Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What is Love Anyways?

I'm working through a great book called The Art of Loving written by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm. The book itself is pretty old, the pages and cover are more flesh-colored than the original white in which they were printed, and the copyright is 1956. But Fromm's writing is full of gems, and it's clear why this book has continued to be published and discussed by psychologists and people who are interested in this ambiguous yet necessary beast called love.

Here's a sample from one of his first chapters.
"Man--of all ages and cultures--is confronted with the solution of one and the same question: the question of how to overcome separateness, how to achieve union, how to transcend one's own individual life and find at-onement" (8 Fromm).

Fromm goes on to discuss the different ways people seek to form this connection in their lives: orgiastic states, conformity, creative activity, symbiotic union, and mature love. "Mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality. Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity" (17 Fromm). Obviously, for Fromm, mature love is the best answer to achieve this sense of union and find "at-onement." Loving this stuff!


Norman & Joyce said...

The miracle of one times one.

Drew and Rachel said...

Thank you! You have filled in the blank for me.

In Changsha I had a really awesome shopping bag. It said "Love is an active power in man." I thought, what a bizarre quote. Maybe this is a bad translation of a chengyu or something? But now I understand.

I like reading your blog because I often learn something