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Thematic Essay - Love and Alienation

            Have you ever loved someone so much that you felt like your heart was going to come out of your chest just by staring at him/her? Do you still feel the same way? Love is a powerful and complicated emotion that demands time, loyalty, and understanding. But why do we love? Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle developed different concepts of love to help us justify the love we feel. Eros, is the sexual, intimate and passionate love between two individuals, Agape, is the love of God for a man, or the love of a man for God, Philia is the love between friends, and Storge, the love and affection between a parent and his/her children. Erich Fromm in his book The Art of Loving provides a wonderful explanation of love as an art that requires more than just a pleasant sensation. Also, Jean Rhys in her novel Wide Sargasso Sea, and Spike Jonze in his film Her, provide us different perspectives of love and the way our culture, race, or differences alienate us from each other.
             Love is such a challenge for us because we believe there is nothing new to learn about love. However, Erich Fromm claims that loving is an art that involves knowledge and effort, and therefore theory and practice. We fall in our gender roles established by the society in order to find love without trying to learn about love. In our egocentric minds, we see the problem as being loved rather than loving, and thus alienation becomes the problem of human existence. Furthermore, we separate from each other because we believe that love lies in the confusion between the initial experience of "falling" in love and the permanent state of being in love or "standing" in love. Alienation brings anxiety, shame, and the feeling of guilt. The need to overcome separateness draws individuals into a temporary escape (orgiastic solutions, creative activity, and herd conformity) that Fromm calls the culturally common solutions to the problem of human existence.

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