The Art of Loving is a book by psychoanalyst and social philosopher Erich Fromm, which was published as part of the World Perspectives Series edited by. The Art of Loving book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The fiftieth Anniversary Edition of the groundbreaking interna. The Art of Loving and millions of other books are available for site Kindle. The Art of Loving Paperback – November 21, The renowned psychoanalyst and social philosopher Erich Fromm has helped millions of men and women achieve rich, productive lives by developing their.
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Art of Loving by Erich Fromm, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Enlarge Book Cover · Left hand banner . Learning to love, like other arts, demands practice and concentration. Even more Recipes for Self-Love book image. This book wants to show that love is not a sentiment which can be easily indulged in by anyone, regardless of the level of maturity reached.
The process of learning an art can be divided conveniently into two parts: one, the mastery of the theory; the other, the mastery of the practice.
If I want to learn the art of medicine, I must first know the facts about the human body, and about various diseases. When I have all this theoretical knowledge, I am by no means competent in the art of medicine. I shall become a master in this art only after a great deal of practice, until eventually the results of my theoretical knowledge and the results of my practice are blended into one — my intuition, the essence of the mastery of any art.
But, aside from learning the theory and practice, there is a third factor necessary to becoming a master in any art — the mastery of the art must be a matter of ultimate concern; there must be nothing else in the world more important than the art.
This holds true for music, for medicine, for carpentry — and for love. And, maybe, here lies the answer to the question of why people in our culture try so rarely to learn this art, in spite of their obvious failures: in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power — almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving.
In the remainder of the enduringly excellent The Art of Loving , Fromm goes on to explore the misconceptions and cultural falsehoods keeping us from mastering this supreme human skill, outlining both its theory and its practice with extraordinary insight into the complexities of the human heart.
Not to give would be painful. In the sphere of material things giving means being rich. Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much. The hoarder who is anxiously worried about losing something is, psychologically speaking, the poor, impoverished man, re- gardless of how much he has.
Whoever is capable of giving of himself is rich. He experiences himself as one who can confer of himself to others. Only one who is deprived of all that goes beyond the barest necessities for subsistence would be incapable of enjoying the act of giving material things. But daily experience shows that what a person considers the minimal necessities depends as much on his character as it depends on his actual possessions.
It is well known that the poor are more willing to give than the rich. Nevertheless, poverty beyond a certain point may make it impossible to give, and is so degrading, not only because of the suffering it causes directly, but because of the fact that it deprives the poor of the joy of giving. The most important sphere of giving, however, is not that of material things, but lies in the specifically human realm. What does one person give to another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has, he gives of his life.
This does not necessarily mean that he sacrifices his life for the other — but that he gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives him of his joy, of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowl- edge, of his humor, of his sadness — of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. He does not give in order to receive; giving is in itself exquisite joy. But in giving he cannot help bringing some- thing to life in the other person, and this which is brought to life reflects back to him; in truly giving, he cannot help re- ceiving that which is given back to him.
Giving implies to make the other person a giver also and they both share in the joy of what they have brought to life. In the act of giving something is born, and both persons involved are grateful for the life that is born for both of them. Specifically with regard to love this means: This thought has been beautifully expressed by Marx: If you wish to enjoy art, you must be an artis- tically trained person ; if you wish to have influence on other people, you must be a person who has a really stimulating and furthering influence on other people.
Every one of your relationships to man and to nature must be a definite ex- pression of your real, individual life corresponding to the object of your will. If you love without calling forth love, that is, if your love as such does not produce love, if by means of an expression of life as a loving person you do not make of yourself a loved person, then your love is impotent, a misfortune.
The teacher is taught by his students, the actor is stimu- lated by his audience, the psychoanalyst is cured by his 5 "Nationalokonomie und Philosophic," , published in Karl Marx' Die Friihschriften, Alfred Kroner Verlag, Stuttgart, , pp.
My translation, E. It is hardly necessary to stress the fact that the ability to love as an act of giving depends on the character develop- ment of the person.
It presupposes the attainment of a pre- dominantly productive orientation; in this orientation the person has overcome dependency, narcissistic omnipotence, the wish to exploit others, or to hoard, and has acquired faith in his own human powers, courage to rely on his powers in the attainment of his goals.
To the degree that these qualities are lacking, he is afraid of giving himself — hence of loving. 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. That love implies care is most evident in a mother's love for her child. No assurance of her love would strike us as sincere if we saw her lacking in care for the infant, if she neglected to feed it, to bathe it, to give it physical comfort; and we are impressed by her love if we see her caring for the child.
It is not different even with the love for animals or flowers. If a woman told us that she loved flowers, and we saw that she forgot to water them, we would not believe in her "love" for flowers.
Love is the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love. Where this active con- cern is lacking, there is no love. This element of love has been beautifully described in the book of Jonah.
God has told Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn its inhabitants that they will be punished unless they mend their evil ways.
He is a man with a strong sense of order and law, but without love. However, in his attempt to escape, he finds himself in the belly of a whale, symbolizing the state of isolation and im- prisonment which his lack of love and solidarity has brought upon him. God saves him, and Jonah goes to Nineveh. He preaches to the inhabitants as God had told him, and the very thing he was afraid of happens.
The men of Nineveh repent their sins, mend their ways, and God forgives them and decides not to destroy the city, Jonah is intensely angry and disappointed; he wanted "justice" to be done, not mercy. At last he finds some comfort in the shade of a tree which God had made to grow for him to protect him from the sun.
But when God makes the tree wilt, Jonah is de- pressed and angrily complains to God. God answers: And should I not spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand people that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
God explains to Jonah that the essence of love is to "labor" for something and "to make something grow," that love and labor are in- separable. One loves that for which one labors, and one labors for that which one loves. Care and concern imply another aspect of love; that of responsibility. Today responsibility is often meant to denote duty, something imposed upon one from the outside.
To be "responsible" means to be able and ready to "respond. He, like Cain, could ask: The life of his brother is not his brother's business alone, but his own.
He feels responsible for his fellow men, as he feels respon- sible for himself. This responsibility, in the case of the mother and her infant, refers mainly to the care for physical needs. In the love between adults it refers mainly to the psychic needs of the other person. Responsibility could easily deteriorate into domination and possessiveness, were it not for a third component of love, respect.
Respect means the concern that the other per- son should grow and unfold as he is. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me. If I love the other person, I feel one with him or her, but with him as he is, not as I need him to be as an object for my use. Respect exists only on the basis of freedom: Knowledge would be empty if it were not motivated by concern.
There are many layers of knowl- edge; the knowledge which is an aspect of love is one which does not stay at the periphery, but penetrates to the core. It is possible only when I can transcend the cencern for: Then I know that his anger I' is only the manifestation of something deeper, and I see him I ; as anxious and embarrassed, that is, as the suffering person, rather than as the angry one.
Knowledge has one more, and a more fundamental, re- lation to the problem of love. The basic need to fuse with another person so as to transcend the prison of one's separate- ness is closely related to another specifically human desire, that to know the "secret of man. We know ourselves, and yet even with all the efforts we may make, we do not know ourselves. We know our fel- low man, and yet we do not know him, because we are not a thing, and our fellow man is not a thing.
The further we ,.. Yet we cannot i; help desiring to penetrate into the secret of man's soul, into ' the innermost nucleus which is "he. The ultimate degree of this attempt to know lies in the extremes of sadism, the desire and ability to make a human being suffer; to torture him, to force him to betray his secret in his suffering.
In this craving for penetrat- ing man's secret, his and hence our own, lies an essential motivation for the depth and intensity of cruelty and destruc- tiveness. In a very succinct way this idea has been expressed by Isaac Babel. He quotes a fellow officer in the Russian civil war, who has just stamped his former master to death, as saying: With shooting you'll never get at the soul, to where it is in a fellow and how it shows itself.
But I don't spare myself, and I've more than once trampled an enemy for over an hour. You see, I want to get to know what life really is, what life's like down our way. The child takes something apart, breaks it up in order to know it; or it takes an animal apart; cruelly tears off the wings of a butterfly in order to know it, to force its secret. The cruelty itself is motivated by something deeper: The other path to knowing "the secret" is love.
Love is active penetration of the other person, in which my desire to know is stilled by union. In the act of fusion I know you, I know myself, I know everybody — and I "know" nothing. Sadism is motivated by the wish to know the secret, yet I remain as ignorant as I was before. I have torn the other being apart limb from limb, yet all I have done is to destroy him.
Love is the only way of knowledge, which in the act of union answers my quest.
In the act of loving, of giving myself, in the act of penetrating the other person, I find myself, I discover myself, I discover us both, I discover man.
The longing to know ourselves and to know our fellow man has been expressed in the Delphic motto "Know thy- self. But inasmuch as the desire is to know all of man, his innermost secret, the de- sire can never be fulfilled in knowledge of the ordinary kind, in knowledge only by thought. Even if we knew a thousand times more of ourselves, we would never reach bottom.
We would still remain an enigma to ourselves, as our fellow man would remain an enigma to us. The only way of full knowl- edge lies in the act of love: It is the daring plunge into the experience of union.
However, knowledge in thought, that is psycho- logical knowledge, is a necessary condition for full knowledge in the act of love. I have to know the other person and myself objectively, in order to be able to see his reality, or rather, to overcome the illusions, the irrationally distorted picture I have of him.
Only if I know a human being objectively, can I know him in his ultimate essence, in the act of love. In conventional Western theology the attempt is made to know God by thought, to make state- ments about God. It is assumed that I can know God in my thought. In mysticism, which is the consequent outcome of monotheism as I shall try to show later on , the attempt is given up to know God by thought, and it is replaced by the experience of union with God in which there is no more room — and no need — for knowledge about God.
The experience of union, with man, or religiously speak- ing, with God, is by no means irrational. On the contrary, it is as Albert Schweitzer has pointed out, the consequence of rationalism, its most daring and radical consequence.
It is based on our knowledge of the fundamental, and not acci- dental, limitations of our knowledge. It is the knowledge that we shall never "grasp" the secret of man and of the universe, but that we can know, nevertheless, in the act of love.
Psy- chology as a science has its limitations, and, as the logical consequence of theology is mysticism, so the ultimate conse- quence of psychology is love. Care, responsibility, respect and knowledge are mutually interdependent. They are a syndrome of attitudes which are to be found in the mature person; that is, in the person who develops his own powers productively, who only wants to have that which he has worked for, who has given up nar- cissistic dreams of omniscience and omnipotence, who has larity of psychology certainly indicates an interest in the knowledge of man, it also betrays the fundamental lack of love in human relations today.
Psychological knowledge thus becomes a substitute for full knowledge in the act of love, instead of being a step toward it. Thus far I have spoken of love as the overcoming of human separateness, as the fulfillment of the longing for union. But above the universal, existential need for union rises a more specific, biological one: The idea of this polarization is most strikingly expressed in the myth that originally man and woman were one, that they were cut in half, and from then on each male has been seeking for the lost female part of himself in order to unite again with her.
The same idea of the original unity of the sexes is also con- tained in the Biblical story of Eve being made from Adam's rib, even though in this story, in the spirit of patriarchalism, woman is considered secondary to man. The meaning of the myth is clear enough. Sexual polarization leads man to seek union in a specific way, that of union with the other sex.
The polarity between the male and female principles exists also within each man and each woman. Just as physiolog- ically man and woman each have hormones of the opposite sex, they are bisexual also in the psychological sense. They carry in themselves the principle of receiving and of penetrat- ing, of matter and of spirit.
Man — and woman — finds union within himself only in the union of his female and his male polarity. This polarity is the basis for all creativity. The male-female polarity is also the basis for interpersonal creativity.
This is obvious biologically in the fact that the union of sperm and ovum is the basis for the birth of a child. But in the purely psychic realm it is not different; in the love between man and woman, each of them is reborn. The 34 THE ART OF LOVING homosexual deviation is a failure to attain this polarized union, and thus the homosexual suffers from the pain of never-resolved separateness, a failure, however, which he shares with the average heterosexual who cannot love.
The same polarity of the male and female principle exists in nature; not only, as is obvious in animals and plants, but in the polarity of the two fundamental functions, that of re- ceiving and that of penetrating.
It is the polarity of the earth and rain, of the river and the ocean, of night and day, of darkness and light, of matter and spirit. This idea is beauti- fully expressed by the great Muslim poet and mystic, Rumi: Never, in sooth, does the lover seek without being sought by his beloved. When the lightning of love has shot into this heart, know that there is love in that heart.
When love of God waxes in thy heart, beyond any doubt God hath love for thee. No sound of clapping comes from one hand without the other hand. Divine Wisdom is destiny and decree made us lovers of one another. Because of that fore-ordainment every part of the world is paired with its mate. In the view of the wise, Heaven is man and Earth woman: Earth fosters what Heaven lets fall.
When Earth lacks heat, Heaven sends it; when she has lost her freshness and moisture, Heaven restores it. Heaven goes on his rounds, like a husband foraging for the wife's sake; And Earth is busy with housewiferies: Unless these twain taste pleasure from one another, why are they creeping together like sweethearts?
Without the Earth, how should flower and tree blos- som? What, then, would Heaven's water and heat produce? As God put desire in man and woman to the end that the world should be preserved by their union, So hath He implanted in every part of existence the desire for another part. Day and Night are enemies outwardly; yet both serve one purpose, Each in love with the other for the sake of perfecting their mutual work, Without Night, the nature of Man would receive no income, so there would be nothing for Day to spend.
I have spoken before of Freud's error in seeing in love exclu- sively the expression — or a sublimation — of the sexual in- stinct, rather than recognizing that the sexual desire is one manifestation of the need for love and union. But Freud's error goes deeper. In line with his physiological materialism, he sees in the sexual instinct the result of a chemically pro- duced tension in the body which is painful and seeks for re- lief.
The aim of the sexual desire is the removal of this pain- ful tension; sexual satisfaction lies in the accomplishment of this removal. This view has its validity to the extent that the 8 R. Sexual desire, in this concept, is an itch, sexual satisfaction the removal of the itch. In fact, as far as this concept of sexuality is concerned, masturbation would be the ideal sexual satisfaction.
What Freud, paradoxically enough, ignores, is the psycho-biological aspect of sexuality, the masculine-feminine polarity, and the desire to bridge this polarity by union. This curious error was probably facilitated by Freud's extreme patriarchalism, which led him to the assumption that sexuality per se is masculine, and thus made him ignore the specific female sexuality.
He expressed this idea in the Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, saying that the libido has regularly "a masculine nature," regardless of whether it is the libido in a man or in a woman. The same idea is also expressed in a rationalized form in Freud's theory that the little boy experi- ences the woman as a castrated man, and that she herself seeks for various compensations for the loss of the male genital.
But woman is not a castrated man, and her sexuality is specifically feminine and not of "a masculine nature. In fact, erotic at- traction is by no means only expressed in sexual attraction. There is masculinity and femininity in character as well as in sexual junction. The masculine character can be defined as having the qualities of penetration, guidance, activity, dis- cipline and adventurousness; the feminine character by the qualities of productive receptiveness, protection, realism, en- durance, motherliness.
Very often if the masculine character traits of a man are weakened because emotionally he has remained a child, he will try to compensate for this lack by the exclusive emphasis on his male role in sex. The result is the Don Juan, who needs to prove his male prowess in sex because he is un- sure of his masculinity in a characterological sense. When the paralysis of masculinity is more extreme, sadism the use of force becomes the main— a perverted— substitute for mas- culinity.
If the feminine sexuality is weakened or perverted, it is transformed into masochism, or possessiveness. Freud has been criticized for his overevaluation of sex.
This criticism was often prompted by the wish to remove an element from Freud's system which aroused criticism and hostility among conventionally minded people. Freud keenly sensed this motivation and for this very reason fought every attempt to change his theory of sex. Indeed, in his time, Freud's theory had a challenging and revolutionary charac- ter. But what was true around is not true any more fifty years later.
The sexual mores have changed so much that Freud's theories are not any longer shocking to the Western middle classes, and it is a quixotic kind of radical- ism when orthodox analysts today still think they are coura- geous and radical in defending Freud's sexual theory.
In fact, their brand of psychoanalysis is conformist, and does not try to raise psychological questions which would lead to a criticism of contemporary society. My criticism of Freud's theory is not that he overempha- sized sex, but his failure to understand sex deeply enough. In the further development of psychoanalysis it is necessary to correct and deepen Freud's concept by translating Freud's insights from the physiological into the biological and existential dimen- sion.
Even after being born, the infant is hardly different from what it was before birth; it cannot recognize objects, it is not yet aware of itself, and of the world as being outside of itself.
It only feels the positive stimulation of warmth and food, and it does not yet differentiate warmth and food from its source: Mother is warmth, mother is food, mother is the euphoric state of satisfaction and security. This state is one of narcissism, to use Freud's term. The outside reality, per- sons and things, have meaning only in terms of their satisfy- ing or frustrating the inner state of the body.
Real is only what is within; what is outside is real only in terms of my needs — never in terms of its own qualities or needs. His concept of the former eros as a principle of synthesis and unification is on an entirely different plane from that of his libido concept. But in spite of the fact that the theory of life and death instincts was accepted by orthodox analysts, this acceptance did not lead to a fundamental revision of the libido concept, especially as far as clinical work is concerned.
Eventually the child experiences his thirst, the satis- fying milk, the breast and the mother, as different entities.
He learns to perceive many other things as being different, as having an existence of their own. At this point he learns to give them names.
At the same time he learns to handle them; learns that fire is hot and painful, that mother's body is warm and pleasureful, that wood is hard and heavy, that paper is light and can be torn. He learns how to handle peo- ple; that mother will smile when I eat; that she will take me in her arms when I cry; that she will praise me when I have a bowel movement. All these experiences become crys- tallized and integrated in the experience: I am loved because I am mother's child. I am loved because I am helpless.
I am loved because I am beautiful, admirable. I am loved because mother needs me. To put it in a more general formula: This experience of being loved by mother is a passive one.
There is nothing I have to do in order to be loved — mother's love is uncon- ditional. All I have to do is to be — to be her child. Mother's love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. But there is a negative side, too, to the uncondi- tional quality of mother's love. Not only does it not need to be deserved — it also cannot be acquired, produced, con- trolled.
If it is there, it is like a blessing; if it is not there, it is as if all beauty had gone out of life — and there is nothing I can do to create it. The child up to this age does not yet love; he responds gratefully, joyfully to being loved.
At this point of the child's development a new factor enters into the picture: For the first time, the child thinks of giv- ing something to mother or to father , of producing some- thing — a poem, a drawing, or whatever it may be. For the first time in the child's life the idea of love is transformed from being loved into loving; into creating love. It takes many years from this first beginning to the maturing of love.
Eventually the child, who may now be an adolescent, has overcome his egocentricity; the other person is not any more primarily a means to the satisfaction of his own needs. The needs of the other person are as important as his own — in fact, they have become more important.
To give has become more satisfactory, more joyous, than to receive; to love, more important even than being loved. By loving, he has left the prison cell of aloneness and isolation which was constituted by the state of narcissism and self-centeredness.
He feels a sense of new union, of sharing, of oneness. More than that, he feels the potency of producing love by loving — rather than the dependence of receiving by being loved — and for that reason having to be small, helpless, sick — or "good.
The first months and years of the child are those where his closest attachment is to the mother. This attachment begins before the moment of birth, when mother and child are still one, although they are two. Birth changes the situation in some respects, but not as much as it would appear. The child, while now living outside of the womb, is still completely dependent on mother.
But daily he becomes more independent: In order to understand this shift from mother to father, we must consider the essential differences in quality between motherly and fatherly love. We have already spoken about motherly love. Motherly love by its very nature is uncondi- tional. Mother loves the newborn infant because it is her child, not because the child has fulfilled any specific condi- tion, or lived up to any specific expectation.
Of course, when I speak here of mother's and father's love, I speak of the "ideal types" — in Max Weber's sense or of an archetype in Jung's sense — and do not imply that every mother and father loves in that way. I refer to the fatherly and motherly principle, which is represented in the motherly and fatherly person. Unconditional love corresponds to one of the deepest longings, not only of the child, but of every human being; on the other hand, to be loved because of one's merit, because one deserves it, always leaves doubt; maybe 42 THE ART OF LOVING I did not please the person whom I want to love me, maybe this, or that — there is always a fear that love could disappear.
Furthermore, "deserved" love easily leaves a bitter feeling that one is not loved for oneself, that one is loved only because one pleases, that one is, in the last analy- sis, not loved at all but used. No wonder that we all cling to the longing for motherly love, as children and also as adults.
Most children are lucky enough to receive motherly love to what extent will be discussed later. As adults the same longing is much more difficult to fulfill. In the most satisfactory development it remains a component of normal erotic love; often it finds expression in religious forms, more often in neurotic forms. The relationship to father is quite different. Mother is the home we come from, she is nature, soil, the ocean; father does not represent any such natural home.
He has little con- nection with the child in the first years of its life, and his importance for the child in this early period cannot be com- pared with that of mother.
But while father does not repre- sent the natural world, he represents the other pole of human existence; the world of thought, of man-made things, of law and order, of discipline, of travel and adventure. Father is the one who teaches the child, who shows him the road into the world. Closely related to this function is one which is connected with socio-economic development. When private property came into existence, and when private property could be in- herited by one of the sons, father began to look for that son to whom he could leave his property.
Fatherly love is conditional love. Its principle is "I love you because you fulfill my expectations, because fyou do your duty, because you are like me.
The negative aspect is the very fact that fatherly love has to be deserved, that it can be lost if one does not do what is expected. In the nature of fatherly love lies the fact that obedience becomes the main virtue, that disobedience is the main sin — and its punishment the withdrawal of fatherly love. The positive side is equally important. Since his love is conditioned, I can do something to acquire it, I can work for it; his love is not outside of my control as motherly love is.
The mother's and the father's attitudes toward the child correspond to the child's own needs. The infant needs mother's unconditional love and care physiologically as well as psychically.
The child, after six, begins to need father's love, his authority and guidance. Mother has the function of making him secure in life, father has the function of teaching him, guiding him to cope with those problems with which the particular society the child has been born into confronts him. In the ideal case, mother's love does not try to prevent the child from growing up, does not try to put a premium on helplessness.
Mother should have faith in life, hence not be overanxious, and thus not infect the child with her anxiety. Part of her life should be the wish that the child become independent and eventually separate from her. It should give the growing child an increasing sense of competence and eventually permit him to become his own authority and to dispense with that of father.
Eventually, the mature person has come to the point where he is his own mother and his own father. He has, as it were, a motherly and a fatherly conscience.
Motherly conscience says: In contrast to Freud's concept of the super-ego, however, he has built them inside not by incorporating mother and father, but by building a motherly conscience on his own capacity for love, and a fatherly conscience on his reason and judgment. Fur- thermore, the mature person loves with both the motherly and the fatherly conscience, in spite of the fact that they seem to contradict each other.
If he would only retain his fatherly conscience, he would become harsh and inhuman. If he would only retain his motherly conscience, he would be apt to lose judgment and to hinder himself and others in their development. In this development from mother-centered to father- centered attachment, and their eventual synthesis, lies the basis for mental health and the achievement of maturity. In the failure of this development lies the basic cause for neurosis.
One cause for neurotic development can lie in the fact ithat a boy has a loving, but overindulgent or domineering phother, and a weak and uninterested father. In this case he Ityfiay remain fixed at an early mother attachment, and de- fcivelop into a person who is dependent on mother, feels help- Mtess, has the strivings characteristic of the receptive person, ptliat is, to receive, to be protected, to be taken care of, and pvho has a lack of fatherly qualities — discipline, independ- ence, an ability to master life by himself.
If, on the fether hand, the mother is cold, unresponsive and domineer- ng, he may either transfer the need for motherly protection: Further exami- P nation may show that certain types of neurosis, like obses- Sional neurosis, develop more on the basis of a one-sided 46 THE ART OF LOVING father attachment, while others, like hysteria, alcoholism, in- ability to assert oneself and to cope with life realistically, and depressions, result from mother-centeredness.
If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism. Yet, most people believe that love is constituted by the object, not by the faculty.
In fact, they even believe that it is a proof of the intensity of their love when they do not love anybody except the "loved" person.
This is the same fallacy which we have already mentioned above. Because one does not see that love is an activity, a power of the soul, one believes that all that is necessary to find is the right object — and that everything goes by itself afterward. This attitude can be compared to that of a man who wants to paint but who, instead of learning the art, claims that he has just to wait for the right object, and that he will paint beautifully when he finds it.
If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world, I love life. This should be considered a rare achievement p. Fromm defended these opinions also in interview with Mike Wallace when he states: "love today is a relatively rare phenomenon, that we have a great deal of sentimentality; we have a great deal of illusion about love, namely as a But the question is that one cannot fall in love, really; one has to be in love.
And that means that loving becomes, and the ability to love, becomes one of the most important things in life. Each of these is difficult to define and can differ markedly depending on the people involved and their circumstances. Seen in these terms, love is hard work, but it is also the most rewarding kind of work. One of the book's concepts is self-love. According to Fromm, loving oneself is quite different from arrogance, conceit or egocentrism. Loving oneself means caring about oneself, taking responsibility for oneself, respecting oneself, and knowing oneself e.