The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

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“Fromm is the Hesse among the philosophers.” (M.)

During the last weeks, I heard a lot impressive statements about psychologist and social philosopher Erich Fromm (1900-1980). These and the ever discuss-worthy questions about love in general (and in very specific cases) made me curious enough to finally read Fromms most prominent work “The Art of Loving” from the year 1956.

The writing style made it quite easy to follow Fromms ideas and theories. He really has a talent to describe even complicated topics in a simple, but nevertheless beautiful way. Maybe he uses a little bit to often biblical pictures for my personal taste, but with regard to the time the book was written and Fromms biography (Fromm came from a jewish family and first wanted to become a Jewish theologian), I think it is understandable and not annoying. What I really, really liked about this small book were the ideas it brought to me, which still request some time to be thought about. Here are my favourite ones:

“Erotic love, if it is love, has one premise. That I love from the essence of my being – and experience the other person in the essence of his or her being. In essence, all human beings are identical. We are all part of One; we are One. This being so, it should make not any difference whom we love.

“To choose to solve a problem through love requires the courage to withstand frustration, to remain patient in spite of setback.”

The most important step in learning concentration is to learn to be alone with oneself without reading, listening to the radio, smoking or drinking. Indeed, to be able to concentrate means to be able to be alone with oneself – and this ability is precisely a condition for the ability to love.”

“Immature love says, ‘I love you because I need you’. Mature love says, ‘I need you because I love you’.”

“Then one will also recognize that while one is consciously afraid of not being loved, the real, through usually unconscious fear, is that of loving. To love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the other person.”

I strongly recommend every one of you to read this small gem of book. No matter how old it is, Fromms ideas and theories are still up to date.

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