Erich Fromm and the art of loving: summary and phrases

Erich Fromm with his book “The art of loving”, left us a great reflection on love that everyone should read. Understand love as an art resulting from learning, just as it is also an art to live.

If you want to learn the art of loving, we recommend that you continue reading this Psychology-Online article. In it, you will find everything you need to know about Erich Fromm and the art of loving, with a summary and phrases. Because, despite everything, is there anyone who is not interested in learning to love?

Erich Fromm: biography

Erich Fromm (1900-1980), born in Frankfurt, was a psychoanalyst and social philosopher . He trained in psychoanalysis at the University of Munich and at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute. He left Nazi Germany in 1933 and went to the United States.

From 1934 to 1941, Fromm was on the faculty of Columbia University in New York, where his views became increasingly controversial. In 1941 he joined the faculty at Bennington College in Vermont, and in 1951 he was appointed professor of psychoanalysis at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He applied psychoanalysis in social and cultural questions.

Erich Fromm presented the view that an understanding of basic human needs was essential for a good understanding of society.

Erich Fromm’s most important books

The first major work he published was Escape from Freedom (1941). It was in 1956 when he published the book: the art of loving . He has many other books such as: “Man for himself”, “Psychoanalysis and religion”, “Beyond the chains of illusion”, “The revolution of hope” and “The crisis of psychoanalysis”.

Erich Fromm's most important books

“The art of loving”: Summary

The book entitled “the art of loving” is not a self-help manual, it is a reflection on the nature of love understood as an art. In other words, it can be learned and evolved and we all have the potential to generate it, although it requires great care to maintain it. Real love is not something we fall into, it is something we learn to do.

Throughout the story, he analyzes romantic love, brotherly love, maternal love, love of God and self-love and refers to some basic concepts to maintain a relationship.

It starts from the basis that society has false premises about love: love is measured in the fact of being loved and not in the capacity to love itself, and real love is confused with the initial experience of falling in love.

What the art of love is about: a brief synopsis

Erich Fromm talks about love being the only healthy and satisfying answer to the problem of human existence. A moment of happiness can compensate for all the suffering that life brings us and it is when you know how to love and let yourself be loved by your friends, your partner, your family, that you find meaning in your life to always get ahead.

He speaks of love as an art, which must be learned to be able to exercise it with mastery and depth. It is not just desire, impulse, it is much more than all this. And it is that there is nothing easier than to love, the difficult thing is to keep the flame of love alive when the initial passion of falling in love is lost.

Love is energy, but it is not enough to feel it; you also have to take care of it and feed it in order to live it. To do so, it starts from four basic premises that any art needs to be developed:

  • Discipline
  • Concentration
  • Patience
  • Concern to master the art


Mature love according to Erich Fromm’s art of loving

  • For Fromm, mature love is saying ” I need you because I love you .”
  • On the contrary, immature love, that is to say ” I love you because I need you .”

Loving someone is equivalent to wanting that person to develop and be happy, and not loving to satisfy my needs.

The objective is to achieve an interpersonal union through a mature love where one’s individuality is preserved and that is based on respect and the desire to give to the other. If you are interested in this type of love, we also recommend reading this article about the characteristics of unconditional love .

Fromm’s phrases about the art of loving

  • “The great paradox of love is that two beings become one but remain two.”
  • “If two people who have been strangers … suddenly let the wall between them break to feel and discover themselves, this will be one of the most exciting experiences of life”
  • “Envy, jealousy, ambition, all kinds of greed, are passions: love is an action, the practice of human power, which can only be realized infreedom and never as the result of a compulsion.””For most people, the problem of love consists fundamentally in being loved, and not in loving, not in one’s own capacity to love.”
  • “Sexual attraction creates, for a moment, the illusion of union, but without love, such union leaves strangers as desperate as before.”

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

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