Return to Fromm and regain the power of love

I am more keen to put forward some views that run counter to the general knowledge. There is just one about love. In my opinion, free love actually reduces the probability of realizing love.
What is “the realization of love”? The general, though rough, standard of society is that both men and women enter into a love relationship.
In fact, according to Chinese people’s more habitual understanding, whether to marry, maintain marriage and have children is also included in the definition of the realization of love, at least this is the concept of parents-life must have a normal end-result. However, modern life often makes it difficult to establish those important “normalities” that have lasted for thousands of years.
Without considering the latter, it is only aimed at “entering a love relationship”, which has become the common worry of many marriageable young people and their parents today. Serious cases even affect the “normal” parent-child relationship.
To state a negative fact is not to identify with its opposite. For example, none of us want to return to the era of “parents’ orders and matchmaking”, although love is easier to realize in that era. The difference between arranged marriage and free love is like the difference between the currency era and the barter era. The former can be smoothly connected, while the latter is difficult to find each other.
You must have immediately thought of an important question: arranged marriages do not seem to contain love.
There is indeed a state of old age like new or even old age like enmity, and it is not uncommon-free love can be stopped by a decisive end.
However, in most cases, time will allow love to grow and deepen. People just get married before and fall in love after. Otherwise, we cannot explain why our great grandparents, grandparents and even parents have deep feelings. Moreover, the concept of love freedom may not exist in the big or small environment they were in at that time, so the vast majority of people (with exceptions, of course) would not be able to put forward a non-existent demand, and arrangement would be generally understood as a necessary condition for love to happen, thus people would be more psychologically prepared to wait for it to happen.
Arranging is regarded as an absolutely unacceptable, anti-human state with nothing but pain, which is a matter after the establishment of the concept of free love.
This is true in all aspects of social life. Before new values are generated and accepted, people live in peace of mind and do not have too many conscious mental difficulties.
This is the paradox of modernity. On the one hand, the modernization of life has become the common pursuit of all ethnic groups for hundreds of years. The development of modernity shows the victory of rationality and emphasizes respect for people’s free choice. As Zimmer pointed out, the formation of individuals can be regarded as a symbol of modernity-the May 4th New Culture Movement in China contributed to this. On the other hand, we find that when a reasonable modern society comes, it is not what it is expected to be, even contrary to the ideal state. It quickly breeds brand-new, more difficult to overcome, and increasingly obvious pain in every aspect. Therefore, in the field of cultural aesthetics, modernity is manifested in the spirit of modernism, criticizing and even attacking the modern society continuously.
Today’s love problem is actually one side of the cultural paradox of modernity, because free love has become an insurmountable precondition, making it more difficult for more and more young people to establish ties with love and derivatives of love such as marriage, children and family ties.
Of course, all the factors of modernity are interrelated. The difficult problem of love is not the result of free love alone, but a series of profound social changes.
An individual who opposes himself.

Modernity is marked by the generation of individuals, which is actually a western perspective.
Modern western society was born out of feudal society and is a reaction to feudal society. Feudal society is characterized by hierarchy and hereditary status. Everyone is attached to a certain value level, has a holistic label, and has little room for change. This kind of life may be material deprivation or even suffering for most people, but there are few conflicts in spirit. As mentioned earlier, people will not put forward non-existent needs.
Just like free love, we don’t want to and can’t deny its legitimacy today, but the fact is that it didn’t exist for most of human history. In essence, it completely transforms love from family, family affairs and even class affairs into personal affairs.

It is for this reason that the movement to arouse individuals is called the enlightenment movement, which converts some values into universal needs and puts them into society, and expounds them into natural justice through the discussion of natural law.
Just like free love, we don’t want to and can’t deny its legitimacy today, but the fact is that it didn’t exist for most of human history. In essence, it completely transforms love from family, family affairs and even class affairs into personal affairs. Value is beautiful, because love is endowed with a kind of beauty of freedom, truth, passion and romance, but no power will ask how it is realized. Just like farmers, small handicraftsmen and small bourgeois are transformed into free laborers-industrial workers, but the price of freedom is that satiety becomes a big problem. In a free (atomized) state, you can only blame yourself if you cannot have enough. Lack of security is a common inner experience.
Therefore, individuals in modern society came together to Erich Fromm’s theoretical starting point. He said loneliness is the root of every fear. “The greatest need for a person is to overcome his loneliness and get rid of his solitary confinement.” “If he can’t combine with others or the world around him in one way or another, he will go crazy.”
Fromm’s “The Art of Love” is an insurmountable peak in theoretical books on love. It seems that Fromm generally discusses the meaning of love to people in any social form and the way to save themselves, but every word points to the present more than 60 years ago and the present.
A few days ago, I didn’t know to write this article. I just talked to a friend about the art of love. My friend mentioned the question of whether Fromm will be out of date. After all, it has been more than 60 years since the publication time.
I am quite sure that no, it will prove his correctness even more as time goes by. Fromm is a representative figure of western Marxists. His thoughts in his works Escape from Freedom, A Sound Society and The Art of Love are in fact further deepening and expanding on the basis of Marx’s alienation theory.
The alienation theory has never been out of date, but has spilled from the original focus on the industrial field to all aspects of social life. Today, almost every one of us is doing what we can against ourselves, transforming the objects and achievements of our labor into the power to dominate ourselves and make ourselves helpless.

Let’s see what Fromm said.
Objective: To get rid of loneliness

The modern individual means atomization, and people lose contact with each other and with themselves, thus creating a sense of loneliness, which in turn induces fear that cannot be endured for a long time. Fromm believed that in order to get rid of loneliness, there are several ways to realize the unity between people (to establish strong ties).
One is “different forms of sex”. “In a short period of extreme excitement, the world disappeared and the feeling of isolation disappeared.”
Today, it seems that alcohol, drugs and sexual intercourse are the most conspicuous ones that explode at any time in the world’s shopping malls, official circles, entertainment circles and other upper-class societies. The most common and mild form is what neil Pozmann called “entertainment to death”. Everyone forgets the reality in flashes of excitement and tease.
Love that helps eliminate loneliness is mature love. Its characteristic is to give it sincerely and without utility. I love you, so I need you, not I need you, so I love you.

The characteristic of sex is intense and needs to be repeated continuously. In fact, it is continuous anesthesia and forgetting, so the unification is temporary.
The second is “the combination of the same group of people”. Individuals obey a larger or smaller community and accept its rule. From a certain sub-cultural circle to a strong nationalism and ideology.
“Participants lost most of their personalities in order to belong to this group of people,” however, “they live in an illusion that they act according to their own wishes, are individuals with personalities, and form their own opinions through thinking in the brain”. This will remind people of Fromm’s other book “Escape from Freedom” and the “rabble” carefully studied by Gustave Le Bon.
The unification thus achieved is a false unification.
The third is “creative labor”. This was supposed to have the function of promoting the integrity of human beings, but Fromm pointed out that it was only applicable to the work that he planned, carried out and saw results. “In the modern working procedure of a staff member and a worker on a production line, there is hardly any such characteristic of labor. A worker becomes part of a machine or bureaucratic organization. He is no longer “self.”
Today, creative labor is already very scarce, and the most typical is that artisans are basically eliminated, while writers and artists are woven into modern business processes to a large extent and become parts of them. We know that this is not the result of choice but the compulsion of social mechanisms. Modern life makes people basically no longer have the danger of survival, but at the same time it also makes people have to work ceaselessly for the sake of physiological and social survival and become robots. In a modern society, almost no one will starve to death, but more and more people will die suddenly at a young age.
Fromm believed that under this kind of labor condition, most people still simply adapt to the society and “are not the unity between people”.
The above three ways to get rid of loneliness are in fact trying to hide fear, but they are not helpful to eliminate fear, and the degree of fear will deepen vindictively. Therefore, people’s behavior is actually further opposed to their real needs.
After sorting out and criticizing one by one, Fromm came to the conclusion: “The real and comprehensive answer to the problems existing in human beings is to realize the unity between people in love.”
The love that helps eliminate loneliness is mature love. Its characteristic is to give it sincerely and without utility. I love you, so I need you, not I need you, so I love you. People “give others what is alive in his heart and share with others his joy, interest, understanding, knowledge, humor and sadness-in short, everything that is alive in him. Through his giving, it enriches others, and at the same time, while he improves his own sense of life, he also improves the other’s sense of life. He did not give for gain, but through his giving, he will inevitably arouse something alive in the other party. Therefore, his giving also includes making the recipient a giver, and both parties will be full of happiness because they have awakened some vitality in their hearts. ”
Love is the mutual fulfillment between two living hearts. It is the unity of the two, making each other complete, no longer lonely, no longer afraid.
Loss of Ability

Fromm believed that the first three could not achieve the goal of getting rid of loneliness, but only non-utilitarian love. Of course, the latter is what we aspire to, but its requirements are too high, so it is only theoretically possible.
In fact, difficulties are being buried in the analysis. The first three that cannot work have already become the norm in contemporary society. Most people can take their seats accordingly. This is why we said earlier that alienation has spilled into all aspects of social life. The daily use of these three will even make people lose the ability to love.
Sex makes people distorted, obedience makes people stupid, and alienated labor makes people tools, all of which will dissolve and kill “inner vitality”. Therefore, even the unlimited freedom of love makes it difficult for people to establish effective connections. On the contrary, in the act of seeking connections, which relies heavily on people’s initiative, people’s rigidity is exposed. Today’s people are best at silence.
The dull similarity between men and women in modern society, which is regulated by social reality from inside to outside, makes it more difficult for the spark of love to come out of generate, and at the same time it is easier to get tired of each other.

We should also see a logic that is easy to be ignored: sex, obedience and alienated labor. These attempts to establish a unified way between people are aimed at eliminating loneliness rather than realizing love and love. On the contrary, in the sense of fighting loneliness and fear, the first three are still substitutes for love and love. In other words, with the first three, people’s demand for love and love will be weakened.
Today, almost no force can drive or liberate people from these three states, so love and love enter a state of low desire. The spirit of modernism always misses the traditional society from time to time because these three do not exist in most people’s lives. Under normal circumstances, people can only get rid of loneliness and fear through love and love. The rarer these three are, the stronger people’s love for each other. Idealists assume that society should be a “free association of people who love each other”, which brings the shadow of the era of primitive public ownership.
Sex, obedience and alienated labor make people lose their differences. Although the modern society claims that it is in the opposite direction and has established a pluralistic society with diverse identities and values, it is only a bag of glass beads with different sizes and colors. Just like a hundred people may like a hundred different stars, but the common characteristics are entertaining and distorted sex addicts. One hundred people may belong to one hundred different small organizations, but they are all obedient people who escape from freedom and objectivity. A hundred people may live in a hundred different industries, but they are all human flesh machines engaged in alienated labor.
Losing the difference is interpreted as equality. Fromm pointed out pointedly, “Today’s equality refers to the machine-that is, the equality of people who have lost their individuality. Equality means’ one model’ rather than’ unity’. This is the same pattern of an abstract body, a pattern of people who do the same work, seek the same enjoyment, read the same newspaper, and have the same thoughts and feelings. ”

His subsequent analysis coincides with my own observation and thinking: “I don’t need to emphasize here that I am not against equality between men and women; However, some positive results achieved in striving for equality between men and women should not obscure our eyes. The reason why women are equal to men is that the differences between men and women have disappeared … the two poles of gender have disappeared, and the sex based on these two poles has also disappeared. ”
In fact, the development of anything depends on differences, which generate the motivation of “three people must have their own teachers”. The same is true for love. The real attraction between two people is to admit that each other has some quality I lack and intoxicate me-the so-called charm, which is actually what Fromm called “inner vitality”. However, the dull similarity between men and women in modern society, which is regulated by social reality from inside to outside, makes it more difficult for the spark of love to come out of generate, and at the same time it is easier to get tired of each other.

Foreign invasion does not exist

If it is more difficult for people to find charm from each other and feel the “living heart”, they will turn to themselves more and show a narcissism, thus doubling their mutual exclusion.
Logical analysis makes me aware that there is probably a larger proportion of singles among young men and women chasing stars. I don’t have this kind of special statistics, even if it is not reliable, but I found on the search engine that the topic “why most star-chasing girls are single” filled the screen, which is probably a weak evidence. Starchaser is actually a narcissistic behavior. By setting up an imaginary and virtual standard, you can tell the real people around you that they have high requirements that do not exist in reality-in fact, they do not exist in stars.
The pursuit of stars can also be regarded as an alternative to sex because it is being prized by commercial entertainment mechanisms. The more narcissistic a person is, the less he feels the threat in the real world of free love and the more he indulges in a false confidence. The docking of free love has become more and more difficult, one of the reasons is that people do not feel the existence of “foreign invasion”.
Foreign invasion will strengthen internal unity. Once the foreign invasion disappears, internal contradictions will become prominent. This is the rule. This is true for a community and for a couple of lovers.
It is too easy to love or not to love, because it has too many substitutes to make oneself falsely away from loneliness. In fact, a playful remark on the internet is very general: why are dating, cell phones and computers not fun?

Under what circumstances is freedom truly precious? The answer is: when there is widespread freedom in society. It is for this reason that the love stories that we are familiar with that make the gods cry are all produced in the era when love is not free. Jiao Zhongqing and Liu Lanzhi, butterfly lovers, Cui Yingying and Zhang Junrui, Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei, White Lady and Xu Xian, Cowherd and Weaving Maid, Valentine and Warden’s Daughter, Romeo and Juliet …
In the absence of freedom, free love has a strong impulse to realize itself. Therefore, those classic love stories are often moved not by love itself but by their resistance.
When freedom becomes a daily thing, resistance is no longer necessary, and the sense of holiness of love decreases. However, people are confident because of narcissism. The impulse to solve all obstacles in order to realize love and the willingness to make greater efforts to maintain love will also be weakened. To give a practical example, lovers separated from each other may fall in love with each other tenaciously, but when they finally meet in the same place, they may soon separate. More generally, if you fail to meet a suitable object, wait. After getting along for a short time, if you find that some living habits do not merge with each other, then give up. After the combination, I feel that some personalities and behaviors need to be coordinated, but coordination is difficult, so I will break up.
We often hear young men and women say that they “don’t believe in love”. Except for a few cases of swindlers, in most cases it is because modern love is too fragile, while people love and don’t love too easily, because it has too many substitutes to make themselves falsely away from loneliness. In fact, a playful remark on the internet is very general: why are dating, cell phones and computers not fun?
I think it is necessary to emphasize my position that I will never oppose free love again, but I also want to reiterate that free love is increasingly unable to solve the problem and even becomes an integral part of the problem under the influence of other social realities. This is why parents act as matchmaking partners in local challenges to free love.
I do not despise the arranged marriage that existed for a thousand years, because it is not an imaginary hell. War and natural disasters must be hell, but social life, which was considered normal at that time, could not be, just as people today would not be in hell without love. In the final analysis, people have the need to embed some order so that they are not lonely or afraid, and each era has its own way of embedding.
Although it is extremely difficult, I still wish the people of today can return to Fromm and regain the ability of love.