The Gentle Art of Erich Fromm

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1993, Vol 38(11), 1168–1169. Reviews the book, The Art of Being by Erich Fromm (1992). This book is a succinct and interesting little book composed of a series of brief chapters subdivided into six parts. Part l is a synopsis of what Fromm meant by the art of being. Fromm cites his previous conclusion that the full humanization of people “requires the breakthrough from the possession-centered to the activity-centered orientation, from selfishness and egotism to solidarity and altruism.” Fromm intended that this brief book include many practical suggestions concerning the steps people might take to achieve a state of being. Part 2 of his book lists several barriers to the achievement of being. Part 3 describes practices that one can undertake for self-improvement with the goal of promoting a life of being. The practices described in Part 3 are precursors to the techniques developed in Part 4. Basically, Fromm advocates a psychoanalytic approach to developing a life of being. This part includes brief chapters on psychoanalysis and selfawareness, self-analysis, and methods of self-analysis. The book concludes with Part 5, which includes more general chapters on the culture, philosophy, and psychology of having, again in contrast to a life of being, and with a four-page Part 6, From Having to Weil-Being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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