The Art of Loving – Erich Fromm
In ‘The Art of Loving’, Erich Fromm explores the various aspects and challenges associated with love, arguing that it is an active skill that must be learned, cultivated, and practiced in order to develop deep, meaningful connections with others and oneself.
Love as an Art
Fromm asserts that love requires effort, intentionality, and ongoing practice, much like mastering any art.
This contrasts with the common idea that love is simply an uncontrollable passion or emotion.
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Theory and Practice
Both the theory and practice of love are essential in Fromm’s view.
Understanding the various forms and principles of love aids in navigating relationships, while putting these theories into practice allows individuals to grow and deepen their connections.
Forms of Love
Fromm outlines a framework describing various forms of love, including brotherly, motherly, erotic, self-love, and love of God.
Each form serves a distinct purpose and comprises an essential component of the art of loving.
Love as Union
Fromm emphasizes the need for individuals to achieve a balance between achieving union with a loved one without losing their individuality, autonomy, and personal growth journey.
Love and Capitalism
Fromm argues that modern capitalism negatively affects relationships, promoting selfishness, and transactional attitudes towards love.
True love requires individuals to engage in selfless acts and foster deep connections rather than focusing on materialism and personal gains.
A primary goal in the art of loving is overcoming feelings of isolation and separation by seeking genuine connections.
True love transcends physical boundaries to create emotional depth and a sense of unity between individuals.
Self-Love and Narcissism
Fromm emphasizes the importance of self-love, which differs from narcissism.
Self-love enables individuals to mature emotionally and psychologically, making it possible to give and receive love in relationships without becoming dependent or possessive.
True love, as Fromm underscores, is active involvement in a relationship characterized by genuine care, respect for the other person, and the desire for the other’s growth, happiness, and well-being.
To foster deep love in relationships, Fromm ultimately encourages the practice of discipline, concentration, and patience, alongside engaging in open, honest communication and prioritizing the well-being of oneself and others.