➸ The Art of Loving Free ➮ Author Erich Fromm – Reliableradio.co.uk
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 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 Understanding.In His Classic Work, The Art Of Loving, Renowned Psychoanalyst 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 Children. . 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 borrow the book from the library and read it It took me 2 days, and really, I hated every bit of this book, for several reasons that I will delineate below But first, let me tell you what this book is about.Obviously, this is non fiction This is written by Erich Fromm, a prominent German social psychologist who happens to belong to the Frankfurt School, also known as the proponents of Critical Theory And in this book, Fromm outlines his theory of love, and how it is an art As with other arts, such as painting and sculpture, he claims that love has two parts theory and practice The book is divided accordingly.In the theory section, he goes over five different types of love brotherly love, motherly love, erotic love, self love, and love of God He explains the different functions of these different types, and its various characteristics And in the practice section, he basically gives various factors that affect and influence the practice of love.So, where do I begin criticizing this work First of all, I deeply hated the fact that his arguments are all along the lines of speculation I am all for empiricism, and he has all these grandiose claims that were never proven with evidence, all throughout the book He has claims for example about the difference between motherly and fatherly love, about the importance of the male female divide, about mothers and instinct, but all of his arguments are conjecture, and not actually supported by empirical evidence I being a scientist have big problems with that.I also think that he suffers from a cultural bias, in that in Eurocentric cultures, at least, love as a concept actually refers to various different things, which roughly corresponds to the different types of love However, I think that it is just an accident of language that English has one word to refer to all of those, which gives the illusion that all of these concepts are inter related and compose a superset of human emotions However, one simply has to look to other cultures, and one will realize that there are actually different words that refer to these types of love Greek for example has four different words for what the English language refers to as love C S Lewis actually has a book discussing the Four Loves as seen in Christianity Thus, I fear that this book, which is in a way a typology of love may actually be resting on the false premise that there is something in common will all manifestations of love, and that Fromm is just undergoing an endeavor that is ontologically faulty This can be seen by the various differing assumptions that he makes regarding the different types of love.Speaking of assumptions, this is another part in which I have problems with He makes all these assumptions about the various characteristics of various loves but I can think of so many counter examples to prove him wrong.One assumption he has is the instinct of the mother to her offspring, and how that is the defining factor in motherly love He claims that mothers by virtue of giving birth of her child, are predisposed to love her child unconditionally I believe the contrary I think I can re explain every phenomenon he tackles with a simpler rule, without resorting to various other assumptions, and that is by claiming that love as we know it is simply a matter of constraint satisfaction and selfishness We show love to a target because we need something from the target whether it be one s child, one s brother, one s sexual partner, or one s God If the need goes away, then we stop showing love Thus, in the case of motherly love, when there is another need that is present in the mother, that runs counter to the need pertaining to the infant, then the mother will sooner or later give up the child for adoption, abandoning the infant in one way or another If motherly love were instinctive, then we won t actually be witness to the grave number of orphanages around the world.Another assumption he makes is the centrality of the male female opposition He claims that these two poles are necessary for real erotic love to happen By implication, he explicitly claims that homosexuals are incapable of love I tend to disagree Personally, I believe that humans can be post gendered and has the ability to be attracted to another person, regardless of the other person s gender, if one s constraints are set up that way Thus, gender variation for me is just a matter of constraint setting I do not like the fact that Fromm categorically eliminates the ability to love from non heterosexual people Perhaps it is just the sign of the times he was living in the book was published in 1956 , and important studies by Alfred Kinsey and Evelyn Hooker were not around yet As of 1956, homosexuality was still listed as a mental illness according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and wasn t removed from the list until 1974 Alfred Kinsey published two seminal volumes on sexual behavior of the human male and female, and Evelyn Hooker did several series of experiments providing evidence that self identified homosexuals were no worse in social adjustment than the general population I actually found her experiments rather neat, where she took two groups of samples homosexuals and heterosexuals She conducted three tests across the two groups the Thematic Apperception Test the Make a Picture Story Test and the Rorschach Inkblot Test She then asked other specialists to determine whether there is a significant difference between the two samples based on their test performance In all tests, the specialists ability to differentiate was no better than chance, suggesting that there are no significant differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals when it comes to social performance.Fromm also has a section on love of God Again, I can explain this by selfishness Love of God for me is simply another term for therapeutic delusion Humans sometimes need to feel that they are not in total control of their lives, to the point that they construct an entity higher than them This in effect removes the blame from themselves, whenever there is a tragic event that has happened Things that are seemingly beyond their control are given an explanation by invoking the notion of God This for me is a selfish act, because it s basically a form of a survival mechanism The human basically victimizes oneself and removes the responsibility and reassigns it to God Having belief in God also has a second function, and that is to give hope, hoping that the afterlife is better than the present, which again is a survival mechanism, because otherwise, people may not be able to survive the present.Now, I have tried to explain the concept of love by recasting it in terms of selfishness I do believe that human behavior can be reduced to two terms selfishness and curiosity Love is never self sacrificing Someone told me that we only continue to love if we are loved in return we love our mates as long as our mates love us If not, then the relationship breaks down.So the question is, do I believe in love I guess the answer depends on what that question actually means If by believing in love, it refers to the act of immediately finding oneself attracted to some other person, with no rhyme or reason, then I have to answer no However, if by believing in love, it refers to the act of ascertaining whether an individual is beneficial for oneself, that even though one can survive by its own, one has determined that the system can be improved by factoring in the other person, and therefore pursuing that person, then my answer is yes Love for me is a selfish act it s an act of system improvement It is an economic act, getting something from someone else in exchange for something else Thus, a successful relationship occurs whenever there are two people who mutually satisfies the needs of each other.So, I have offered here a counter explanation to the phenomenon of love I believe that it is a simpler explanation, satisfying Occam s Razor I have fewer assumptions constraint satisfaction and selfishness I only assume that those are the two big factors, and the variation on human behavior can be explained by modulating the various constraints that are different across the board I believe that my thesis here is also testable I could easily imagine a way to sample this, and one can run a regression model and see whether the factors really are significant or not Needless to say, I belong to the experimental psychology camp, than the Frankfurt School.And needless to say, I was dissatisfied with this book I am giving it 0.5 out of 5 stars. 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 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 instructions on how to meditate I like the way he puts it, on pages 101 102 If I am attached to another person because I cannot stand on my own feet, he or she may be a lifesaver, but the relationship is not one of love Paradoxically, the ability to be alone is the condition for the ability to love Anyone who tries to be alone with himself will discover how difficult it is He will begin to feel restless, fidgety, or even to sense considerable anxiety He will be prone to rationalize his unwillingness to go on with this practice by thinking that it has no value, is just silly, that it takes too much time, and so on, and so on He will also observe that all sorts of thoughts come to mind which take possession of him He will find himself thinking about his plans for later in the day, or about some difficulty in a job he has to do, or where to go in the evening, or about any number of things that fill his mind rather than permitting it to empty itself It would be helpful to practice a few very simple exercises, as for instance, to sit in a relaxed position neither slouching, nor rigid , to close one s eyes, and to try to see a white screen in front of one s eyes, and to try to remove all interfering pictures and thoughts, then to try to follow one s breathing not to think about it, nor force it, but to follow it and in doing so to sense it further to try to have a sense of I I myself, as the center of my powers, as the creator of my world One should, at least, do such a concentration exercise every morning for twenty minutes and if possible longer and every evening before going to bed.