Jayesh 's Reviews > The Art of Loving

The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm
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really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction

The title is a bit of a misnomer. It's not really a self-help book of any kind but rather a philosophical/introspective book trying to dissect the different meanings of the complicated word love. Its main premise is that love is quite different from what popular culture has come to define it. So instead of infatuation with a person, it becomes an attitude with which a person relates to the world. It's fairly short, so easy to recommend. Some interesting highlights:
Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one's capacity to love. Hence the problem to them is how to be loved, how to be lovable.

I should add here that just as it is important to avoid trivial conversation, it is important to avoid bad company. By bad company I do not refer only to people who are vicious and destructive; one should avoid their company because their orbit is poisonous and depressing. I mean also the company of zombies, of people whose soul is dead, although their body is alive; of people whose thoughts and conversation are trivial; who chatter instead of talk, and who assert cliché opinions instead of thinking. However, it is not always possible to avoid the company of such people, nor even necessary. If one does not react in the expected way—that is, in clichés and trivialities—but directly and humanly, one will often find that such people change their behavior, often helped by the surprise effected by the shock of the unexpected.

However it's an old book (1950s) and therefore a product of its time - homosexuals are incapable of true love - transsexuals don't even exist - gender roles are pretty strict - starts off with Freud's teachings about love and sexuality rather than more modern perspectives. If you can discount all that, it was quite a stimulating read. Also connects to what I think Chiang was trying to show in Hell is the Absence of God.

I can't remember how I came across this book.
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Reading Progress

March 25, 2017 – Shelved
March 25, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
June 23, 2017 – Started Reading
June 23, 2017 –
June 24, 2017 – Shelved as: non-fiction
June 24, 2017 – Finished Reading

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