A&O QUOTE – GOETHE on loving what you would know


Quote by Goethe


“A man doesn’t learn to understand anything unless he loves it”

(Goethe 1812: Man lernt nichts kennen als was man Liebt)[i] 

Connects to

“We love only what we do not wholly possess.”

(On n’aime que ce qu’on ne possède pas tout entier.”—Marcel Proust)

BUT LOVE is both incredibly simple and incredibly complex.  Simple when experienced in its fullness, but like all great experiences, a confluence and balancing of  motivational, emotional, and cognitive forces   (see A&O notes on an Integrative View of Love

[i]. Man lernt nichts kennen als was man Liebt‑‑ Goethe. [complete:  “Man lernt nichts kennen, als was man liebt, und je tiefer und vollständiger die Kenntnis werden soll, desto kräftiger und lebendiger muß die Liebe, ja Leidenschaft sein.”  (Goethe in einem Brief an Jacobi, 1812)]  …  One learns to know nothing but what one loves, and the deeper and more complete the knowledge is to become, the stronger, stronger and more alive must be love, even passion.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  (1749 – 1832), source: Goethe, letters. To Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, May 10, 1812