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The third way to attain union is through creative activity. Fromm suggests that all three of these solutions Orgastic States, Conformity, and Creative Activity enslave us to temporary passions:. In all these cases the person is the slave of a passion. It is quite obvious that in order to be sensitive to oneself, one has to have an image of complete, healthy human functioning. Thank you for that crisp and interesting review.

The Art of Loving [ Paperback , 50th Anniversary Edition ]

That checklist will indeed keep me on my toes. Must read. Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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Reply 4. There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.


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The only way to abate this track record of failure, Fromm argues, is to examine the underlying reasons for the disconnect between our beliefs about love and its actual machinery — which must include a recognition of love as an informed practice rather than an unmerited grace. Fromm writes:.

The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

The first step to take is to become aware that 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, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering. What are the necessary steps in learning any art? 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.


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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. Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon.

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