quinta-feira, 3 de janeiro de 2013

THE ART OF LIVING

"But not only medicine, engineering, and painting are arts; living itself is an art - in fact, the most important and at the same time the most difficult and complex art to be practiced by man. Its object is not this or that specialized performance, but the performance of living, the process of developing  into that which one is potentially. In the art of living, man is both the artist and the object of his art; he is the sculptor and the marble; the physician and the patient. (...) It is interesting at this point to ask why our time has lost the concept of life as an art. Modern man seems to believe that reading and writing are arts to be learned, that to become an architect, an engineer, or a skilled worker warrants considerable study, but that living is something so simple that no particular effort is required to learn how to do it. Just because everyone "lives" in some fashion, life is considered a matter in which everyone qualifies as an expert. But it is not because of the fact that man has mastered the art of living  to such a degree that he has lost the sense of its difficulty. The prevailing lack of genuine joy and happiness in the process of living obviously excludes such an explanation. Modern society, in spite of all the emphasis it puts upon happiness, individuality, and self-interest, has taught man  to feel that not his happiness (or if we were to use a theological term, his salvation) is the aim of life, but the fulfillment of his duty to work, or his success. Money, prestige, and power have become his incentives and ends. He acts under the illusion that his actions benefit his self-interest, though he actually serves everything but the interests of his real self. Everything is important to him except his life and the art of living. He is for everything except for himself."

Eric Fromm, Man For Himself (1947)

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