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The Art of Loving

The classic guide to love

By Erich Fromm
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
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The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

The Art of Loving (1956) argues that love, like any other creative art, is something humans must practice in order to master. German-born psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm describes various forms of love and highlights threats posed to them by capitalist society.

Key idea 1 of 6

Love is an art – but few people see it this way.

What is love? An overwhelming sensation that we hope to experience? A chance encounter? All we need in life? While it can be all of these things, there’s more to love than passion and fate. Much like any other form of art, love must be learned.

And yet, most of us think there’s little to be learned about love. Why? Well, we assume that love gets complicated when it comes to receiving it. When relationships fail, we often blame ourselves: we simply weren’t lovable enough.

On top of this, we live in a culture of consumption, a culture that’s made love into just another commodity to be traded on the market. So we approach it with a market mindset. When two people fall in love, they feel that they’ve found the best object available on the market in light of their own exchange value.

Finally, we’re continually confusing the different states of love. Are we falling in love, or are we being in love? That sudden and stunning period of intimacy we feel after falling in love is often the result of sexual attraction. Yet, when it disappears, we often feel that love itself has disappeared, too!

These false conceptions of love must be overcome.

We can start doing this by changing our perspective on love – to learn it as we would learn to paint or play the piano. And just like painting or piano playing, it all starts with theory.

So, in the following blinks, let’s explore what the theory of love entails and how we can put that theory into action.

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