The forgotten art of love

What Love Means and Why It Matters: Zadeh MD PhD, Armin A.: 9781608684878: Books

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The Forgotten Art of Love: What Love Means and Why It Matters by Armin A. Zadeh MD, PhD, Paperback


What Is Love?

In our society, in songs, movies, and books, when someone feels an overwhelming sensation of longing for another person, we refer to it as love. This yearning may overtake everything else in a person's life and unleash previously undiscovered energy. It involves simultaneous feelings of ecstasy and agony because of our hopes for, and doubts about, the reciprocation of our feelings.

Being "in love" is one of the most exhilarating emotional states, and many people associate it with the greatest happiness in life. Most of us carry some kind of romantic love story with us, which may be based on novels, poetry, movies, or personal experience. The intensity of the feeling and its hold over our thoughts and actions are so extraordinary that we may remember it our whole lives. We may chuckle inside recalling the foolish things we did when madly in love and how anxious we were to get even the smallest shred of attention from the beloved one.

When we fall in love, the world seems different, and our heads spin with fantasies and dreams. It feels as if we are under a spell. Nothing matters except the beloved. The exhilaration mounts into ecstasy if the beloved person reciprocates our feelings. No wonder that most people yearn for this sensation and that its portrayal is so central to the arts and entertainment.

The most powerful stories in our culture center on love. Consider Paris and Helen in Greek mythology, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet — the greatest poets and writers mesmerized readers with their love stories. But is it conceivable that Romeo's intense feelings for his Juliet were not love?

Erich Fromm radically challenged the idea that love consisted merely of intense feelings. He differentiated falling in love from the state of love. He argued that the overwhelming sensations we experience when falling in love in fact are not love at all but a state of infatuation. This claim stirred up quite a controversy. But anybody who has ever been in love knows that the obsessive, all-consuming feelings of the early stages of a romantic relationship don't last. Eventually they fade, and while we still may feel very affectionate toward the beloved, we are not as infatuated as we were in the beginning.

Even couples still very much in love after decades admit that there is a distinct difference between the early and later stages of their relationship. Many marriages actually begin to crumble over the disillusionment that sets in when these very intense initial feelings begin to fade.

About half a century after Fromm, methods of biological analysis provided new insights into the phenomenon of romantic love. Researchers compared the blood levels of several hormones in individuals who had recently fallen in love with those in single people and people in long-term relationships. They found higher levels of cortisol (a steroid hormone released in response to stress) and a number of other differences among blood hormones in the group that had recently fallen in love compared to those in long-term relationships. Furthermore, differences in hormone levels correlated with more intense feelings of falling in love, and hormone levels returned to normal in later phases of a relationship. The precise combination of hormones responsible for the emotions that arise when we fall in love has not yet been fully elucidated, but they include dopamine, oxytocin, glucocorticoids, endorphins, and amphetamines. These are hormones that may induce states of euphoria and, in the case of oxytocin, foster attachment. Indeed, the powerful effects of some of these hormones have been compared to those of cocaine. Cortisol is also released when we are stressed, which explains why falling in love also has some uncomfortable effects, such as anxiety and sleeplessness.

New tools for studying the brain and nervous system have also yielded novel insights into love. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies comparing the brains of two groups of people — those who had recently fallen in love and those in long-term relationships — corroborate the findings from blood-hormone analyses: they show some distinct differences in brain activity during these stages. Specifically, the brain areas associated with compulsive behavior were much more active in people who had recently fallen in love than those in long-term relationships. These findings may explain our obsession with love during this phase.

Furthermore, studies show that the rise and fall of blood hormones associated with the falling-in-love phase are quite consistent and predictable. Typically, hormone levels return to the normal range after one to four years of courtship, and this decrease correlates with the fading of the intense feelings of being in love. Divorce rates peak at four years of marriage, suggesting that breakups may be linked to falling levels of love hormones and the associated decrease of powerful sensations.

Blood analyses and brain MRIs thus suggest that falling in love is different from long-term love. While falling in love, we are totally consumed with thoughts of the beloved. Elevated levels of dopamine induce a state of euphoria and energy that is difficult to match even with the use of powerful drugs. Research has revealed that we fall in love instantly — within a second of looking at a person. Subconsciously and at lightning speed, our brain runs through a list of criteria, and if these criteria are met, we fall in love. Because the list of criteria is extensive (and likely keeps expanding throughout our lives), we don't fall in love too often. Our criteria for falling in love are to some degree inherent, but they are also formed by our upbringing. If we pay close attention, we may recognize a pattern in the people we fall in love with.

Why do we fall in love? It appears to be nature's way of jump-starting a relationship. From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, the energy and euphoria generated in our brains serve to establish a strong bond between two people for the purpose of reproduction. Unlike the sex drive, however, falling in love functions not only to foster an environment for sexual intercourse but also to allow sufficient attachment between the partners that they will cooperate to protect the offspring beyond her or his most vulnerable period. Three to four years of coupling is generally sufficient time for successful childbearing and for guarding children through the stage of entire helplessness. After that, one parent is often able to safely raise the offspring to reproductive age — the critical goal for evolution. Since evolution is all about efficiency, falling in love only needs to last about three to four years.

This is a sobering view. Are all of these wonderful feelings just nature's way of inducing us to mate and reproduce successfully? Is love programmed not to last? Well, the answer depends on whether we equate the sensations experienced when we fall in love with those we experience when we love. To address these issues, we need to define love — which is not an easy task. For millennia, philosophers, spiritual leaders, poets, writers, and others have tried to define love, but we still have no widely accepted definition that takes into account all its complexities. Some philosophical texts contend that love cannot be defined at all.

Interpretations and definitions of love are strongly influenced by societal, philosophical, and spiritual beliefs. Thus, love may have different meanings in different cultures. And many of the feelings frequently associated with love are, in my view, not part of the spectrum of love itself.

Gottfried Leibniz, a German polymath and philosopher in the seventeenth century, defined love as the capacity "to be delighted by the happiness of others," which captures much of the essence of love. If we love somebody, we indeed derive a sense of bliss from seeing them happy. Most of us have known the contentment that comes from seeing the joy in our loved one's eyes. On the other hand, Leibniz's definition of love does not take into account the intensity of the lover's emotion or his/her active role in creating it. "Being delighted by the happiness of others" can describe both a fleeting moment of sympathy and the lasting, deep sensation of love.

A more precise definition of love might be the urge and continuous effort for the happiness and well-being of somebody (or something). Thus, love is a more intense form of caring or compassion. Love is associated with a stronger impulse, greater satisfaction, and more intense emotion than simply caring. But the border between compassion and love is not sharply delineated. It is a matter of degree — of the intensity of our feelings and our level of commitment, such as our willingness to make sacrifices for someone else's well-being. For example, we may chat with a neighbor once in a while. We like her, and when we hear that she has broken her hip and needs help with commuting or grocery shopping, we gladly offer to help. However, we would not quit our job or make some other big sacrifice in order to help her. These are things we would do for people we love, those to whom we are very close. Thus, our commitment to the well-being of others and our associated emotions determine whether we consider it love or merely compassion.

Just as we find it difficult to define love, we have no comprehensive understanding of how love originates. Contrary to the common view that love descends upon us without any conscious volition on our part, Fromm argued that love is an activity, something that requires enormous effort and concentration — in fact, an art. To master the art of loving, we must devote ourselves to it and give it priority over all other activities. Fromm argued that we can essentially love anybody if we commit ourselves to the effort. Loving is not a matter of the object of our love, but of the subject, meaning our own perception of someone we love.

Fromm's view of love was enthusiastically embraced by many but also met with criticism. Some people felt that such a sober, rational description left out the emotional aspects of love and ruled out the possibility of a unique bond between two people. Indeed, emotions are essential to loving. Everybody recognizes the sensation of delight in looking at a loved one and feeling the urge to hug and hold that person. These feelings persist after the falling-in-love phase: they are an intrinsic part of love. While Fromm was right to emphasize the active, conscious component of love, I believe he shifted the balance too far and created an overly cerebral, intellectual concept of love.

Love has both active and passive components. Active loving involves the conscious or subconscious prioritizing of loving over other human impulses. The emotions of loving, such as joy at seeing the happiness of the beloved, on the other hand, come naturally — that is, they are passive. These emotions are the spontaneous result of the act of loving. If we reflect on the most blissful emotions we have ever felt, we are likely to recall the joy of seeing the elation of a child or partner. This is the greatest reward for loving, filling our hearts with warmth and the utmost contentment. But to experience these ecstatic feelings, we must first have actively triggered the process of loving in our minds (consciously or subconsciously).

Unlike the emotions that accompany falling in love, the feelings we experience as a part of love will persist as long as we continue to work at loving. Actual love typically demands knowledge of the beloved — much more than we need to know in order to fall in love with somebody. Often, instant passion can be triggered merely by physical features or a brief encounter. This passion allows us to develop an idea of the beloved person that is largely based on our own hopes and desires and may not reflect reality. I recall the first time being "madly in love" when I was sixteen and spotted a girl in a dance club. I did not have the courage to talk to her but, mesmerized by her appearance, I drove twenty miles on my moped through rain and snow every day for weeks back to that same dance club in the hopes she would return — without ever having spoken a word with her. Thus, we may well fall in love with our perception of a person. As we spend more time with the object of our passion, that perception may conflict with the person's actual nature — which sometimes may lead to disappointment or disillusionment. The state of exhilaration, however, may mask the disappointment for some time (leading to denial). If two people have no adequate understanding of love at this point, their relationship stands little chance of surviving.

Many people resist the notion that the intense feelings that accompany falling in love can be dismissed as mere infatuation. Some also reject the distinction between infatuation and love as purely academic and inconsequential. But this distinction actually matters tremendously for our lives. The falling-in-love phase invariably ends. If we interpret the fading of these intense feelings as the end of love itself, we may question the whole basis of our relationship. Couples are often distraught when they realize they are not as crazy about each other as they were in the beginning. Instead of acknowledging the ephemeral nature of falling in love, they often break up to look for a new rush in another partnership — only to repeat the cycle. Partners who expect to remain in a state of euphoria forever will inevitably be disappointed.

The ensuing disappointment not only causes heartache for the couple but often has devastating consequences for the people around them, especially children. The cliché of "lovesick fools" holds some truth: when our minds are flooded with the hormones of falling in love, our judgment can be impaired. MRI studies of the human brain have consistently shown that brain areas responsible for decision making are greatly influenced by the emotions that accompany falling in love. When the infatuation phase of courtship ends, lives may be thrown into disarray.

My friend Ben met his wife, Sandra, at work right after college. Ben fell in love with Sandra almost instantly in the office hallway. He had barely spoken with her, but he was captivated by her looks and her vivacious, funny style. His obsession with her grew, and soon he found himself fantasizing about her most of the time. When he ran into her in the office, his heart pounded, and he froze. He desperately wanted to ask her out on a date, but he felt so awkward in her presence that he could not do it.

It was Sandra who took the initiative. She had noticed Ben, too, and was attracted to him. They went for a drink after work and found themselves talking for hours. Everything felt right, and they felt as if they had known each other forever. They became inseparable. After three months of dating, they moved in together. After another eight months, Ben asked Sandra to marry him. Sandra got pregnant in the second year after their wedding and again one year later.

In the beginning, everything seemed perfect, and they never quarreled. Over time, however, tensions began to rise. Rather than go back to work, Sandra wanted to stay at home with the children. Struggling to earn enough money to support the family, Ben took on a second job and felt increasingly tired. When he came home, he wanted to do nothing but eat and watch television. It seemed to him that Sandra did nothing all day except play with the kids, while he was working himself into the ground. When he wanted to spend more time with his friends and Sandra objected to his going out without her, he became resentful.

Sandra was irritated by Ben's messiness and his unwillingness to help out at home. She had noticed early in their relationship that Ben was untidy, but at first she was only mildly amused, and she always cleaned up after him. Gradually she grew angry and resentful when he left things in disarray, feeling overwhelmed with housework and childcare and upset at not getting any appreciation from Ben.

The incredible attraction they had felt for each other faded away. Ben felt drawn to other women at work, and Sandra fantasized about one of her friends from college. They fought almost daily, usually about trivial things. They grew further and further apart, and six years after their wedding they consensually filed for divorce.

What happened? How could the intense feelings they had felt for each other disappear? When they met, they had no doubt they were made for each other. Both had been sure that what they perceived as true love would last forever.

In truth, Ben and Sandra never loved each other — at least not in the sense that I use the term love. They fell in love but never made the transition to true, mature love. Ben and Sandra enjoyed their blissful emotions but failed to make the continuous effort that love requires. In other words, neither of them put the other's happiness and well-being above everything else. When their infatuation-boosted hormones ebbed, they did not work at fostering love. Eventually, the realities of life caught up with them.


Excerpted from "The Forgotten Art of Love"
by .
Copyright &copy 2017 Armin A. Zadeh.
Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Neo Smile: Erich Fromm: Arts to Love

Neo Smile

Article written on May 21, 2021 23:43


  • in the heading “Reviews on science fiction“ Reviews on science fiction ” »
  • in the author’s column Neo Smile

Erich Fromm
Love / The Art of Loving. An Inquiry into the Nature of Love [= The Art of Loving. Exploring the Nature of Love]

1956, monograph

One of the most famous works of Erich Fromm - "The Art of Loving" - is devoted to the complex psychological aspects of the emergence and preservation by a person of such a seemingly simple feeling as love. Is love really an art? If yes, then it requires work and knowledge. Or is it just a pleasant sensation?.. For the majority, the problem of love is primarily a problem of how to be loved, and not how to love yourself…

Reread, review

And make sure the city is inside.

Forgotten city of fallen roofs

And blown up walls.

Review, re-read

And make sure that you have gone beyond the edge,

Beyond the boundaries of reporting boundaries

And laid-out schemes (c)

Existential psychology, in terms of the coverage of key topics, is at the intersection of philosophy and psychotherapy. This is the golden fund of that segment of literature, which, with the amount of time, is gaining its relevance, acquiring life hacks and double meanings of various interpretations. The brightest representatives of this area of ​​psychology - K. G. Jung, A. Maslow, R. Assagioli, V. Frankl - worked with rather complex client cases to assemble a new personality. And each of them argued that the general schemes of a universal approach are impossible from the point of view of the fact that each anamnesis is unique and requires careful intervention in the fate of a particular individual. Of course, we are talking about the spiritual component of the life of a particular person, which at the dawn of psychoanalysis was rejected by Z. Freud in his writings. And it is impossible, when discussing the foundation of a person's personality, not to touch on the topic of how much society with its destructive attitudes influences the life of an ordinary person who strives to be happy, harmonious and loved. nine0013

Erich Fromm's book The Art of Loving. An Enquiry into the Nature of Love / 1956 was written approximately on this premise. And this is perhaps the most famous monograph by the German psychoanalyst of the Frankfurt School of Psychology, in which the famous representative of this trend managed to go through all the cuts of significant and key topics.

This excellent dense text of the famous German analyst and sociologist, philosopher and thinker, psychologist and neo-Freudian is recommended for reading not only in the relevant universities. Fromm's journalism is relevant and in demand for a vast target audience. And for sure it will be interesting for the most ordinary reader who strives for personal growth and self-improvement. nine0013

Useless efforts in constant attempts to prolong a broken relationship due to the inertia of a static habit. Impotent anger from feeling the failure of their actions. An unaccomplished revision of interpersonal relationships, which layers one problem upon another, turning every day lived into a kind of unlearned lesson, which, one way or another, everyone will have to “cram” for themselves.

Be that as it may, on the pages of this monograph Fromm will try to teach his reader to deal with his spiritual problems in the first person. And he will skillfully touch on the topic that only the lazy did not touch. However, it is this psychoanalyst who will lead her to such a diagonal of the author's reasoning, bringing the particular and the general into one whole - before him, few people analyzed the nature of love in such detail and deeply. nine0013

In addition, Fromm showed the relationship between the processes taking place in society and the formation of an individual. This author is excellent at deduction/induction. And throughout the entire monograph, he explains how these mechanisms are switched on from the particular to the general; from personal to social; from unresolved internal problems of one person to the tragedy of an entire nation.

Well, for those who accepted the order


Odd or even measures the term. nine0013

In anabiosis exercises

faces without faces

Heads are buried in sand.

The cult of a strong personality, madness, insanity and megalomania declared themselves at the beginning of the previous century at the rise of fascism and its various manifestations in the fiery speeches of the new thinking. The chain reaction of a discrete way of thinking gives rise to extremism in the most paranoid forms of its embodiment.

Sometimes we don't bother to think about something before we realize the inherently disastrous worship of a particular cult, idea or leader. The majority, one way or another, is driven by the social factor: in order to feel in demand, one must certainly be favored by the position of the outside world, no matter how radical and absurd it may be. nine0013

As for the destructive influence of discretes (or digitals / from English digital) on entire hierarchies and structures of social interaction, the following should be noted.

In the 90s of the previous century, the West faced a serious problem of the necessary protection of its mental product on the Internet. To us, a flawed wave of hatred has come to zero and ten - due to a later acquaintance with electronic publications and life on the network directly. One way or another, but the prerequisites for this phenomenon were laid in the 50s by neo-Freudians, who, on the basis of their conclusions, already then voiced the trends of the 21st century. nine0013

The conscious and unconscious activity of an individual sometimes forms a reflection of the herd way of thinking and a feeling of one's own inferiority, if the turbulent life of society proceeds without its involvement in the constant turnover of ever new "truths" and discoveries. Alas, often these discoveries are in the nature of a sad disappointment. And Erich Fromm is one of those thinkers who proposes to make, first of all, the main deep discovery within oneself directly. After all, a whole person does not need the attention of the crowd. It is self sufficient by default. nine0013

The mechanisms of such an assembly of a mature person were superbly reflected in his works by Carl Gustav Jung, who called this process the acquisition of selfhood. And among other analysts of the humanistic approach in psychology of the 50s of the previous century, Roberto Assagioli proposed the term of personality centering. Viktor Frankl self-regulated the art of logotherapy. The definitions vary, but the essence is about the same.

So what is it: to be able to love yourself and another person?

Of course, love is a personal experience that everyone can feel only for himself and only on his own empirical experience. It makes no sense to replicate this concept (skill) at the level of teaching the masses “everything and at once”. And here there can be no universal practices that actually devalue the essence of a true deep feeling. nine0013

The task of the author of this monograph lies precisely in something else. In the language of analytics, Fromm will explain to his reader that love is not a wonderful pastime, a passing infatuation or an amusing hobby; but everyday thoughtful and contemplative work. If we are talking about harmonious interaction with ourselves and the outside world, then by default we mean the ability to respect, love and faith.

Constantly listening to the feelings and needs of another person, everyone is able to prolong and inspire this feeling, if there is a personal motivation and a desire to work on oneself directly. Sometimes overloading mutual life with reproaches, claims and insults, we often cannot understand that it is primarily about ourselves and those projections that we impose on another person, not seeing his true essence. You can constantly change partners as the next marriages (marital obligations) are concluded. But the deep essence of this issue lies in the fact that if we do not process our complexes and fears in time, we, as if under a stencil, will live all the same painful and conflict scenarios from the previous patterns of behavior. And here we can assume the following in terms of the conclusions of this monograph: our cherished desires often do not come true for the reason that we misinterpret reality. nine0013

According to Fromm, love is a certain discipline and focused attention on the whole of life as a whole. And after all, the fact is obvious that our modern culture inevitably leads in its chaotic flow to dispersal and a disorderly way of life.

We do many things at once, often on the go and out of place: we read, listen, talk, smoke, eat and drink. In everyday bustle, we greedily absorb everything and indiscriminately: books, drinks and knowledge. And sometimes we don’t even think about the fact that the amount of literature read hastily is not at all equal to the level of necessary awareness. nine0013

It is very difficult to deny the apparent lack of such contemplation, if we remember how difficult it is for us to be alone with ourselves, not being distracted by anything but our own thoughts.

And in the context of all of the above (no matter how paradoxical it may sound at first glance): if we do not know how to hear ourselves, then how can we understand and hear another? And if we keep a person near us only because of the fear of our potential loneliness - Is this really love? . .

Learning to distinguish your needs from the regulated clichés of society is, according to Fromm, one of the steps to mastering this art for those who want to try to rise above the usual patterns of behavior and stay on this “platform” longer. Is it worth it as a rhetorical question to say that mastering these skills takes a lifetime.

After all, we often speak in clichés, think in clichés, and live in clichés. We copy and mirror the action of the crowd, taking the opinion of the deliberately screaming radical as the standard of democracy, unable to peel off the banal rudeness from this flow of information. And yes, it should be noted separately that Erich Fromm's talent lies, among other things, in the fact that in his monographs he predicted the trend of "narrow-minded" discrete thinking, which is currently taking the ugly form of trolling and hating on the net. nine0013

Fromm in this monograph flirts superbly with three holivar themes at once. Sex, politics and religion are significant components of his monograph The Art of Loving.

Among other things, the author skillfully strings his thoughts and hypotheses alternately on the essence of Western democracy and totalitarian systems in the context of trampled individuality.

Everything is bought, sold and traded profitably for significant secondary benefits from any interaction with the outside world.

Internal interpersonal communications are overgrown with a thick layer of static habit. nine0013

The need for love is often defined by a laconic thesis: I want to be loved; I don't want to learn how to love. And all this makes up a recognizable ossified cynicism, deftly fitted to the essence of modern demands / the hierarchy of our values ​​/ the pyramid of modern needs.


Most people are not even aware of their need for submission. They are under the illusion that they follow their own views and inclinations, that they are individuals, that they come to their opinions as a result of their own reflection - and that it just happens to happen that their views are similar to those of the majority. The general agreement serves as proof of the correctness of "their" views. Since there is still a need to feel some individuality, this need is satisfied with the help of minor differences: the initials on a bag or sweater, a plate with the name of a bank teller, belonging to the Democratic or, on the contrary, to the Republican party, to the Elks club, and not to the Shriners club become expression of individual differences. The advertising cliché "here's something extraordinary" appeals to this pathetic need for difference, when in reality there is almost no difference. nine0013

Fromm in his own way - and he does it rather ironically - plays with the idea of ​​our equality in the context of psychophysical unity. And it is adequate in the sense that we are all unique. And like a mosaic of colorful fragments according to the principle of fractal geometry, all our structures are built into the dense fabric of being. After all, everyone is a cosmos in itself and a small part of it. That is, having original abilities and needs, we are equal in our useful significance.

However, this concept gradually turned out to be distorted and vulgarized in the vein of the industrial society of consumers, where the equality of automata determines the essence of the development of modern society. And here, among other issues on the agenda, the most urgent: is our so-called movement forward - is this the next round of this well-functioning mechanism? And our so-called running in circles is the destructiveness of society, tied to the vices of each individual. nine0013

Vanity, haste and success are the main trump cards of the modern world. And here one more cult and fetish of the mega-speed era clearly emerges: love for sexual pleasure (basic satisfaction of primary needs), the concept of which at the beginning of the last century in the vein of instinctive needs was boldly “replicated” by Sigmund Freud. The well-known Austrian analyst is positioned as a materialist: he believed that the basis for all mental phenomena and upheavals is unfulfilled physiological needs. nine0013

Fromm, in his study of the nature of human fears and shocks, went further: from the general to the particular, he showed in this monograph the pressure of society on the formation of flawed ambitions, as well as the manifestation of unhealthy competition, jealousy and envy of a particular individual.

According to this representative of the Frankfurt School of Psychoanalysis, living according to the pattern of society is a dead end and an isolated system closed “on itself”.

A fanatical overdose of erotic inclinations, which easily and accessiblely offers the outside world as an allegedly successful deliverance from former stereotypes, actually leads to a certain emotional inhibition and frigidity. Fromm, as a balanced author, blurs the boundaries of Freudian theory: according to Freud, there is no difference between irrational attraction and mature feeling. nine0013

Such a concept of linking all shocks to the needs of physiology is just a prototype of happiness. Since erotica, placed in the center of life values ​​and unconditional guidelines, is in fact a direct path to depression and moral dissatisfaction.

The essence of the manifestation of love as the obvious truth of deep relationships and the integrity of a person lies precisely in not wasting and aimlessly dissipating one's physical and spiritual energy on many. And to be able to “comprehend the secret” of the other in unconditional merging and unity and go as far as possible into its boundaries without breaking the uniqueness of a loved one. nine0013

Here, according to my personal feelings, one can hear allusions to the immortal winged saying of Ray Bradbury: “Love is when someone can return himself to a person.”

Without a doubt, the practice of the art of Love requires the practice of Faith. Fromm in this monograph examines the concept of faith from all possible sides and components.

Belief in oneself as an adequate recognition of one's authenticity and uniqueness given by the nature of abilities. Faith in a loved one as a feeling of his holistic reliability, when you trust him as deeply as Asians trust Space. And, finally, faith in God as the ability for creative emotional and intellectual activity, in the context of which the most daring discoveries and masterpieces of world art are born. nine0013

And this is one of the most powerful chapters of the monograph in the segment of psychoanalysis on the true nature of love for God. Fromm considers the concept of God as the biological essence of the Universe, and not as an object of pagan worship and the methodical execution of orthodox dogmas.

At the beginning of this chapter, the author is cold-blooded, impartial and cynical in addressing the issue of modern faith, which has gradually degenerated into a trivial imitation of the next fashion brand - whether it be obsessive esotericism or another immersion of the European mind into the deep wisdom of the East. Often these efforts look like posturing and imitation without a clear motivation of the individual - why does he directly need new currents of the next popular thought. nine0013

These concepts were considered by C. G. Jung in his writings. And E. Fromm wisely addresses this topic on the pages of The Art of Loving.


Religion is equated with self-hypnosis and psychotherapy in helping a person in his business activities. In the 1920s, no one called on God to "improve his personality." Dile Carnegie's 1938 bestseller How to Make Friends and Influence People was limited to the purely secular level. The function of Carnegie's book at that time was the same as that of our greatest best-seller today, The Power of Positive Thinking by Raverand Peel. This religious book does not even question whether the now dominant interest in success is in harmony with the spirit of monotheistic religion. On the contrary, this highest goal is not questioned, and faith and prayer are recommended as a means to increase one's own ability to achieve good luck. Just as modern psychiatrists are concerned about the happiness of workers in order to attract clients, so some priests are concerned about the love of God in order to be more successful themselves. “Make God your partner” means make God your partner in business rather than reunite with him in love, justice and truth. Since brotherly love is replaced by an impersonal fair, god has become a distant General Manager of the joint-stock company of the Universe: you know that he is, that he runs the enterprise (although it probably could also be run without him), you will never see him but you acknowledge his guidance by doing what is proper for you. nine0013

Closer to the end, Fromm warms up, gradually switching to the language of an accessible and understandable presentation of immutable truths and significant moral foundations.


To believe, you need courage, the ability to take risks, the willingness to accept even torment and disappointment. Those who value safety and tranquility as the primary conditions of life cannot believe. He who has gone into a deep defense, where the means of security are distance and property, he himself makes himself a prisoner. To be loved and to love requires courage, the courage to consider certain values ​​worthy of higher attention, and also the courage to stake everything for these values. nine0013

Adhere to one's own judgments about a person, even if public opinion or some unforeseen facts seem to contradict this judgment; sticking to your own beliefs, even if they are unpopular, all requires faith and courage. To accept the difficulties, defeats and sorrows of life as trials from which we emerge stronger, and not as an unjust punishment that should not have befallen us - this also requires faith and courage.

To love means to trust, to surrender completely in the hope that your love will arouse love in a loved one. Love is an act of faith, and whoever has little faith has little love. What more can be said about the practice of faith? Probably someone else can, and if I were a poet or a preacher, I would try too. But since I am neither a poet nor a preacher, I can't even try to talk more about the practice of faith, although I hope that those who really want to can learn to believe as a child learns to walk. nine0013

Well, in fact, all the key questions of this monograph.

From all of the above, he once again wants to make a significant emphasis. Love as an abstraction, myth and incomprehensible fata morgana does not exist. These concepts take root perfectly in the segment of fiction - analysts argue differently.

There is an act of love. It constitutes the process of self-renewal and integrity of the personality. The nature of love, however strange it may sound, is always material. These are actions, motivations, creative creation and a variety of inspired impulses embodied in material dedication to a loved one. Love for many centuries generates bursts of creative ideas as the magnificent material of the classics, which leave behind an immortal legacy of paintings, sculptures, architecture and various incarnations of their impulses. Technique without inspiration eventually turns into a dull static of predictable forms. And if you think deeply, creativity without love is impossible in principle. nine0013

To conclude, I will briefly summarize.

Erich Fromm is a strong, versatile and at the same time accessible analyst in his author's presentation. All his statements are logically balanced, impeccably built and relevant to this day.

The author's system of presentation is precise, stable and pedantic. Of course, Fromm is included in the curriculum at the level of necessary recommendations in certain universities and specialized institutions. And reading such literature is probably difficult, if you do not own at least the basics of psychology. But in any case, this is not a "training" in the strict segment in which the same Freud wrote his works. nine0013

The Art of Loving is more of a section of popular science literature aimed specifically at the general reader. Yes, of course, the text is full of such terms as predicates, frustration, sublimation, substratum, narcissism, theistic religion, etc. But given that this terminology has long been in demand in various fields and knowledge, this monograph is oriented by default to a wide range of readers.

Erich Fromm's books were published in 2018 as the "Exclusive Classics" series in a pocket book format, convenient for favorite and desktop literature. Of course, The Art of Loving is the basic and cornerstone work of this German analyst. nine0013

And here it will not be superfluous to note that Erich Fromm in his monographs partly "suffers" from self-repetitions. Many of his quotes and theses have something in common between different chapters and related concepts. That is, you can start acquaintance with this author absolutely from any book.

And, in a certain sense, Fromm’s equally famous monographs “Escape from Freedom” (Die Furcht vor der Freiheit / 1941), “Man for himself” (Man for himself / 1947), “To have or to be” (Haben oder Sein / 1976 ) complement each other. And each of them is at the same time an integral and independent work. It is noteworthy that "Escape from Freedom" was written on the powerful nerve of the author, who claims that the sick structure of the personality in the constant striving for freedom will only carry out total destruction - of itself and of the outside world, which does not accept such an individual. For some reason, quite unexpectedly, the allusion of the Joker came to mind, which in modern cinema is played with deep psychologisms of the drama of this character and the tragedy of that society that is under the influence of such a charismatic personality. nine0013


Fromm is a very interesting, erudite and insightful author. He is a classic in the full meaning of that definition.

As for the differentiated assessment of this monograph "The Art of Loving", here I have a clear golden ten. Moreover, a time-tested test, because each time in the next reading you find important things for yourself for the necessary reflection and internal calibration of the situations that have happened.

Although, of course, in the Art of Love there is not and cannot be universal advice or static reference books for learning. nine0013

Everyone on this path goes their own way and everyone will have a list of their own difficulties, the work on the mistakes of which is often distributed throughout life.

In any case, my sincere recommendations for those who are ready to work on themselves and for those who are not afraid to look at their inner world coolly and impartially.

Read "The Art of Love" - ​​Victor Fedorovich Vostokov - Page 1

White Lama V. Vostokov

Art of love


For many years, topics related to erotica were banned in the Russian state. Little was written about it, they tried to ignore it, and a whole layer of world culture was out of the reader's field of vision. Now forgotten names and forbidden topics are returning to us. Our views on these issues are also undergoing changes.

In India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Japan, sexual relations have long been considered both as an art and a science that deserves detailed study and practical application. From the point of view of Eastern science, there can be no perfect knowledge without a thorough study of the sexual relations that underlie life. Eastern metaphysical traditions through the mystery of sex reach the transcendental experience of unity. The feeling of Oneness achieved in the process of the sexual act is the most universal, accessible mystical experience. nine0013

The esoteric erotica of the East in the modern context is the heritage of several similar traditions. This is mentioned in the early ancient Egyptian magical texts, in the mystical treatises of the Jews, Greeks and Arabs. A study of the alchemical books of medieval Europe shows the continuation of this tradition, often in the form of inspired romantic and mystical poetry, and usually with the use of allegories.

Arabic literature and poetry about love are also rich in erotic elements, which can be correctly understood if we trace the influence of the East in them. This is one of the proofs that all Western transcendental teachings, through explicit or allegorical eroticism, reveal their Eastern origin. nine0013


The passion known as Kama or "love" is dangerous if it is considered the limit, the end. In fact, Kama is just the beginning. When the spirit is satisfied with the development of Kama, only then does the correct understanding of love appear.


The Kama Sutra is a classic Indian treatise on the Art of Love. In translation, it is referred to as the "Melody of Love" and mentions sixty-four kinds of Art, which should be taught to both men and women. Among them are singing and music, dancing and gymnastics, mental exercises and knowledge of languages, the ability to dress, painting, knowledge of religious rites and magic. Women should look beautiful, but at the same time run the household. Men - to know carpentry, mineralogy, chemistry, military art, specific areas related to culture. nine0013

An Indian love treatise states that both a woman and a man should master as many Arts as possible. The following arguments testify to the benefits of such a comprehensive education: firstly, one who has mastered various types of Arts occupies an honorable place in society; secondly, using his knowledge, a person can easily achieve the object of his passion, whether it be a husband, wife or lover (lover). Thirdly, thanks to knowledge, a person easily achieves self-affirmation. Knowledge of even certain types of Art adds significance and charm. nine0013

In the West there is no equivalent to the Kama Sutra, which is probably why sex is not yet perceived as an Art form. Social repression and the idea of ​​sinfulness made it impossible to study sexuality sincerely and carefully, which led to the emergence of the principles of "free approach" to sex. Therefore, practically everything undertaken in this direction in the West is either pornography or a manual on clinical sex, sometimes describing anatomical details and "techniques" in such a way that they can cause disgust. And the sexual act itself in Western art and literature is still rarely reflected with artistic taste. nine0013

In the East, the sexual act occupied a place of honor among other Arts and was closely associated with them. Men and women studied the Kama Sutra and other classical treatises together. In the temples, all variants of sexual positions were openly portrayed and revered like idols. In private homes, the realm of erotic art and literature was seen as a natural and necessary subject for study. The parameters of sexual behavior in the East are much wider than the narrow spectrum of "normality" in the West, and without the slightest belittling of sexual function. Celibacy, monogamy, polygamy and polyandry all took place in the cultures of the East. nine0013

"The individual must learn both the sixty-four Arts and the sixty-four varieties of sexual union," says the Kama Sutra.


There is an invisible center of change in the navel area. It is like the Lotus with sixty-four petals or the Sun of Life with sixty-four flames. Its color is golden and it is turned upwards.

The Secret Teachings of Narona

There is a long tradition in India to deeply study the problem of sex in all aspects - physical, emotional, psychological and sociological. The last great name among scientists who have studied these problems is the name of Vatsyana, the author of the famous Kama Sutra. The true significance of this book is that it not only provides an exhaustive and understandable analysis of the problem of the relationship of the sexes, but also summarizes the results of research carried out by the predecessors of Vaciyana, whose many works have not survived to our time. nine0013

The Vedas, probably the oldest written monument on earth, continue to influence human thought and behavior today. As a unique interpretation of Indian philosophy, the Vedas have survived the upheaval of millennia, convincingly proving the maturity and vitality of the Indian idea of ​​the world order. The essence of the Vedic doctrines is expressed in the four global goals of life: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Dharma includes the realm of religion and morality; Artha means material well-being; Kama symbolizes love and pleasure; nine0013

Moksha - expiation of sins or salvation of the soul. The Kama Sutra glorified India as the land of the deepest thought.

No other work on the problems of sex and love, written at different times and in different countries, can offer such a sincere, realistic and detailed description of the psychology, emotional self-expression of a person and methods of stimulating sexual desire.

The Kama Sutra was written 1500 years ago by the great sage Maharashi Vatsyana during the Gupta period. It was a golden age in the history of India. People prospered and lived in luxury. Welfare provides people with free time, and this, in turn, gives impetus to the development of literature. The product of this age of abundance was Maharashi Vatsiyana. His life's work, the Kama Sutra, reflects the renaissance of creative art during the Gupta period. This burst of creative activity is manifested in exceptionally beautiful poetry, painting, gardens intoxicating with an abundance of flowers, majestic architecture, fabulous sculpture, which could only be created by prosperous people with a sensitive aesthetic taste. Frescoes of busty ladies and love scenes, carved into stone during the Gupta period, still fascinate today. The sculptors expressed in stone all those emotions and feelings that Vatsyana and other poets conveyed in words. The beautiful girls of Kalidas hide in their hot bodies the secret of sensual love and arouse in a person an uncontrollable passion to create; the holy and delightful sexual (sexual) act is the source of all life on earth.

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