The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm and the Role of Platonic Love

Essay by Luke Foster

“Love isn’t something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling; it is a practice.” 
Fromm, Eric, The Art of Loving

I am not very good in romantic relationships, but I have lots of platonic friends who I care about deeply. I think that the most finite material on earth isn’t petroleum, coal or uranium but the time we spend on earth or life itself. After my mum died last week, I realised that I don’t have that many years to live even if I live to the ripe old age of 89 like mum.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others? ‘” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Having good friends and caring for them deeply is important and it gives life compassion, funny times and deep meaning.

 “Conquer anger with non-anger. Conquer badness with goodness. Conquer meanness with generosity. Conquer dishonesty with truth.” Buddha

I am fifty years old and realise that I have a long way go to be as kind and giving and compassionate as my dear mother.

I think my greatest mistake is giving into fear and confusion when everything isn’t going my way.

“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.” Walt Whitman

I don’t get to spend as much time with my platonic friends as I wish as unlike me, they overall have full time jobs and are married with children.

I find that I am also friends with myself meaning I often stand outside myself and care for myself and love myself. This might seem like a strange thing to say but its how I manage to function while spending so much time alone.

“It is the true season of love, when we know that we alone can love, that no one could ever have loved before us and that no one will ever love in the same way after us.” Goethe

So to wrap up platonic love gives my life meaning and happiness.