Erich Fromm Essay, Research Paper
Erich Fromm, an American psychoanalyst, is best known for his application of psychoanalytic theory to social and cultural problems. He was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and educated at the universities of Heidelberg and Munich and at the Psychoanalytic Institute in Berlin. He immigrated to the United States in 1934 and subsequently became a citizen. The theories of Fromm lay particular emphasis on the concept that society and the individual are not separate and opposing forces. That the nature of society is determined by its historic background, and that the needs and desires of individuals are largely formed by their society. As a result, Fromm believed, the fundamental problem of psychoanalysis and psychology is not to resolve conflicts between fixed and unchanging instinctive drives in the individual and the fixed demands and laws of society; but to bring about harmony and an understanding of the relationship between the individual, God, and society.
Love is the ultimate need and desire of all human beings. In The Art of Loving, Fromm 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. 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 for one another. Love is an art, which we need to develop and practice in order to find true contentment. We need to find it individually as well as a society as a whole.
Fromm talks about romantic love and the fallacies that go with it. Searching for this kind of “in love” feeling is a search for the ideal, which doesn’t exist in this world–only in heaven, or whatever your idea of paradise is. Romeo and Juliet love is beautiful in literature and poetry, but it cannot survive for any significant amount of time in our world for by nature, being “in love” is a conglomeration of mixed feelings and emotions–feelings which are fleeting and fickle, based on one’s perceptions–not on what is real. After the feelings fade, you are left staring at the face of a stranger, no longer the light of your life, or the fire in your furnace, but a real, breathing, fallible human being much like yourself.
It makes sense. We arrive in this world alone–we die alone–all we really have is ourselves, even when we are part of a loving relationship. Ultimately, we must account for our own life’s mistakes as well. Therefore, we must learn to establish a healthier way of thinking about love and focus our attention inward. Once we love ourselves, warts and all, then we can release that healthy love to others in an endless chain of kindness and compassion.
The true Art of Loving deals not only with how one feels which is connected with the subconscious mind, it also deals very much with the conscious mind and Superconscious mind. The true Art of Loving involves not just the feeling of love, romantic and sexual feelings, but also what one would call a mental attitude of love. This means first off, a commitment to unconditionally love at all times with your partner, even if you don’t feel like it. You may feel angry, and feel like emotionally attacking your partner, however in the true Art of Loving this is not something you give into, for from a spiritual perspective this would be a total indulgence in your negative ego.
The Art of Loving from a Spiritual perspective is always unconditionally loving and never conditionally loving. It is never attacking or judgmental. It only shares loving observations, Spiritual discernment s and preferences. The spiritual art of loving always forgives even if your own negative ego doesn’t feel like it. Spiritual love always communicates in a calm, rational, unconditionally loving manner, and does not argue or engage in ego battles. Spiritual love is tolerant, patient, and always a love finder not a faultfinder. One of the keys to The Art of Loving is having an attitude of love, not just feelings of love. Over a long-term relationship it is very unlikely that any relationship would last without both partners developing The Art of Loving in their mental bodies as well as their emotional bodies. People who have developed the Art of Loving in their mental body understand that to be right in a relationship, they must first be right with self and right with GOD. If you are not right with self and right with GOD you will also be off-center and disconnected from your partner. This is because our thoughts create our reality.
Religious life reflects an individual s attempt to live in accordance with the precepts of a religious tradition. For example, Buddhists imitate the Buddha; Christians strive to be Christ-like; and followers of the mystical Dao (or Tao, the Chinese term for the ultimate way of the universe) practice noninterference with the natural course of things. Religious experience also reflects the variety of cultural expressions in general: It can be formal or spontaneous, solemn or festive, hierarchical or egalitarian. It can emphasize submission or liberation; it can be devotional or contemplative; it can involve fear or joy; it can be comforting or disruptive; it can encourage reliance on powers outside oneself or on personal responsibility. In almost all religion s the goal is to be one with God. The Bible says, God is love, that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins, and therefore that if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another, for if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us (4:8-12).
The Art of Loving had some very interesting points. Most of his points relate very well to relationships and people today. Too many people think that love just happens and that it will work out by itself if it s meant to be. Love is something that needs to be worked on, Love is an activity, not a passive affect love is primarily giving, not receiving, and, Love is the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love. There are also important elements that are necessary for healthy relationships. “These are care, responsibility, respect and knowledge. Respect is the element that, is the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. The most important point is that of mature love. The love that says, I need you because I love you. In other words, I am loved because I love.