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So, Fromm and I were discussing love recently… November 30, 2009

Posted by Jordan in Thoughts.
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I was reading Erich Fromm’s “The Art Of Loving” the other day, and there was a particular point he hit upon that really made sense to me and got me thinking. Basically, what he said went like this. Whenever people start thinking about love, or about relationships and why they might not be involved in one, a mistake that a lot of them make is think that the problem lies not within themselves, but with who they know. In other words, a lot of people, in an effort to make themselves feel better – and because we all carry some amount of self-bias – convince themselves that they’re not really where the problem lies. The problem is that they just haven’t found the right person to love, they tell themselves. While this can hold some situational merit, a lot of the time it’s not entirely true. Fromm made what I thought was a brilliant comparison – he said that a person thinking that way would be like a novice painter wrestling with why he isn’t a master of his craft yet, and then convincing himself that the problem lies not with his own lack of skill, but with the dilemma of his simply not having found the right object to paint yet! If he could only find the right object, or muse, or inspiration – why, he wouldn’t need to work on improving himself! He would just know! That, Fromm says, is what people essentially do with respect to love. They tell themselves that they just need to find that right person, and then everything else will fall into place without extra effort. On the contrary, though, Fromm argued that love is an art form that can (and needs to be) worked on for the sake of improvement, just as any other form of art can be. Sure, your situation and environment can play a part, but the biggest thing is YOU.

That has really stuck with me. I can be BETTER, and I try, continually, as sincerely as I can, to be better. We all can, and we all need to. I mean, just look around – the world needs us. Our culture isn’t about lifting each other up anymore. It’s about tearing each other down. We should all be investing as much as possible into being part of the solution to that problem, not the perpetuation of it.

Love.

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