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This classic work by psychologist and social philosopher Eric Fromm builds upon his previous popular book, To Have or to Be? In The Art of Being, Fromm teaches us to avoid the tantalizing illusions of our consumer-driven world by learning to function as a whole person from a state of inner completeness or being. The transition from an identity of having to being creates a state of enlightened psychological and spiritual happiness.
How can we realize and actualize love, reason, and meaningful, productive work? Fromm’s proposed way of living, based on authentic self-awareness, comes only through honest self-analysis. Wisely, he warns of the pitfalls of our attaining enlightenment without effort, or believing that life can be lived without pain. The tantalizing “spiritual smorgasbord” offered by our consumer-oriented world, Fromm maintains, only feeds our illusions of “easy awareness.” Confronting the psycho-gurus who preach these shortcuts to enlightenment, Fromm offers another way to self-awareness and well-being, one based on psychoanalysis and self-awareness through meditation. By learning to be centered in the self, the individual is less swayed by the endless pressures and dissatisfactions of the culture of consumerism.
The Art of Being is one of Fromm’s most important works.