6. THE ART OF LOVING

I spent a lot of time on this journey in Europe by myself, just reading, thinking, and writing in my journal. One of the books I read and reread, trying to figure out why I had been so oblivious to what was going on in my marriage, was Eric Fromm’s The Art of Loving. Fromm’s thesis is that love is the only satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. Loving is an art, and we must master not only the theory of love but also the practice of love.

I learned that our deepest need is to overcome our aloneness and our separateness. We seek to escape from separateness in various ways. We seek conformity, mistaking it for union. This is a soul-crushing way to exist. Or we seek union through orgiastic states—drugs, alcoholism, ...

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