foreheads, the scope of the problem begins to become clear. Man cannot serve two masters; if we're serving profit it's hard to find the time, energy, or money, to serve love. Support for this sadly powerful modern reality must not be allowed to creep into serious pedagogy on Agape.

    3. The book comes from a religious perspective and makes this explicit:

      "The highest intensity of PRAISING is reserved for the Creator."

      Immediately upon reading this I thought, "Well, she just alienated all the atheist and agnostic kids and their parents."

      In linking love to a particular religious tradition, Christianity, and in the person of Jesus Christ, a particular religious figure, both Ms. McLellan and her brother make the unfortunate misstep of narrowing, and thus compromising, the greatest and most momentous social force available to humankind. In fact, Agape is applicable to every human being regardless of any and all individualized sectarian affiliations, including theology, and arguably transcends all such affiliations. In asserting such a link one necessarily runs the risk of alienating persons of other affiliations, yet the love ethic is simply too important to proscribe anyone from its lessons.

    4. Ms. McLellan asserts that "The Intent to Please" is the principal criterion in assessing the suitability and worth of an action as that which serves the practice of love or not. However, many actions we take in loving others will not "please" them, and in fact may anger, frustrate, and indeed dis-please them. Yet we engage in these actions, anyway, because we realize that they are needed for the health, safety, or welfare of the loved individual. Ms. McLellan writes:

      "All of these things that we can do show that we care. They are positive, because they contain The Intent to Please. The Intent to Please has to be in the mind of the one doing the action."

      When my father, suffering dementia, requests, even demands, his fourth lollipop of the day, and I deny him, I can assure you that he is usually displeased. When your teenage daughter wishes to "hang out" at the park after midnight because "everyone is going," and you deny her, her displeasure is almost assured. When a physician advises his smoking patient with a newly-developed cough or foodie patient with high cholesterol that they must dramatically reduce these chosen enjoyable activities, they may comply grudgingly, but in his instruction the doctor most certainly has not pleased them, and was likely not even working from that standpoint. Examples abound.

      Clearly, the intent to please is not the most fundamental, powerful, or accurate indicator of the status of an action as loving, or not. I'm surprised that Ms. McLellan proposed it, and wonder whether her brother reviewed it, and if so, whether with his best analytical eye.

    5. In citing war, Ms. McLellan selected a contentious topic in explaining the loving behavior "Protecting"; moreover, her text implies, perhaps unwittingly, a kind of nationalism that is actually incompatible with the furthest logical extension of brotherly love, which in fact sees all human beings as brothers and sisters in one human family. Her character Gimpy states:

      "...sometimes a country has to protect its people from danger, too. The men and women who become soldiers know that they may have to die while protecting our country."

      Wars often present a complex equation not captured by Ms. McLellan's assertion; even the rise of Adolph Hitler, for example, was arguably only possible because the German population was in a state of absolute demoralization, rooted in significant part in a severely compromised state of hyper-inflation.

      Moreover, her character Gimpy refers flagrantly to "...our country." Is love meant only for Americans?

    6. I find certain potential problems with Ms. McLellan's pedagagy. For example, some of her definitions don't feel quite right, at least from a common-usage standpoint. Here is how she defines Sharing:

      "Sharing has the feeling that something should come back to you."

      Based on her text, perhaps by Sharing Ms. McLellan actually meant lending. In fact, if one expects the return of something given, it would seem that by proper definition this is not sharing.

      Moreover, "has the feeling" is a confusing grammatical construction.

      Also, page 160 sees Gimpy stating:

      "You cannot LOVE someone if you do not respect them. If you respect someone, you are aware of them. You know who they are; you recognize them. You admire them."

      I may respect a given President of the United States, while in fact not admiring them. In general Agape terms I may even respect an opponent in a conflict (an "enemy"), while certainly not admiring them. I'm afraid I'm presently at a loss to understand any necessary relationship between respect and admiration. Admiration would not seem to be a function of, or prerequisite for, respect, as Ms. McLellan seems to posit. Perhaps this is simply a clumsy or inaccurate transcription of this part of Mr. Hansen's conceptual framework.

      Yet I will add this qualifying consideration:  as a practical matter people don't generally extend respect to someone for whom they don't feel some kind of positive resonance, even if only minimal general approval of political, social, or other behavior. This positive resonance won't necessarily take the form of admiration, however.

    7. On something of a minor point, as mentioned above, the book is written and packaged in a manor suggesting that it is intended for a children's market, though in this regard there seems to be an inconsistency in the writing style of the prose: it often slips from the elementary style accommodating to children, to a far more didactic adult style. The shifts are obvious, incongruous, and a little jolting.

    8. The book has no index. I had to flip and scan a number pages to find the term "soldiers."


    1. The work will get people thinking about the notion of brotherly love, especially children, a focus sorely lacking in our global culture.

    2. The book appropriately asserts and emphasizes the critical point that love is fundamentally a practice, something that requires action.

    3. For those interested in Ms. McLellan's brother's book The Technology of Love, this book can be seen as an interesting embodiment of some of his ideas.

    4. Ms. McLellan's Secret is an interesting counterpoint, of real substance and import, to that other, trendier "The Secret."

    5. The book is manufactured workbook style, with a binder-style spine that allows for one handed and other flexible uses, suitable for the classroom.

    This unique book represents a noteworthy effort, which in my view can be enhanced and strengthened through correction of the deficiencies described above. At present, persons of conservative political or theological posture may find this book especially appealing; in certain respects this writer counts himself among such persons. However, in its aspiration as a work of universal appeal Ms. McLellan's book may find itself hobbled.

    Visit GimpysWebsite.com for information.

  • Templeton, John Marks. Agape Love - A Tradition Found in Eight World Religions. Templeton Foundation Press, 1999.
  • Buscaglia, Leo. Love:  What Life is All About. New York: Random House, 1996.


  • The Institute for Research on UNLIMITED LOVE
    "Altruism, Compassion, Service"

  • Corsense Institute
    "Dedicated to the Philosophy, Science, & Technology of Love"

  • Fetzer Institute
    "Our mission, to foster awareness of the power of love and forgiveness in the emerging global community, rests on our conviction that efforts to address the world's critical issues must go beyond political, social, and economic strategies to their psychological and spiritual roots."

  • The Love Foundation
    "The Love Foundation is a nonprofit organization with the mission of inspiring people to love unconditionally. Our vision is to assist people by building a practical foundation and understanding of unconditional love within individuals and society as a whole."

  • erich fromm: freedom and alienation, and loving and being, in education

  • Erich Fromm - Overview

  • One Human Family (O.H.F.)
    "Advocating the Necessity of Economic & Personal Change"
    Sister organization to The Agape Order. OHF asserts that a full-flowering of brotherly love cannot occur in our present global society, given that it is predicated on money, profit, marketing and advertising, instead of the genuine needs (and reasonable wants) of people. OHF presents a realistic, love-centered alternative. The "Learn the Issues" section of the OHF website deconstructs various social and economic issues in part through the lens of agape, or brotherly love.

  • The World of Leo Buscaglia

  • Welcome to Love

  • Choice to Connect:  Living With A Love Ethic

  • bell hooks Resources

  • On Building A Community of Love:  bell hooks Meets With Thich Nhat Hanh
    (pronounced tik not hon; last syllable rhymes with "non")

  • Thich Nhat Hanh's Blue Cliff Monastery

  • Keys to Good Health
    Unusual website presenting a unique and comprehensive set of "keys," or guidelines and principles addressing every aspect of health. The site states that the most important key is that of love, the proper form and degree of which would eliminate virtually every other health concern!

  • Tavis Talks
    "One of America’s most celebrated and respected media personalities..."
    Tavis Smiley is the only media commentator whom I consistently hear talking about love. The principal is obviously of predominant concern for him. Just today for example, July 25, 2010, at a conference at Standford I heard Tavis query his panelists on why the notion of love plays little or no role in our public discourse.

  • The Meaning of Love, Dr. Noel Preston

  • His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

  • The Holy Father - John Paul II

  • Empathy, Altruism and Agape

  • Perspectives on Love in Science and Religion

  • The Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins

  • Message of Hope
    Political-musical project advocating a moneyless, cooperative society, informed by Agape and the notion that we're all brothers and sisters in one human family.

  • The Center for Nonviolent Communication
    A global organization helping people connect compassionately with themselves and one another through Nonviolent Communication language, created by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

  • Compassionate Communication
    An excellent piece by Marshall Rosenberg that describes the philosophy behind Nonviolent Communication

  • The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
    contemplative practices:  loving-kindness meditation

  • A Campaign for Forgiveness Research
    Superb material. Researched and apparently in-depth.

  • The Defining Wisdom Project
    "...it is difficult to imagine a subject more central to the human enterprise and whose exploration holds greater promise in shedding light and opening up creative possibilities for human flourishing."

  • Global Coherence Initiative
    "The Global Coherence Initiative is a science-based initiative to unite millions of people in heart-focused care and intention – to shift global consciousness from instability and discord to balance, cooperation and enduring peace."

    "Each year, an increasing number of groups and online communities are radiating compassion and care to the planet in these times of need. We and others feel that these collective heart-based initiatives, rather than being a trend, represent the proactive consciousness platform of the future, in which individuals and communities take responsibility for shaping a new world by increasing love, care and compassion for the global whole."

    "As groups of people in the Global Coherence community intentionally send coherent love and care to the world, a more powerful heart-filled environment is created. This helps to build a reservoir of positive energy that benefits the planet. This reservoir can then be utilized to help bring balance and stabilization to people, thereby making it easier to find solutions to problems like climate change, the destruction of the rain forests, poverty, war, hunger and other global issues. In addition, by sending coherent heart energy to the planet, you benefit personally. Practicing coherence has a carryover effect that helps to cushion you through stressors and challenges that occur day to day."

    "Advanced sensing technology, now being developed at the Institute of HeartMath, will allow us to observe changes in the earth’s magnetic field and test the hypothesis that the earth’s field is affected by mass human emotion, positive or negative. The Global Coherence Monitoring System (GCMS) will consist of approximately 12 sensors strategically located around the world. This system will enable a new level of scientific inquiry into the relationship between the earth’s magnetic field, collective human emotions and behaviors, and planetary changes."

  • World Kindness Movement

  • Shared Belief In The "Golden Rule" - the Ethics of Reciprocity


  • Speaking of Faith
    "Speaking of Faith (SOF) is a new kind of conversation — and an evolving media space — about religion, spirituality, and large questions of meaning in every aspect of life."

And let us not forget that the full and proper exercise of the love ethic includes a competent love of self:

  • Lamb, Sharon. Before Forgiving: Cautionary Views of Forgiveness in Psychotherapy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

  • Murphy, Jeffrie G. Getting Even: Forgiveness and Its Limits. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

  • Alberti, Robert, and Emmons, Michael. Your Perfect Right, 8th ed.  Atascadero: Impact, 2001.

    Considered the bible of assertiveness, an essential group of techniques for loving yourself, by not allowing others to injure you, psychologically or otherwise.

~ Love Yourself, Love Others ~