by Parvati Roy / last updated on - Sep 14, 2020
TITLE - THE Art Of Loving
AUTHOR – ERICH SELIGMANN FROMM
PUBLICATION DATE – 1956
GENRE – Self-Help Book
PAGE COUNT – 133
Erich Seligmann Fromm (March 23 ,1900 – March 18, 1980) was a social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher and democratic socialist. He was a German Jew who fled the Nazi regime and settled in the US. He was one of the founders of The William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology in New York City and was associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. From the very beginning, Fromm’s sociological interest actually was a social- psychological one, addressed to the question of what causes people to think, feel and behave in a uniform way. When the first world war ended in 1918, he was deeply troubled as a young man who was obsessed by the question of how war was possible, by the wish to understand the irrationality of human mass behaviour, by a passionate desire for peace and understanding.
‘The Art of loving‘ is a seminal work in developing the psychology of a person’s growth. A classic in its own time and an international best- seller. Fromm presents love as a skill that can be taught and developed. Love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love, we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, be it medicine, music, dance, painting, carpentry, engineering. He opposes the idea of loving as something pleasant, mysterious and magical that cannot be analysed and explained and is therefore sceptical about popular ideas such as ‘falling in love’ or being ‘helpless in the face of love. In this frank and free-spoken work, Fromm guides us in developing our capacity for love in all its realistic and chivalrous form, self- love, parental love, romantic love, brotherly love, erotic love and love of God. Modern capitalism has led to man being alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature. There is no division of labour between love for one’s own, love for strangers and love for nature. Beyond the element of giving, the active character of love becomes evident in the fact that it always implies certain basic elements, common to all forms of love. These are care, responsibility, respect and knowledge. They are a syndrome of attitudes which are to be found in the mature person; that is, in the person who develops his own power productively, who only wants to have that which he has worked for, who has given up narcissistic dreams of omniscience and omnipotence, who has acquired humility based on the inner strength which only genuine productive activity can give. The book discusses about love and its disintegration in contemporary western society and the practice of loving.
This book is one of the best self- help guide that I read this year so far. I’m really amazed by the author’s thesis on the art of loving with his simple, logical and realistic description of life events both from history and present scenario. On the personal front, I get to learn the difference between ‘of being loved’ vs ‘that of loving’, ‘falling in love’ vs ‘being in love’, ‘sameness’ vs ‘oneness’, ‘symbiotic union’ vs ‘mature love’. Furthermore, this book is a true eye opener on how self- discipline, concentration and patience forms the building blocks in the practice of love and helps us learn about the principle of capitalistic society and the principle of love.
My personal rating – 8.5/10
Writing style – 9/10
This book is a critically acclaimed self- help guide for character and personality development with the aim of learning the art of loving and I believe it fulfills its aim. So, please do give it a read if you are interested in this genre. I hope you enjoy it.
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