Sunday, May 18, 2014

Art of Loving

Version 0.2

Two Minor Criticisms of The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

Mostly an excellent book that I can highly recommend. This is a book that was published more than 50 years ago, but which is still in print and still in demand, even in Japanese. After reading the English version, I tried to reserve the Japanese version at the library, only to find more than 30 people ahead of me (even though the library has several copies).

The book ranged over a large number of topics and I felt that it was deeply insightful on almost all of them. Actually, my main reaction was to feel like we are become mental midgets compared to such deep thinkers. In particular, I think Internet is contributing greatly towards our shallow, unfocused, and overly fluid thinking.

Notwithstanding that, I felt there were two weaknesses in the book. One was in sections where he used the kind of vague language that afflicts medical diagnosis and astrology. Such language makes it too easy to fit people into categories that seem highly applicable, but are actually uncertain.

The other weakness was in his gender stereotyping. He took it as natural that children should change and evolve over time, but seemed to ignore the possibility that parents can also change. I felt that his thinking on these topics was even kind of rigid compared to other areas he discussed, but just now I'd excuse him on the basis of his dealings with the Freudians...