Here is a detailed book review on “The Art Of Loving” by Erich Fromm. Erich Fromm is a world-renowned American psychologist and humanist philosopher of German descent. The Art of Loving, published in 1956, was his most popular book.
“Love isn’t something natural. Rather, it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.“
The Art Of Loving
In his work, Erich Fromm gives an understanding of love. He treats this condition not as an idea of something ephemeral and obscure to the human mind, but as constant and painstaking work on itself. Here, you will not find techniques or instructions on how to find a loving partner.
I appreciate that the book considers many kinds of love: parental, brotherly, erotic, and love for God. “The Art of Loving” became a discovery for me. On the pages, you will read about people who know how to love and those who don’t. This publication helped me understand myself because I recognized my feelings and behaviors.
Love is a process.
The theme of love is touched upon by many authors of books, songs, and scripts. It is one of the main spiritual driving forces of the individual and humanity.
Erich Fromm writes in his book that love is not just a pleasant feeling but a feeling that needs to be learned and an “act of goodwill,” and we need to develop this gift in ourselves. Briefly, he believes that love is not a simple emotion or object but a verb or practice. How you practice love with people around you can say a lot about you, how much you love yourself, and even how happy your childhood was.
In a more practical sense, reading “The Art of Loving” can give you tools to help you understand yourself and change things that led you to disappointment and pain.
The author suggests many people accept passion for proving the power of love, while this shows how alone they were before. How often do we crave love to stop feeling lonely? Fromm says that falling in love quickly reflects our deepest sense of loneliness. Falling in love is a pretty simple and fast process, while mature love is a complex feeling.
The more emotional trauma and indifference we get in our childhood, the sharper the loneliness and desire to be necessary is within us.
Another problem raised in this book is the “purity” of love in consumer society. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that modern society is aimed at consuming pleasure, including love.
Hence, it becomes clear that in the society of consumption, the problem of love will only be the difficulty of choosing a worthy object from all possible, rather than the problem of my ability to love. This ability, Erich Fromm believed, is worth developing. Often, we don’t have enough time to enjoy a healthy dinner in the evening. We are in a rush, always in a hurry.
Experiencing this isolation causes deep and painful feelings. Humans crave relief from these feelings at the very core of their beings. So, they spend their lives trying to find something that will solve the root problem of being separated from other people. Today, people are no different from those who have come before them, trying all kinds of potential solutions for this problem, applying their energies to humanitarian, religious, profane, and creative solutions.
Erich Fromm gives great importance to the ability to love for the service of another person. I think many people may disagree with this point. For example, in today’s world, a woman wants to keep up with a man. But for me, one meaning of love and marriage is that I can support and protect my husband. It happens every day when I make him a cup of tea or when I hug him. Serving your loved one doesn’t mean you need to forget about yourself.
For Erich Fromm, love is the close interaction of elements such as responsibility, respect, knowledge, and care.
Love is not a fleeting passion or a long-awaited miracle. Love is knowledge of itself and the neighbor, it is continuous joint spiritual growth.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?