What I'm going to be
talking to you about tonight is a subject that is really dear to
my heart, and that is the art--literally, the art--of
being fully human. I don't know about you, but I really
love the concept that I am a human being and have all the
potential to be a human being.
I remember being terribly
moved by something that I read in a book of Haim Ginott's.
It's a very poignant thing and it's written by a school
principal who gave this to Ginott. She said:
"I am a survivor of a
concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should
witness. Gas chambers built by learned engineers.
Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed
by trained nurses. Women and children shot and killed by
high school and college graduates. So I'm suspicious of
education. My request is: help your students to be
human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters,
skilled psychopaths, or educated Eichmanns. Reading and
writing and spelling and history and arithmetic are only
important if they serve to make our students human."
You know what occurred to
me? We teach everything in the world to people, except the
most essential thing. And that is life. Nobody
teaches you about life. You're supposed to know about
it. Nobody teaches you how to be a human being and what it
means to be a human being, and the dignity that it means when
you say, "I am a human being."
this is something you have, or you should have gotten by
osmosis. Well, it's not working by osmosis!
I love to do talk shows because
you encounter so many beautiful people. Everybody wants a
definition. Isn't that interesting? "Dr.
Buscaglia, will you define love?" And I say "Nooo!
But if you follow me around I'll try to live it."
It's very difficult to
define, because it's such an enormously broad concept. The
more I live in joy and beauty, the greater a lover I become.
Every day, I'm becoming a greater and greater lover. And to
define it would be to limit it. But at least along the way I
kind of have an idea of where I am. But I also know that if
I put my hand out, you could give me new definitions, new strokes,
new ideas, and together we could grow.
There are maybe two thousand
people here tonight. There isn't one person who hasn't known
loneliness. Isn't that wonderful? There isn't one
person who hasn't known despair. Isn't that wonderful?
There isn't one person who hasn't cried. But also, there
aren't many who haven't laughed, who haven't known joy. And
in all those ways, we can communicate. We're alike, because
I've known it, too, and we're all involved in the same
struggle: to become fully human--which is the best thing we
can become. And what a goal! What a wonderful goal.
To me, probably the most
exciting thing in the world is the realization that I have the
potential of being fully human. I can't be a God, but I can
be a fully functioning human being! And what I'd like to do
is talk to you about some of the things that I think are essential
in order to become a fully functioning human being.
We must get back to the
point again; and, this is going to shock a lot of people, and
you're not going to like it, but I'm going to risk it. I
feel this very strongly. We've got to risk again by saying
that "I like me." You cannot give to anyone in
this world what you do not have. And therefore you must
concentrate on getting. You must become the most
beautiful, sensitive, wondrous, magical, unique, fantastic person
in the world to be able to have all of these things in order to
give them away and share them. Think about it. If I
don't have wisdom I can only teach you my ignorance. If I
don't have joy I can only teach you despair. If I don't have
freedom I can only put you in cages. But everything I have I
can give away. That's the only reason for having it.
But I've got to have it first. And so I dedicate myself to
becoming the best Leo the world has ever known.
Being the best Leo, I can
love you as the best you. I will not have anybody
playing "follow me." Because when you start
following my way, it will lead you to me and you
will get lost. The only way to follow is your
way. You're that magic combination that will never be again,
and I don't care who you are, how exalted you feel or how lonely
you feel. Every one of you is something unique and
special. I wish we could tell this to children early so it
wouldn't take them a lifetime to find out! You have a
unique world to share.
People who have studied
perception and sensation know that everyone sees the world in a
different way. Yet, it's the same world. We don't
observe a tree in the same way. Yet it's the same
tree. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could share that tree
and see it in two different ways? Just the concept sends me
into orbit. And yet I hear people constantly saying,
"What have I to offer?" You know what you have to
offer? A central piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Unless
you assume the responsibility, that picture never will be
completed. I'll never see your tree and I'm convinced that
we still have misery, despair, agony, all of those things, because
people didn't actualize themselves and share their worlds.
Because if they had, our picture would have been clearer.
You have something to paint on that tapestry that's uniquely
yours. Don't miss the opportunity. You are
wondrous. You are magical. There is only one
The next time you pass a
mirror, look in it and say, "My goodness. You know, it's
true! There's only one of me!" Oh, if we could
get into that! And the wonderful thing is, too, that it
doesn't matter where we are in that "you." You're
only just beginning, because do you know that no one has ever been
able to find a limit to human potential, or to humanness?
You are unlimited possibilities.