I find this book increasingly hilarious and luminous as I think about it--and that's despite the feeling of being buried beneath the crushing weight oI find this book increasingly hilarious and luminous as I think about it--and that's despite the feeling of being buried beneath the crushing weight of my own ignorance. That's probably pretty appropriate (given that we know both everything and nothing).
What am I left with: the grotesqueness of beauty and the beauty of grotesqueness. What else: accretion and erosion as a material frame of materials.
Fromm did himself, and I suppose everyone, a disservice by compartmentalizing people's development and experiences related to love, as well as own theFromm did himself, and I suppose everyone, a disservice by compartmentalizing people's development and experiences related to love, as well as own theoretical constructs (i.e. styles/types of love). It is understandable that he would employ ideas from Freudian Psychology (Psychoanalytic Theory) given that, in the 1950's, he'd be choosing between that or Behaviourism which I'd have to guess would lead to not a very fruitful book on the subject of love. Anyway, much of his categorizations are explained and described using Freud's framework which in the light of today looks a little pallid. Don't get me wrong, I don't think any modern breed of Psychology would exactly improve on Psychoanalytic Theory for this purpose; I have to guess that any attempt to explain why people may have the different relationship styles they do is doomed to involve speculations and broad generalizations which would be consequently offensive in their failure to acknowledge the complexity and dynamic nature of human lives. Another feature perhaps influenced by Freud, but just as likely influenced by the era, is the extent to which and the ways in which concepts are genderized. You have motherly love, fatherly love, brotherly love, feminine this and masculine that...Again, the inclination to use these terms is understandable given the context in which the book was written, but especially now, we know there is no need to use these terms; not only does it serves to categorize parts of a whole that need not and should not be broken down, but it doubly enforces the separation of the categories through the image that they would involve the inherent qualities of some that are not natural or accessible to others. Using the actual words intended to be encompassed by something like "motherly" would be more descriptive, illuminating, informative, inclusive. Fromm does use these other words, but my suggestion would be just to get rid of the genderization completely. I should also mention that he does say that everyone possesses the "masculine" and "feminine" qualities, but the sheer use of these words, or any that would classify people into different groups with inherently different qualities and roles, serves mainly to preserve the notion of fragmention that causes antagonism between those groups. This is ironically counter to the goal of promoting love.
I'm sorry if I'm not giving you all the reasons you'd be requiring here, but I really didn't start this off to do anything that comprehensive. I need to mention how Fromm glosses over homosexuality as merely deviant behaviour. To keep it short, knowing more about the biology of sex now, being able to see more of the micro-level, it doens't make a lot of sense to say that humans strive to "unite the sexual poles" because as it turns out, the idea that there are sexual poles is at least somewhat illusory. Like most of life, biological sex seems to be on a contiuum. Granted, there is a lot of poeple whom we might classify as definitely male or definitely female, but there are people, real alive people, between those poles. There's lots of variation in hormonal balances and there is also variation in chromosomal configuration. So then, how do all the people in the middle seek to unite the sexual poles? Are they going to go off and find that person on the symmetrically opposite point of some universal graph? Um.
Anyway, the book I gave three stars to because aside from these criticisms, there was a lot that I valued about it. Fromm was one heck of an insightful guy and he had many wonderfully enriching things to say on the highest goal a person can have: to love.