March 23 ~ The Art of Loving Art of Listening

"Our main task is to give birth to ourselves." ~ Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

Psychoanalyst and philosopher Erich Pinchas Fromm (19001980) was born on this day in Frankfurt, Germany and was best known for writing the landmark book, The Art of Loving (1956), which explored the many facets of love.

"Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others," he observed.

A witness to the mass destruction of Jews in Nazi Germany, Fromm made a traumatic flight to New York in 1934. The experience greatly influenced the way he saw life and the world.

He said, "To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime."

Fromm turned to the healing power of love for answers and believed self-knowledge and respect for others led to fulfillment.

"We are only capable of knowing, and caring for the other if we are also capable of understanding, caring, and knowing ourselves," said Fromm who taught at Yale, Columbia, and New York University.

The writer of over 50 books, Fromm mixed his thoughts with those of Freud, Marx, the Jewish bible, and Zen Buddhism. He stressed the importance of culture in the development of personality and wrote, "In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two."

For Fromm, self-esteem was the key to creativity: "What matters in relation to love is the faith in one's own love; in its ability to produce love in others."

Erich FrommWith the heart, create.