Early in his career, Laurence Olivier was playing Sergius in George Bernard Shaw’s “Arms and the Man.” When English director Tyrone Guthrie came to see the play, he asked Olivier: “Don’t you LOVE Sergius?” Olivier answered that he didn’t, and Guthrie said to him, “Well, of course, if you can’t love him, you’ll never be any good in him, will you?”
Olivier later called this the “richest pearl of advice in my life.”
As an actor, Olivier understood that love was the entree to the character’s soul. What is true in acting is surely true in general. The best way to know a subject is to love it; the best way to know a person, is to love her or love him.
The parent who can distinguish the child’s cry, or a spouse who sees in a glance that a partner is joyous or distressed, is proving Guthrie’s point. Judaism teaches that God’s love and God’s knowledge are both all encompassing. The more we love, the more we know.