Went out each day with a smile and a shoeshine. His world was what the world wanted him to be. He never said, "I have the right to be me.
Erich Fromm Responds to Freud: And whereas Hobbes and Rousseau were concerned primarily with political institutions and economic inequality and thus focused on the physical development of human nature and society, Freud and Fromm are primarily psychologists and thus concerned with the human psyche and how the psyche forms and adapts itself to society.
Art must be distinguished from mere mechanical function. More narrowly, as Fromm uses the term and as I believe best captures its essential and proper meaning, an art is something that only free beings can engage in; it is a matter of creative expression, it is something that is neither natural nor necessary but comes to be only because one does it: I suggest that we can view these three premises, which for Fromm are of course mistaken premises, as all essentially alike in their tendency to objectify love.
According to the first premise, people today tend to view love as a matter of making themselves lovable, thus objectifying themselves; according to the second, people view love as a matter of obtaining the right object to love, thus objectifying the beloved; and according to the third, love itself is treated as a discrete entity unto itself, thus objectifying love itself.
Our awareness of our individual separateness is of course so natural and familiar to us that we can easily overlook how wondrous and mysterious it really is, but we should note that we can be fairly confident that no other beings we know of experience themselves as separate in this way.
It is fair to say that self-consciousness, and the freedom of will which we also tend to take for granted and which depends on and is the primary function of that self-consciousness, is not only a uniquely human characteristic, but also is precisely the characteristic that we most cherish as the defining feature of human nature itself.
Beyond that it arouses shame and the feeling of guilt. We should recall that before they ate the apple, Adam and Eve were prisoners of the Garden, if content prisoners, because they were not free: They experienced no separation from God or good and were thus incapable of doing evil because they did not even know that evil existed.
But with the knowledge of good and evil, they become free and thus cast out of the Garden to be on their own, blocked by flaming swords from any hope of a return to the perfect comfort of God, like being ripped from the perfect comfort of the womb, and aware now too of their mortality.
This primordial experience of separation amounts at once, in short, to the most glorious liberation and to an unbearable burden of personal responsibility. Asserts Fromm, it is this awareness of perfect separateness, not yet resolved in love, that occasions the shame of Adam and Eve: It is at the same time the source of anxiety and guilt.
Apart from the fact that such infatuation for it is not love does not last, it is clear that this love is based on the mistaken premise, noted previously, that love is about a discrete, momentary event or object, like the wedding, rather than a process of growth and evolution, like the marriage.
Thus, in the case when the two lovers become literally a fusion of one, the space for love, which is that space between the two individuals, is lost, and so too are the individuals and love itself.
So the paradox of mature love is that we do seek to become one with our beloved, while remaining two: Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity.
In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one yet remain two. Love is power, it is freedom, thus love is an activity, indeed the highest activity of humanity, the activity through which we define our selves as individuals.
Love is essentially a giving, for it is in our power to give that we realize power itself. Thus it is quite literally true that the more of ourselves we give, the more of ourselves we have, because the giving of ourselves is the establishment and assertion of our selves, of our power, of our freedom: In truth, all these varieties of love are simply so many varieties of the uniquely human way of being, and stem from what for Fromm, and most philosophers from Socrates to Sartre, is unique, in all existence, about human existence.
Four Characteristics of Mature Love: Care, Responsibility, Respect, Knowledge Fromm identifies four essential characteristics of love, which together indicate its nature as definitive of the free power of individual human being; these four characteristics are care, responsibility, respect and knowledge.
Responsibility designates the free voluntariness of love. But love is not a matter of possession, domination or control: Finally, love requires the knowing of the beloved, which is already implied in respect, since genuine respect can only be a function of such knowing, since one cannot respect something if one does not know what one is looking at.
The problem is, however, that, in short, human beings cannot fully be known, I cannot even know myself: The lack of such resolution within oneself results in an unbalanced personality that seeks to compensate for or mask its lack of one or the other polarity.
Thus, 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 unsure of his masculinity in a characterological sense. When the paralysis of masculinity is more extreme, sadism the use of force becomes the main—perverted—substitute for masculinity.
If the feminine sexuality is weakened or perverted, it is transformed into masochism, or possessiveness. It is thus that we observe, in this society, the resort to various alternatives to love to compensate for our lack of love or inability to love; these alternatives to love are shortcuts or quick fixes to which our technological, consumer society programs us to respond.
As my own example of this I suggest the communal experience of the passionate football fan who loses herself in the mass hysteria of the crowd, thus gaining a sense of overall unity; another extreme example would be one who feels so alone, and has so little sense of personal integrity, that he gives his entire personality over to a religious cult, thus gaining the identity of the cult, but of course losing his own.Erich Fromm’s exploration of love is an exercise in social theory.
He asks ‘is love an art?’, goes on to examine the theory of love, and then explores love and its disintegration in contemporary western society.
For a deeper look at Fromm's ideas on love, click on the following blue link to look at the excerpts from The Art of Loving CRAFTSMANSHIP. In Medieval and Renaissance times, especially the 13th and 14th centuries, craftsmanship reached one of the peaks in the evolution of creative work.
Erich Fromm Responds to Freud: The Art of Loving As Rousseau offers an eloquent and spirited response to Hobbes, so Erich Fromm () does to Freud. to live as a human being is to love, thus “the art of loving” is essentially another way of .
In his best-selling book The Art of Loving, German philosopher and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm () examines these questions and others relating to love, and he puts forward a strong argument that love is an art which must be developed and practiced with commitment and humility: it requires both knowledge and effort.
Fromm provides. Fromm saw loving the theme of love in erich fromms the art of loving as an art. In his best-selling book The Art of Loving, German philosopher and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm () examines these questions and others relating to love, and he puts forward a strong argument that love is an art which must be developed and practiced with commitment and humility: it requires both knowledge and effort.