Summary: The Art of Loving

Erich Fromm wrote, in The Art of Loving (1956), "Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence." To Fromm, human consciousness makes it possible for us to know our loneliness and limitations as well as to rejoice in existence. Fromm wrote that humans have a deep need to achieve union with something outside their egos. He identified several strategies or solutions for this but said the best was love.

Research shows a common pattern in happy long-term relationships. People in happy long-term marriages tend to regard each other as best friends as well as lovers. John Gottman of the University of Washington identified "four horsemen" which predicted divorce. Fromm wrote that the attitude of love was not confined to romantic relationships but could be applied to many different situations. He identified brotherly love, motherly love, and self-love (which is distinct from selfishness) as distinct categories. Fromm also believed that different conceptions of God, found in various human civilizations, embodied different kinds of love.


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