During our interview with him, Big Think asked Ted Kennedy to give his counsel: the primary lesson he had learned, the key insight one should take away from his historic life. It is a question we ask often, and usually one that sends interviewees through stages of stuttering, dithering, and occasional fraught silence. You can’t blame most people for being slow to respond to such a loaded question, but Ted was different: he had his answer instantly.

“The answer is love,” Ted told us. He was completely assured: too often we get caught up in personal concerns, when the central fact of humanity is our communal nature. If we recognize that we are all connected, and assume the responsibilities associated with that understanding, life is easy.

It might be natural to wish that someone of such a storied history would have a more unique insight, but in several studies, Kennedy’s advice has borne out to be true—those who maintain strong relationships are happier and live better lives. In fact, neuroscientist and author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection John Cacioppo talked to Big Think in depth last year about how social connections improve happiness.

So, take it from a political legend and a neuroscientist (and The Beatles …) – all you need is love.