Books Etc Spirituality

We Must Love One Another or Die

In some of my classes I have the students read Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie.

It is always the favorite text of the semester, and even the guys confess being moved to tears. If you haven’t read it, it’s quick, but it’s potent. I urge it on you.

One sentence Morrie loves to quote is

“We must love one another or die”

from W. H. Auden, and given the effectiveness of this little book, that line becomes a student favorite.

Here is it’s context:

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie …
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky;
There is no such thing as the State,
And no one exists alone;

Hunger allows no choice

To the citizen or the police;

We must love one another or die.

– W. H. Auden

[from “September 1, 1939”, Collected Poems, Random House, 1940]  

See Also:
If You Do Not Love Your Neighbor Whom You CAN See – Can You Love God?, or
A “World Falling Apart”; but We’re In It Together. Can We Deal With That?

Leave a Comment


  • I will not pretend my words speak as eloquently as those penned before me, but the truth of loving thy neighbor as one self is indeed a difficult task for many.It is the allowance to humble in place of pride that makes so many dread or blind. Indeed, a difficult task for those lead by fear, and those closed with blinders. Love one another or die; one simple statement with such a grand and awesome meaning to all hearts open.

  • Connie and Mike, you both have a point here. I surely looked at the poem from quite fundamental an angle. I still think it runs a way like this, but then, why not start from everyday outlook? Love can fall prey not only to self-assertion and keeping clear of succumbing, but also to our sheer pride. Then, we beguile our time by judging or assessing our fellows, as Connie said, and ultimately, conflict will arise for true (as Mike intimated, – people are shocked at kindness). Sin insinuates itself. It is the delusion of doing us a favour by the principle of asserting ourselves, beyond the given requirements of an actual situation. We must take to sin’s remedy, which is not virtue, but faith. Faith in biblical terms, as being amenable to God’s love, that transfuses us till its reaches that part of mankind to whom God wishes us to become relevant.
    May He grant us (me) the grace to do so.

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