The concepts of love in this book are really making me think. Here's something that I've been sharing with people looking to get their feedback.
From "The Art of Loving" by Erich Fromm, "Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one "object" of love. If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism. Yet, most people believe that love is constituted by the object, not by the faculty. In fact, they even believe that it is a proof of the intensity of their love when they do not love anybody except the "loved" person. This is the same fallacy which we have already mentioned above. Because one does not see that love is an activity, a power of the soul, one believes that all that is necessary to find is the right object--and that everything goes by itself afterward. This attitude can be compared to that of a man who wants to paint but who, instead of learning the art, claims that he just has to wait for the right object, and that he will paint beautifully when he finds it. If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world, I love life" (39).
Isn't this a fascinating idea? It sure takes the pressure off of people to find that "soul mate" in life. Instead of trying to find that one perfect person to love, a person should evaluate his or her own ability to love. In other words, it depends very little upon the receiver of the love but rather the ability of the lover to give his/her love away.