Alcove Activities: First Level: Paraphrasing a Text, The Art of Loving
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First Level: Paraphrasing a Text, The Art of Loving
In this set of activities you will be both paraphrasing and explicating the thesis of several classic texts. You will paraphrase each excerpt section by section, followed by explicating the texts by stating your understanding of each one in your own words, then elaborating, exemplifying and illustrating them. In other words, for each of the texts in this section, you will begin by articulating them in your own words, sentence by sentence, or in parts, as we have presented them. Then you will explicate each one at level two.

After writing out your paraphrases in your own words, and explicating them, click on the thinker icon to see our specimen answers. You will first read the text as a whole at the beginning of each section, along with its background information, and then you will find the same text divided into parts for your practice.

The Art of Loving

Background Information:
These passages are from the book, The Art of Loving, by the distinguished psychologist Erich Fromm.

Is love an art? Then it requires knowledge and effort. Or is love a pleasant sensation, which to experience is a matter of chance, something one “falls into” if one is lucky? This little book is based on the former premise, while undoubtedly the majority of people today believe in the latter.

Not that people think that love is not important. They are starved for it; they watch endless numbers of films about happy and unhappy love stories, they listen to hundreds of trashy songs about love — yet hardly anyone thinks that there is anything that needs to be learned about love.

This peculiar attitude is based on several premises which either singly or combined tend to uphold it. Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one’s capacity to love. Hence the problem to them is how to be loved, how to be lovable. In pursuit of this aim they follow several paths. One, which is especially used by men, is to be successful, to be as powerful and rich as the social margin of one’s position permits. Another, used especially by women, is to make oneself attractive, by cultivating one’s body, dress, etc. Other ways of making oneself attractive, used both by men and women, are to develop pleasant manners, interesting conversation, to be helpful, modest, inoffensive. Many of the ways to make oneself lovable are the same as those used to make oneself successful, “to win friends and influence people.” As a matter of fact, what most people in our culture mean by being lovable is essentially a mixture between being popular and having sex appeal.

The active character of love becomes evident in the fact that it always implies certain basic elements, common to all forms of love. These are care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge... Love is the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love... Respect is the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect means the concern that the other person should grow and unfold as he is. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me. If I love the other person, I feel one with him or her, but with him as he is, not as I need him to be as an object for my use. It is clear that respect is possible only if I have achieved independence; if I can stand and walk without needing crutches, without having to dominate and exploit anyone else. Respect exists only on the basis of freedom: ‘l’amour est l’enfant de la liberté’ as an old French song says; love is the child of freedom, never of domination... To love somebody is not just a strong feeling — it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise.

Now that you have read the full text above, you will find the same text in sections below. Write out your paraphrase of each section in the box provided. Then see our specimen answers by clicking on the thinker icon.


Is love an art? Then it requires knowledge and effort.



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: If love is an art, involving skills and abilities, it requires deep understanding and the motivation to apply that understanding.




Or is love a pleasant sensation, which to experience is a matter of chance, something one “falls into” if one is lucky?



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: Or perhaps love is strictly an enjoyable physical feeling, not something requiring skill, but rather an accidental occurrence or coincidence that just happens to people.




This little book is based on the former premise, while undoubtedly the majority of people today believe in the latter.



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: The Art of Loving is based on the idea that love requires skills and insights that must be developed, as well as commitment, though most people do not see love in this way. Rather, they see it as something that happens by sheer luck.




Not that people think that love is not important. They are starved for it; they watch endless numbers of films about happy and unhappy love stories, they listen to hundreds of trashy songs about love — yet hardly anyone thinks that there is anything that needs to be learned about love.



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: Most people value love, at least at some level. In fact, they crave it. We know this because they watch innumerable movies about love and listen to endless vulgar songs about love. Yet, almost no one thinks that the ability to love is something that must be learned.




This peculiar attitude is based on several premises which either singly or combined tend to uphold it. Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one’s capacity to love. Hence the problem to them is how to be loved, how to be lovable.



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: This dysfunctional way in which people think of love is based on one or more beliefs they hold about it. People primarily see the difficulty of love as trying to figure out how to get love from, rather than give love to, someone else. They therefore focus their energy on getting others to love them. They try to appear engaging, charming, or adorable to attract a lover.




In pursuit of this aim they follow several paths. One, which is especially used by men, is to be successful, to be as powerful and rich as the social margin of one’s position permits. Another, used especially by women, is to make oneself attractive, by cultivating one’s body, dress, etc.



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: To achieve the goal of “being lovable,” men tend to use a different strategy than women use. Men strive to achieve a position of status, which usually involves having as much power and money as they can. Women tend to emphasize making themselves physically attractive to the opposite sex through adorning their body, attending to their clothing, and the like.




Other ways of making oneself attractive, used both by men and women, are to develop pleasant manners, interesting conversation, to be helpful, modest, inoffensive. Many of the ways to make oneself lovable are the same as those used to make oneself successful, “to win friends and influence people.” As a matter of fact, what most people in our culture mean by being lovable is essentially a mixture between being popular and having sex appeal.



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: Both men and women strive for appealing manners and a conversational style that renders them attractive, and therefore “lovable,” to the opposite sex. They try to appear cooperative, supportive, unassuming, and unobjectionable. These same strategies are used to appear successful in others’ eyes, to gain friends and win over people. To most people, being lovable is really the same as being sexy and well-liked.




The active character of [genuine] love becomes evident in the fact that it always implies certain basic elements, common to all forms of love. These are care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge... Love is the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love...



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: Certain basic parts of love exist within any form of real love. These are thoughtfulness, dependability, consideration, and understanding. When we love someone, we seek their best welfare. We show our concern for what happens to them.




Respect is the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect means the concern that the other person should grow and unfold as he is. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me. If I love the other person, I feel one with him or her, but with him as he is, not as I need him to be as an object for my use.



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: When we respect others, we don’t need to idealize them. We can see them as they really are, as persons with distinctive characteristics. We want them to develop as they want to develop and be what they want to be. We do not treat them as objects to be used for our own selfish interests. When we love others, we feel deeply connected to them as they are, with all their unique qualities.




It is clear that respect is possible only if I have achieved independence; if I can stand and walk without needing crutches, without having to dominate and exploit anyone else. Respect exists only on the basis of freedom: ‘l’amour est l’enfant de la liberté’ as an old French song says; love is the child of freedom, never of domination.



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: I can respect another only if I am myself an autonomous person, if I can stand on my own two feet, without the need to lean on others for support, without the need to use others, to control them so that they might serve me. Respect can happen only when people are allowed to be what they want to be, never when they are being forced to live a certain way against their will.




To love somebody is not just a strong feeling — it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise.



Paraphrase:
Possible Answer: Love is not just a feeling. It is a choice, a resolution, a commitment, and a pledge.