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Art Of Loving

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Upon reading Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving, I gained a better understanding of what love really is. Fromm's book puts love into perspective. He begins with several facts with regards to the attitude in which people treat love. They are the problems of how to be loved, the object to love as well as the confusion between the initial experience of falling in love and the permanent state of being in love, which had a great impact on me, as far as thinking about what love is.

Strangers meet, they break down social walls between one another, and they feel close, as one. They supposedly fell in love with one another, to Fromm, falling in love is not love, it's more infatuation. Fromm describes it as "one of the most exhilarating and most exciting experiences in life. Fromm argues that this initial infatuation feeling slowly and naturally loses it miraculous character overtime, as the couple gets more acquainted

and learn more and more about each other. Fromm says that problem occurs when people confuse feelings of infatuation for proof of the intensity of their love. The feelings of infatuation eventually subside and the result is the wish for a new conquest, a new love with a new stranger. Again the stranger is transformed into the "intimate" person, and again the experience of falling in love is exhilarating and intense and it once again slowly becomes less and less and once again the cycle repeats itself. Fromm says that these illusions are greatly helped by the deceptive character of sexual desires. Sexual desire can be stimulated by the anxiety of being alone, the wish to conquer, vanity, or the wish to hurt or even destroy someone. Some people mistake sexual desire with the idea of love, they are easily misled to conclude that they love each other when they want each other physically. Fromm states that if a person's desire for physical union is not stimulated by love, and romantic love is also not coupled with other forms of love, it will never lead to a union more than an "orgiastic, transitory sense." So what will end up happening is the person who gets scarred by love will begin to destroy or sabotage love in the future, in order to avoid the painful feelings associated with love gone wrong or to avoid vulnerability and basically not surrender to love.

Fromm asks, is love an art, or is love a pleasant sensation or feeling which to experience is a matter of chance, i.e. something one, "falls into," if you are lucky. Fromm asserts that love is an art, and says that to truly love, in all it's forms, you must possess Maturity, self-knowledge; and Courage.

Many people pursue objects of affection, or objects of love, and treat them as possessions. Fromm states that love is the ability to love in different forms, brotherly love, romantic love, motherly love etc. Since Fromm says that love is an art to be practiced, it can only be practiced in freedom with one another. You can not treat others as objects or possessions for your own egotistical or selfish purposes because this behavior will only result in destruction and you will never mow or attain true love.

Erikson's psychosocial stages of development states that in order to find intimacy and know "who you are," you must resolve your conflict in the "Identity vs. Role Confusion" Stage. Some individuals who never find true love can be thought of as not having successfully completed the stage. They never resolved their conflict thereby resulting in role confusion. Fromm states that in order to love, you must have self-love. How can you love yourself, if you don't know "who you are?" This is what I feel creates the possessive love, the hurtful love, and the love that is taken for granted. It's the one nightstand; "I'll call you" love.

Fromm describes what he calls the essential components that need to be mastered for all forms



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