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review The Art of Loving

The fiftieth Anniversary Edition of the groundbreaking international bestseller that has shown millions of readers how to achieve rich productive lives by developing their hidden capacities for loveMost people are unable to love on the only level. The Art of Loving Erich FrommThe Art of Loving is a 1956 book by psychoanalyst and social philosopher Erich Fromm which was published as part of the World Perspectives Series edited by Ruth Nanda Anshen In this work Fromm develops his perspective on human nature from his earlier work Escape from Freedom and Man for Himself principles which he revisits in many of his other major works 1974 1348 235 20 1353 25061399

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The Art of Loving

That truly matters love that is compounded of maturity self knowledge and courage As with every art love demands practice and concentration as well as genuine insight and understandingIn his classic work The Art of Loving renowned psychoanalyst. If my mate George hadn t recommended this book there is no chance at all that I would have read it I ve a strange relationship with LOVE in that I think it is grossly overrated by our society You could get away with thinking that if you were not in love in our society then there is something terribly wrong with you Never mind that the notion of being constantly in love in a world where this is all too freuently confused with being infatuated would be a nightmare not worth livingAs I said to George I can see why people settle for sex rather than love Fromm s idea of love sounds far too hardThis is what I would generally call a white board book A book in which someone has picked a term rich in meaning in this case love but other s I ve read have been on Lust or the parts of the human body and run with it Germaine Greer has one out at the moment called Rage I believe although she could just as easily have written one called mock outrage All sorts of love are covered Brotherly Love Romantic Love Religious Love Motherly Love Like I said a white board book where a huge mind map has been padded out into continuous proseThis all makes the book sound much less interesting than I actually found it but I want to give you an idea of some of my dissatisfactions too I mentioned that I was reading Fromm to someone at work and he asked who is Fromm I said I guess he is a bit of a Freudian Marxist with an interest in Buddhism My friend looked at me uizzically for a moment and said Well it isn t exactly saying pick me up and read me just yet I didn t dare tell him what the book was calledWhen I was separating from my wife a very dear friend of mine suggested that I read a book called Pulling Your Own Strings I worked at the City Council and had the luxury of being able to turn to the computer on my desk order a book from the city library and have it appear on my desk the very next day There are few nicer pleasures in life Anyway the book appeared and it had a rainbow in the cover I told her that I didn t think I could read this book The problem being that I would need to read it mostly on public transport and a rainbow I mean Jesus I said to her Look the title is bad enough but at least I can pretend that I thought it was about masturbation but a rainbowthere is no excuse for a rainbow unless the book is called something like Classic Gay Shortstories There is a very similar problem with a book called The Art of Loving One expects it to be written by Hugh Heffner or Dr ShagalotThe uestion is what is love Is it a rather pleasant sensation or an art and therefore something one learns and gets better at over time Fromm points out that mostly we act as if love were a sensation something that happens to us and we have mostly no control over We believe that love is something that just is We can t help who we fall in love with we can t help who we fall out of love with and we fundamentally believe that there is someone out there that is just right for us There is no effort involved in loving in fact effort implies the two people weren t really made for each other and that effortless love is the only real love We look down on other cultures where marriages are arranged and although I won t be arranging my daughters marriages I m not uite so smug about the self evident superiority of marrying for love The main problem with arranged marriages for me is not the impossibility of love in these types of marriage the arranged marriages I ve witnessed in my life have involved much choice than we generally consider possible in our standard Western interpretation or plots for dozens of Disney cartoons The real problem is how women in such marriages tend to be traded like chattel It is hard to see how this could possibly be avoided in arranged marriages although in the large grey area between the black of arranged marriages and the white of marrying for love there are blind dates organised by friends and marry anyone you can get your hands on so as not to end up on the shelf and other such shadesOne of the things I found most interesting and perhaps one of the most illuminating ideas in the book was his talk about the love of God uite early on he says In conventional Western theology the attempt is made to know God by thought to make statements about God It is assumed that I can know God in my thought In mysticism which is the conseuent outcome of monotheism the attempt is given up to know God by thought and it is replaced by the experience of union with God in which there is no room and no need for knowledge about God Love for another person particularly love for a life partner as I guess it would be called today is fairly similar to this love of God love as atonement with God Fromm repeatedly says that our highest desire whether we recognise it or not is unity with another For Fromm this is the ground of love of all people and true love of another is premised on our being able to love everyone There are all manner of ualifications for this unity not unlike the line from The Prophet Sing and dance together and be joyous but each one of you be alone even as the strings of a lute are alone though they uiver with the same music The big downer to use an Americanism is that Fromm barely feels that true love is possible in Western Capitalist societies Our obsession with consumerism our ideas that love is a sensation rather than an art our alienation from our essential selves our inability to concentrate and focus all of these work against us truly being in love This then is the Buddhist aspect of Fromm The point is to learn how to be in the present and being in the present implies truly being with your partner I think I finally got the point of sex once I realised it wasn t about what I was feeling but about understanding and anticipating the feelings of the person I was with When I was too young to understand I heard Dave Allen tell a joke on TV about a newly married couple who rolled over to go to sleep rather than finish having sex after one of them asked Can t you think of anyone else either I d have preferred to have never been old enough to understand that joke Shakespeare makes a similar point when he has Edmund why do his bad guys so often get the best lines say in King Lear about the lecherous begetters of bastard children when compared to most married sexual partners Who in the lusty stealth of Nature take composition and fierce uality than doth within a dull stale tired bed go to th creating a whole tribe of fobs got tween a sleep and wake Gods stand up for bastards indeedOr as Fromm himself would have it The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one s narcissism But it is not just about being present in bed for Fromm Loving is about being alive and being alive is about being truly conscious Fromm is concerned that many of us think life is somehow supposed to be about relaxing to Fromm the only time one should relax is when one is asleep He is a man well aware that time and therefore life itself is not to be wasted that we are better to wear out than to rustMore than once I experienced a shock of recognition in reading this book particularly towards the end when he was discussing dysfunctions based on experiences of parental role models Although I found his division between maternal and paternal love all a little simplistic some of this did make me uestion my relationships and how they may have been based on my own experiences and learnings from my parents and also to wonder about the examples I ve given my daughters Never pleasant thoughtsI didn t enjoy this book nearly as much as The Art of Being but there are thoughts per page here than in your typical book on this subject and if it is a whiteboard book it is a particularly full and rewarding one

Erich Fromm ä 7 characters

And social philosopher Erich Fromm explores love in all its aspects not only romantic love steeped in false conceptions and lofty expectations but also brotherly love erotic love self love the love of God and the love of parents for their childre. One of my favorite books I ve read it three times now and i ll probably read it several times in the future I really appreciate what a down to earth way of dealing with his subject matter that Fromm has He recognizes that no book can make you a loving person but he does recognize that by calling our attention to the myriad ways that we misunderstand and deceive ourselves about love we can begin to approach a better understanding of what it might take to become better lovers He implicates everything from our philosophical assumptions to the way we work in a capitalist society to the way we endlessly pursue idle amusement over the development of the kind of character that energizes a person to act lovingly in the world Being principally a psychoanalyst Fromm is also extremely helpful at helping us see the connections between how we act how we think and what we learned early on about the meaning or illusiondelusionfrustration of love Another book I think I could benefit from reading every other year

10 thoughts on “The Art of Loving

  1. says:

    My goodness what is this dude smoking?Someone close to me made me aware that this book existed and so out of curiosity I decided to

  2. says:

    The Art of Loving Erich FrommThe Art of Loving is a 1956 book by psychoanalyst and social philosopher Erich Fromm

  3. says:

    I went through this book again partly because it has so much to say and partly because I wanted to re read Erich Fromm's in

  4. says:

    If my mate George hadn’t recommended this book there is no chance at all that I would have read it I’ve a strange relati

  5. says:

    This book confirms the idea that reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life a better one indeedReading

  6. says:

    Gave up at 13 because it simply became unbearableIf you are a very traditional conservative white middle class cisgender person who is familiar with the bible but still loves Freud you have found your guide If you are any other category of hum

  7. says:

    One of my favorite books I've read it three times now and i'll probably read it several times in the future I really appreciate what a down to earth way of dealing with his subject matter that Fromm has He recognizes that no book can make you a loving person but he does recognize that by calling our attention to the myriad ways that we misunderstand and deceive ourselves about love we can begin to approach a better un

  8. says:

    “Love is not only a relationship with a specific person; it is an attitude a guiding of our character that determines t

  9. says:

    35 stars Love is an activity not a passive affect; it is a 'standing in' not a 'falling for' In the most general way the active character of love can be described by stating that love is primarily giving not receivingThank goodness this book exists Often in contemporary society we misconstrue love as a cure all f

  10. says:

    Have you ever held an idea so closely to the sides of your skull you could never find the words or phrases to articulate it until someone stopped by and presented you with exactly what you had been searching for? Erich Fromm did this for me in the context of mature and fulfilling relationships In the words of a good friend people