In Response to The Art of Loving
In The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm asks the question “is love an art?” In an effort to answer this question, he identifies, discusses, and analyzes the different objects of love. Fromm states that loving as an art means that one must love all objects, rather than only loving the “right” one (43). For this reason, the objects that he analyzes include brotherly love, motherly love, erotic love, self-love, and the love of God. When analyzing each object to explain his statement, Fromm tends to use broad generalizations about society, which do not cover all circumstances. In this essay, I will identify and address the areas where Fromm makes sweeping, inappropriate generalizations about society, as well as acknowledge his accurately fitting descriptions.
The first object of love that Fromm identifies is brotherly love, defined as the love for all people as equals. Fromm feels that this is the most fundamental type of love because of its “lack of exclusiveness”. Fromm defines a brother to be equivalent to the neighbor mentioned in The Golden Rule from the Bible, which states, “love thy neighbor as thy self (44).” Not all of society grew up learning The Golden Rule; therefore, this sweeping statement does not explain all relationships within society. Instead, Fromm should have said that brotherly love is based on one who respects and understands his neighbor and friend as an equal. This explanation could apply to many more relationships within society. Even though I was raised a Catholic, not all love relationships relate to those from the Bible. Any non-believers may also agree. This refutes Fromm’s statement that the brotherly love found within the Bible is fundamental for all relationships. Fromm defines motherly love as absolute and unconditional. He considers this love to be “the highest kind of love, and the most sacred of all emotional bonds” (Fromm 47). A mother loves the growing child and wishes for his separation from her....
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