The Founder / Interviews

Bulgarian Magazine

In The Science of Love, John Baines reveals love as a Universal force only accessible to mankind through raising our level of consciousness. He uncovers common patterns of behavior we may call love, but are really just self serving habits.

By Iva Roudnikova - 2003 (published in Bulgarian Magazine "1")

Due to the great response to this book in Bulgaria, Dario Salas Sommer, alias John Baines, was recently interviewed by Iva Roudnikova of the Bulgarian Magazine "1". The Institute for Hermetic Philosophy thanks "1" for their cooperation in allowing us to reproduce this article.

What is the organ of love - the heart, the brain or . . . ?

There is no "organ of love" per se. Love is a faculty that stems from the totality of what the individual is, in his or her own inherent nature.

What is love? Can we speak about real love and false love?

Love is the luminous force from the Creator that flows through our own divine spark. False love is selfishness disguised as affection towards those who are very similar to ourselves and who actually constitute our own reflection; it is also the attachment we feel for those whom we need in order to fill our own gaps or deficiencies.

Does every human being bear the capacity to love truly, or are certain individuals blessed or chosen?

All human beings possess a latent capacity to love, but this gift may become active or may remain dormant forever.

Is it possible for a person to learn to love? How? What are the steps?

Any person can learn to love, but given that love is a field of knowledge, it is necessary to apply oneself conscientiously to training in that field, which consists basically of developing higher consciousness. For this it is necessary, first of all, to develop the ability to see oneself objectively, to take notice of the real causes that motivate our feelings, thoughts, and actions, thereby allowing us to reveal the underlying selfishness that prevents us from having empathy with people. It is also essential to understand that the Universe is holographic and that all living beings are united by the same lines of life-force, and that, therefore, if we offend or insult others, we also harm ourselves.

What are the manifestations of real love?

A dissatisfaction with one's own insatiable desire to receive, receive, receive, as it is this desire which leads us to a position of imbalance with nature and with our fellow-men and women. Facing up to one's own "voracity" is a powerful experience which, if we deal with it appropriately, awakens in us the desire to truly love. This consists, first of all, of giving without demanding anything in return, and of not doing to others what we would not want them to do to us. To express it in the most basic and simple way, "true love" means to love with one's BEING and not with one's PERSONALITY.

What is the easiest way to tell if the nature of the love we feel is real, fake or some other version of love? Are there essential test-questions we can ask ourselves which, if honestly answered, can give us the picture?

There is no easy way to know whether the love we feel is true or false. It is necessary to understand that there is no other kind of love; it can only be true or false. What happens is that there are many levels of truthfulness and falseness, ranging from the most ordinary to the sublime, or from the slightly false to the totally false. What I mean is that it is similar to a thermometer; below zero is NOT cold, and above zero is NOT warm; they are relative points. As Erich Fromm puts the question in "The Art of Love" “Do I love you because I need you, or do I need you because I love you?”

What are the most common substitutes for love? What are the delusions or emotional states which people mistake for love?

90% of what we see in situations which we call "love" is a substitute. Since the individual does not know what true love is, he tries to copy the models that are ubiquitous in literature and the cinema, or he tries to reinvent love in such a way as to justify his or her own selfishness. In other words, one "feels" or "believes" that one loves in order to quiet the inner need for love and be relatively at peace. The high percentage of failure in relationships between couples demonstrates precisely how people try desperately to love and be loved. Unfortunately, good intentions are not enough, because love is not a "wildflower" that one can just discover around the next bend; rather, it requires study and training in the development of one's consciousness.

Is love possible without falling in love?

In all truthfulness, "Falling in love" must be considered as an "inferior" state to that of love; it is like the euphoria produced by alcohol or drugs. It is a drunkenness that can end at any time, unlike true love. However, since there is no vocabulary that is adequate for expressing something that is practically unknown, we cannot use the phrase "falling in love" lightly in order to define a false love, but neither can we use it to define true love. True love cannot just "end," as when a girl says: "I used to love him, but I don't love him anymore." Without a doubt, this refers to a substitute for love, an exciting experience that arises from the triggering and merging of the personal magnetism of a man and a woman, but it may have nothing to do with love.

What is the relationship between love and passion?

Semantic inadequacies make it difficult to answer this question, since "passion" really corresponds to a "passive" state, where some force external to the individual overcomes him or her with such power that judgment is temporarily lost; it is a state in which he or she is capable of committing a crime.
In its most common meaning, "passion" is considered to be an attribute of love, but I think that instead, one needs an appropriate dose of passion along with love, reason, and consciousness.

What are the emotional synonyms of love?

In its common meaning: fondness, affection, attraction, admiration, attachment, empathy. In its deeper meaning I would compare it with the Sun that shines upon all of us equally.

How important is sex to love?

It is important because it corresponds to a biological need of human beings regarding the instinct for preservation of the species. In sex life is found, and proper sexual balance provides a good measure of physical and psychological health. However, sex should be looked upon as a nondescript sacred force that should not be used in an uncontrolled manner or with a "consumerist" attitude. Ideally, sex is an expression of love and is not to be used to satisfy animal-like desires.
However, true love can exist perfectly well without sex.

What are the "genres" or kinds of love according to your teachings? What should we make of the old time literature and song writers' favorite adjectives for love, such as "unrequited", "eternal", "blind"...?

There are millions of types of true and false love, since each corresponds to each individual's exact level of consciousness, ranging from the most vulgar to the sublime, or from the most corrupt to the merely slightly corrupt.
When I speak of true love, I am referring to those types of love that originate at a proper level.
We could speak of true love in the absolute sense if we were referring to a Master of Love, or a true love that is "incomplete" because it is still in the early stages of learning and development.
Literary writers and popular song composers have limited themselves to describing what happens in the hearts of those who have felt or feel "in love."

Does love have substitutes?

In general, everything that we consider to be love is really a substitute.

Are jealousy, affection, habit, sex, attraction, passion, and fondness attributes of love? If not - what are they?

Jealousy is an attribute of the possessive instinct which attempts to ensure a relationship between a couple based on infatuation (being "in love,") personal benefit, material welfare and the raising of self-esteem. Affection is the pleasant feeling of sharing with another person; every loving relationship gives rise to specific habits; sex can accompany love or it can simply be a pleasurable indulgence; attraction can be merely erotic or sexual, without the presence of love; passion has to do mostly with our instincts; and affection, in general, has a paternal, filial, or fraternal connotation.

Does love have a core charge that makes its essence universal? Are loving a child, loving a friend, loving a spouse, loving God, and loving a pet similar in any way?

The core element of love is solitude, and the need to see oneself in other beings, as in a mirror, in order to know oneself.

Does love have degrees or levels?

It has an infinite number of degrees, relating to the level of the individual's development. Between the love of a primitive man and the love of God, for example, there is an infinite distance, and between these two extremes there are an immense number of "loving conceptual states."

What is the opposite of love?

If we see love as the universal light, the opposite is darkness, and in fact, one who loves appears luminous when observed, while one who does not love is "dark." As is natural, hate is identified with darkness.

How are love and suffering related?

The fact of possessing something always involves the fear of losing it, and the more valuable the thing that one has, the greater is the fear of loss.  Love between a couple always involves a certain amount of suffering due to the fear of loss, and also because of the attachment that one feels toward the person loved. False love also generates suffering due to jealousy that torments the heart and the soul.

Do we have a limited capacity for loving?

Selfishness, narcissism, envy, vanity, and pride weaken and obstruct our ability to love.

How do you express your love?

By sharing my own spiritual experience with other people, for the purpose of helping them to be happy and to have a better quality of life, through moral and spiritual betterment.

What is your favorite love song?

The song of life; the song that is sung by the sea, the sun, the wind, the earth, fire, lightning, the birds, the mountains.

What are the philosophic texts/authors which you cherish the most and have influenced you?

Hermes, Confucius, and the Greek philosophers, but a real "doctorate in philosophy" is obtained only in the "University of Life," or in other words, by learning to live wisely.

What is your attitude towards self help books, and what do you think about people counting on that kind of literature to solve their problems?

I think that an extremely high percentage of self-help books are bad, due to their superficiality, exaggeration, or lack of a solid foundation. Some bestsellers in this genre are, in my opinion, merely "literary candy" that sweetens the heart and mind but leaves one disillusioned afterwards, since they give no concrete solution to people's real problems.

As to those who seek out this type of book, they are right to do so, as they are moved by a desire for personal self-mastery.

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