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Thread: The Art of Loving little book (best seller)

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    Love The Art of Loving little book (best seller)

    The Art of Loving, book PDF, 133 pages

    An enquiry into the nature of love, leads the author to resume that Love is like the things what they are, and not what we like the things to be, then, Love is a true based feeling and not an illusion of the ego.

    The Art of Loving argues that the active character of true love involves four basic elements: care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge. 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.

    In his book, Erich Fromm gives theoretical descriptions and practical applications of love in the widest sense of the word, descriptions and applications that are anything but shallow and trite. He describes the deepest roots of our yearning for love. Understanding these roots makes one’s pursuit of love a purposeful effort with a purposeful result, rather than just hoping to win some “love lottery”.

    Fromm makes a compelling argument that the kind of love that can solve our existential problems can be described both by what it is and what it is not. Describing what love is, he suggests that love is the answer to this problem of human existence, the only answer that is satisfactory and sane. Of course, depending on one’s understanding of love, this answer can sound shallow and trite.

    In short, Erich Fromm believes that love is not a noun or object, but a verb or practice. How you practice love with those around you depends on your approach and understanding of the existential problems of your life and, at the same time, determines the wholeness you will experience as a human being. In a more practical sense, reading The Art of Loving can give you tools to help you get out of the rut of disappointment and pain that your previous approach to love has kept you in, So, changing paradigm of the love game may be just what you need!

    SYNOPSIS

    Since it was first published "The Art of Loving" has become a classic, inspiring thousands of people with its clarity and power. Erich Fromm, the renowned psychoanalyst, sees love as the ultimate need and desire of all human beings. In this book, he discusses every aspect of the subject: romantic love, the love of parents for children, brotherly love, erotic love, self-love and the love of God or the divine. He looks at the theory of love as it appears throughout the cultures of the world and at the practice, how we show or fail to show love to one another. Love is an art, which we need to develop and practice in order to find true commitment. We need to find it, individually and as a society as a whole. Erich Fromm is one of the major figures in the field of psychoanalysis. He devoted himself to consultant psychology and theoretical investigation for many years. He was the author of numerous books, including " Fear of Freedom" and "Psychoanalysis and Zen", before his death in 1980.
    Last edited by Border Dog, 23rd November 2019 at 22:29.

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    1. Love, the Answer to the Problem of Human Existence (exerpts of the book)

    What is essential in the existence of man is the fact that he has emerged from the animal kingdom, from instinctive adaptation, that he has transcended nature—although he never leaves it; he is a part of it—and yet once torn away from nature, he cannot return to it; once thrown out of paradise—a state of original oneness with nature—cherubim with flaming swords block his way, if he should try to return.

    Man can only go forward by developing his reason, by finding a new harmony, a human one, instead of the prehuman harmony which is irretrievably lost.

    Man is gifted with reason; he is life being aware of itself; he has awareness of himself, of his fellow man, of his past, and of the possibilities of his future.

    This awareness of himself as a separate entity, the awareness of his own short life span, of the fact that without his will he is born and against his will he dies, that he will die before those whom he loves, or they before him, the awareness of his aloneness and separateness, of his helplessness before the forces of nature and of society, all this makes his separate, disunited existence an unbearable prison.

    He would become insane could he not liberate himself from this prison and reach out, unite himself in some form or other with men, with the world outside.

    One way of achieving this aim lies in all kinds of orgiastic states. These may have the form of an auto-induced trance, sometimes with the help of drugs. Many rituals of primitive tribes offer a vivid picture of this type of solution.

    In a transitory state of exaltation the world outside disappears, and with it the feeling of separateness from it. Inasmuch as these rituals are practiced in common, an experience of fusion with the group is added which makes this solution all the more effective.

    Closely related to, and often blended with this orgiastic solution, is the sexual experience. The sexual orgasm can produce a state similar to the one produced by a trance, or to the effects of certain drugs. Rites of communal sexual orgies were a part of many primitive rituals.

    It seems that after the orgiastic experience, man can go on for a time without suffering too much from his separateness.

    All forms of orgiastic union have three characteristics: they are intense, even violent; they occur in the total personality, mind and body; they are transitory and periodical.

    Exactly the opposite holds true for that form of union which is by far the most frequent solution chosen by man in the past and in the present: the union based on conformity with the group, its customs, practices and beliefs.

    Most people are not even aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists, that they have arrived at their opinions as the result of their own thinking and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as those of the majority. The consensus of all serves as a proof for the correctness of "their" ideas.

    This increasing tendency for the elimination of differences is closely related to the concept and the experience of equality, as it is developing in the most advanced industrial societies. Equality had meant, in a religious context, that we are all God's children, that we all share in the same humandivine substance, that we are all one.

    It meant also that the very differences between individuals must be respected, that while it is true that we are all one, it is also true that each one of us is a unique entity, is a cosmos by itself.

    Union by conformity is not intense and violent; it is calm, dictated by routine, and for this very reason often is insufficient to pacify the anxiety of separateness. The incidence of alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive sexualism, and suicide in contemporary Western society are symptoms of this relative failure of herd conformity.

    Furthermore, this solution concerns mainly the mind and not the body, and for this reason too is lacking in comparison with the orgiastic solutions. Herd conformity has only one advantage: it is permanent, and not spasmodic.

    The individual is introduced into the conformity pattern at the age of three or four, and subsequently never loses his contact with the herd.

    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 desire for union between the masculine and feminine poles.

    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.

    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 physiologically man and woman each have hormones of the opposite sex, they are bisexual also in the psychological sense.

    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 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 receiving 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.

    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.

    It must always be kept in mind that in each individual both characteristics are blended, but with the preponderance of those appertaining to "his" or "her" sex.

    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 unsure 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 masculinity. If the feminine sexuality is weakened or perverted, it is transformed into masochism, or possessiveness.
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    Quote Originally posted by Border Dog View Post
    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 physiologically man and woman each have hormones of the opposite sex, they are bisexual also in the psychological sense.
    Er, no, they're not ─ not even in the slightest. Either sexual polarity carries within it an empathy with the opposite sexual polarity ─ one cannot be polarized without knowledge of the opposite pole ─ but that is not the same thing as that everyone would be bisexual. The latter is an outdated claim from 1960s-1970s libertines as justification for their own indiscriminate hedonism ─ much of which manifested while under the influence of drugs.

    Quote Originally posted by Border Dog View Post
    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 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.
    <LOL> I think you've just antagonized every social justice warrior.
    = DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR =

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    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn View Post
    outdated claim from 1960s-1970s
    I agree. Not by coincidence, this book was published in 1956. It's important to understand the (historical) context life of the author, that was a psychologist very technical and pragmatic. Until 70's homosexualism was seen like a mental disturb. It even was considered illegal and imprisonable since old times by Portugal, Spain and England.

    But the author was careful to separate the biological from the psychological aspects. For example, in astral planes, it is very common to find masculine projections of women and feminine projections of men, the so-called desire bodies, not to mention neutral-looking ones that may even cause doubt.

    The issue of individual freedom prevails over the bio-ethical issue pointed to anti-physiologism, that means -- For man to be a woman, it's physiologically more difficult than for woman to be a woman, and vice versa.

    What each individual wants to do with his life is unquestionable, because each one (individually) has right and freedom to do so.

    The great wisdom of this book is -- Love is like the things as they are. Some arguments used for the author to reach this conclusion are strange outside the historical context in which they were created, but I think they could even be removed from the book without affecting the same conclusion.
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    IV. The Practice of Love

    Can anything be learned about the practice of an art, except by practicing it?

    The difficulty of the problem is enhanced by the fact that most people today, expect to be given prescriptions of "how to do it yourself," and that means in our case to be taught how to love.

    To love is a personal experience which everyone can only have by and for himself, In fact, there is hardly anybody who has not had this experience in a rudimentary way, at least, as a child, an adolescent, an adult. What the discussion of the practice of love can do is to discuss the premises of the art of loving, the approaches to it as it were, and the practice of these premises and approaches. The steps toward the goal can be practiced only by oneself, and discussion ends before the decisive step is taken.

    The practice of any art has certain general requirements, quite regardless of whether we deal with the art of carpentry, medicine, or the art of love. First of all, the practice of an art requires discipline. I shall never be good at anything if I do not do it in a disciplined way; anything I do only if "I am in the mood" may be a nice or amusing hobby, but I shall never become a master in that art.

    Does he not spend eight hours a day in a most disciplined way at a job which is strictly routinized? The fact, however, is that modern man has exceedingly little self-discipline outside of the sphere of work. When he does not work, he wants to be lazy, to slouch or, to use a nicer word, to "relax."

    Our culture leads to an unconcentrated and diffused mode of life, hardly paralleled anywhere else. You do many things at once; you read, listen to the radio, talk, smoke, eat, drink. This lack of concentration is clearly shown in our difficulty in being alone with ourselves. To sit still, without talking, smoking, reading, drinking, is impossible for most people. They become nervous and fidgety, and must do something with their mouth or their hands.

    Other factor is patience. Again, anyone who ever tried to master an art knows that patience is necessary if you want to achieve anything. If one is after quick results, one never learns an art. Yet, for modern man, patience is as difficult to practice as discipline and concentration.

    Eventually, a condition of learning any art is a supreme concern with the mastery of the art. If the art is not something of supreme importance, the apprentice will never learn it. He will remain, at best, a good dilettante, but will never become a master. This condition is as necessary for the art of loving as for any other art.

    It is essential, however, that discipline should not be practiced like a rule imposed on oneself from the outside, but that it becomes an expression of one's own will; that it is felt as pleasant, and that one slowly accustoms oneself to a kind of behavior which one would eventually miss, if one stopped practicing it. It is one of the unfortunate aspects of our Western concept of discipline (as of every virtue) that its practice is supposed to be somewhat painful and only if it is painful can it be "good."

    Concentration is by far more difficult to practice in our culture, in which everything seems to act against the ability to concentrate. The most important step in learning concentration is to learn to be alone with oneself without reading, listening to the radio, smoking or drinking. Indeed, to be able to concentrate means to be able to be alone with oneself—and this ability is precisely a condition for the ability to love.

    If I am attached to another person because I cannot stand on my own feet, he or she may be a lifesaver, but the relationship is not one of love. Paradoxically, the ability tobe alone is the condition for the ability to love. Anyone who tries to be alone with himself will discover how difficult it is.

    In contemporary society the people suggested for admiration and emulation are everything but bearers of significant spiritual qualities. Those are essentially in the public eye who give the average man a sense of vicarious satisfaction. Movie stars, radio entertainers, columnists, important business or government figures—these are the models for emulation. Their main qualification for this function is often that they have succeeded in making the news. Yet, the situation does not seem to be altogether hopeless.

    The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one's narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one's desires and fears.

    All forms of psychosis show the inability to be objective, to an extreme degree. For the insane person the only reality that exists is that within him, that of his fears and desires. He sees the world outside as symbols of his inner world, as his creation. All of us do the same when we dream.

    The insane person or the dreamer fails completely in having an objective view of the world outside; but all of us are more or less insane, or more or less asleep; all of us have an unobjective view of the world, one which is distorted by our narcissistic orientation.

    The faculty to think objectively is reason; the emotional attitude behind reason is that of humility. To be objective, to use one's reason, is possible only if one has achieved an attitude of humility, if one has emerged from the dreams of omniscience and omnipotence which one has as a child.

    Humility and objectivity are indivisible, just, as love is. I cannot be truly objective about my family if I cannot be objective about the stranger, and vice versa. If I want to learn the art of loving, I must strive for objectivity in every situation, and become sensitive to the situations where I am not objective.

    The practice of the art of loving requires the practice of faith. Is faith necessarily a matter of belief in God, or in religious doctrines? Is faith by necessity in contrast to, or divorced from, reason and rational thinking? Even to begin to understand the problem of faith one must differentiate between rational and irrational faith. By irrartional faith I understand the belief (in a person or an idea) which is based on one's submission to irrational authority. In contrast, rational faith is a conviction which is rooted in one's own experience of thought or feeling. Rational faith is not primarily belief in something, but the quality of certainty and firmness which our convictions have.

    Rational faith is rooted in productive intellectual and emotional activity. In rational thinking, in which faith is supposed to (have no place, rational faith is an important component. How does the scientist, for instance, arrive at a new discovery?

    The process of creative thinking in any field of human endeavor often starts with what may be called a "rational vision," itself a result of considerable previous study, reflective thinking, and observation. When the scientist succeeds in gathering enough data, or in working out a mathematical formulation to make his original vision highly plausible, he may be said to have arrived at a tentative hypothesis.

    The history of science is replete with instances of faith in reason and visions of truth. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton were all imbued with an unshakable faith in reason.

    Thought and judgment are not the only realm of experience in which rational faith is manifested. In the sphere of human relations, faith is an indispensable quality of any significant friendship or love. "Having faith" in another person means to be certain of the reliability and unchangeability of his fundamental attitudes, of the core of his personality, of his love. By this I do not mean that a person may not change his opinions, but that his basic motivations remain the same; that, for instance, his respect for life and human dignity is part of himself, not subject to change.

    In the same sense we have faith in ourselves. We are aware of the existence of a self, of a core in our personality which is unchangeable and which persists throughout our life in spite of varying circumstances, and regardless of certain changes in opinions and feelings. It is this core which is the reality behind the word "I," and on which our conviction of our own identity is based. Unless we have faith in the persistence of our self, our feeling of identity is threatened and we become dependent on other people whose approval then becomes the basis for our feeling of identity.

    Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others, because only he can be sure that he will be the same at a future time as he is today and, therefore, that he will feel and act as he now expects to.

    The faith in others has its culmination in faith in mankind. While irrational faith is rooted in submission to a power which is felt to be overwhelmingly strong, omniscient and omnipotent, and in the abdication of one's own power and strength, rational faith is based upon the opposite experise ence. We have this faith in a thought because it is the result of our own observation and thinking. We have faith in the potentialities of others, of ourselves, and of mankind because, and only to the degree to which, we have experienced the growth of our own potentialities, the reality of growth in ourselves, the strength of our own power of reason and of love. The basis of rational faith is productiveness; to live by our faith means to live productively.
    Last edited by Border Dog, 27th November 2019 at 06:59.

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