• Michael Martin

Love is still all you need


I have a number of, mostly vague, memories from television in the 1960s. I remember watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, 20 July 1969. I was so tired! I remember watching funerals for Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968—and Dwight Eisenhower’s in early 1969. So much darkness my young mind could not process. But there were pleasant experiences, in particular the Beatles performing “All You Need Is Love” on the Our World broadcast on 25 June 1967. Like those other events, it has haunted my life ever since.

The song was broadcast live across the entire planet—the first such technological marvel ever (which seems so unimpressive now, as almost everyone broadcasts across the planet with impunity). In Michigan where I lived (and still do) this happened at just before five o’clock in the afternoon. My mother made me watch the show. Most of it, I recall, did not interest me. Old. People. Talking. But the Beatles—they interested me. I watched on our gigantic console black and white television. It must have weighed over a hundred pounds. Images were fuzzy, the sound was definitely lo-fi. I don’t remember much else. What does stick out in my memory, though, is that afterward I went outside. It was a warm, beautiful summer afternoon. And I noticed that it was beautiful, not something typical for me at five years of age. All you need is love.

It was decades before I realized with what magic this message tinctured me. All you need is love. All of the most beautiful of religious expressions attest to it. Eros infuses Sufi poetry. In Hinduism, schools of Bhakti yoga (of which the so-called “Hare Krishnas” are probably most familiar to those in the West) center themselves on loving devotion to the deity. And, indeed, in Christianity we are told that God is love. God. Is. Love. This is all we really need.

Sophiology certainly upholds this central metaphysical insight, but while some religious iterations of love’s significance in the cosmic dance are deferred to the non-physical, Sophiology simultaneously acknowledges love’s presence in the Creation. All you need is love.

Love is often hard to see in the world right now. So many horrifying images of destruction and hatred are broadcast across the planet every day, hour by hour, minute by minute. More and more we are inured to the horror they broadcast. People think that hatred and destruction can change the world. I agree, they can. But who would want to live in such a world? Only demons. Not I.

So, right now, as rain drenches my gardens, as my coffee grows cold at my elbow, and as my wife enters the kitchen with a pale of fresh milk, I’ll hold onto that moment when a five-year-old boy discovered that all he needed was love. Because it’s really all you need.

A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34



Michael’s latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. He can be reached at director@thecenterforsophiologicalstudies.com See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: The Garden.


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