I came across two great passages from Erich Fromm while reading his The Dogma of Christ. I’ll only be talking about the first one because the second one is only interesting if you are working on a critical historical analysis of comic book super heroes.
“What is praised by love experts and marriage counselors is a team relationship between two people who manipulate each other with the right techniques and whose love is essentially an egotism à deux—a haven from an otherwise unbearable aloneness.”
That’s what I see in the world around me lately. People fleeing from this unbearable aloneness. As though being alone were something awful. I’m sure if you’ve never tried it, it would be full of awe. But, really, isn’t this something we should all experiment with? You know “Sure, I tried that in college”.
We don’t just flee into the arms of other zombies either. We flee into the tube, into books, into our works of art, into anything to remove us from ourselves. I once wrote that loneliness is the desire to be alone when no one else is around. I stand by that definition.
We are isolated, often forced into it by our modern world, but we refuse to allow ourselves to be alone. Always the TV on or the radio on in the background. Company. Background noise. Don’t let those thoughts well up, come burbling over.
Anyway, not my favorite book from Fromm. Much prefer You Shall Be as Gods. But definitely worth the read.