If one truly responds to man and his future, i. Rational faith as well as rational despair are based on the most thorough, critical knowledge of all the factors that are relevant for the survival of man. The basis of rational faith in man is the presence of a real possibility for his salvation: the basis for rational despair would be the knowledge that no such possibility can be seen. Yet the spreading of irrational despair is in itself destructive, as all untruth is; it discourages and confuses.
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During the summer semester of , Fromm studied at the University of Heidelberg , where he began studying sociology under Alfred Weber brother of the better known sociologist Max Weber , psychiatrist-philosopher Karl Jaspers , and Heinrich Rickert. Fromm received his PhD in sociology from Heidelberg in They married in , but separated shortly after and divorced in He began his own clinical practice in In he joined the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research and completed his psychoanalytical training.
Their relationship ended in the late s. Meanwhile, he taught as a professor of psychology at Michigan State University from to and as an adjunct professor of psychology at the graduate division of Arts and Sciences at New York University after In he moved from Mexico City to Muralto , Switzerland, and died at his home in , five days before his eightieth birthday. All the while, Fromm maintained his own clinical practice and published a series of books.
Indeed, Escape from Freedom is viewed as one of the founding works of political psychology. His second important work, Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics, first published in , continued and enriched the ideas of Escape from Freedom.
He began studying Talmud as a young man under Rabbi J. However, Fromm turned away from orthodox Judaism in , towards secular interpretations of scriptural ideals. Drawing on his knowledge of the Talmud, Fromm pointed out that being able to distinguish between good and evil is generally considered to be a virtue, but that biblical scholars generally consider Adam and Eve to have sinned by disobeying God and eating from the Tree of Knowledge.
However, departing from traditional religious orthodoxy on this, Fromm extolled the virtues of humans taking independent action and using reason to establish moral values rather than adhering to authoritarian moral values. Beyond a simple condemnation of authoritarian value systems, Fromm used the story of Adam and Eve as an allegorical explanation for human biological evolution and existential angst, asserting that when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they became aware of themselves as being separate from nature while still being part of it.
This is why they felt "naked" and "ashamed": they had evolved into human beings , conscious of themselves, their own mortality, and their powerlessness before the forces of nature and society, and no longer united with the universe as they were in their instinctive , pre-human existence as animals. However, Fromm distinguished his concept of love from unreflective popular notions as well as Freudian paradoxical love see the criticism by Marcuse below. Fromm considered love to be an interpersonal creative capacity rather than an emotion , and he distinguished this creative capacity from what he considered to be various forms of narcissistic neuroses and sado-masochistic tendencies that are commonly held out as proof of "true love".
Drawing from his knowledge of the Torah , Fromm pointed to the story of Jonah , who did not wish to save the residents of Nineveh from the consequences of their sin, as demonstrative of his belief that the qualities of care and responsibility are generally absent from most human relationships.
Fromm also asserted that few people in modern society had respect for the autonomy of their fellow human beings, much less the objective knowledge of what other people truly wanted and needed. Fromm believed that freedom was an aspect of human nature that we either embrace or escape. He observed that embracing our freedom of will was healthy, whereas escaping freedom through the use of escape mechanisms was the root of psychological conflicts.
Destructiveness: any process which attempts to eliminate others or the world as a whole, all to escape freedom. Fromm said that "the destruction of the world is the last, almost desperate attempt to save myself from being crushed by it". For example, in an addendum to his book The Heart of Man: Its Genius For Good and Evil, Fromm wrote as part of his humanist credo : "I believe that the man choosing progress can find a new unity through the development of all his human forces, which are produced in three orientations.
These can be presented separately or together: biophilia, love for humanity and nature, and independence and freedom. Excitation and Stimulation Actively striving for a goal rather than simply responding. Unity A sense of oneness between one person and the "natural and human world outside.
The "individualized man" referenced by Fromm is man bereft of the "primary ties" of belonging i. However, if the economic, social and political conditions It then becomes identical with doubt, with a kind of life which lacks meaning and direction. Powerful tendencies arise to escape from this kind of freedom into submission or some kind of relationship to man and the world which promises relief from uncertainty, even if it deprives the individual of his freedom.
The point is repeated on pp. Five basic orientations[ edit ] Main article: Character orientation In his book Man for Himself Fromm spoke of " orientation of character ". He differentiates his theory of character from that of Freud by focusing on two ways an individual relates to the world.
Freud analyzed character in terms of libido organization, whereas Fromm says that in the process of living, we relate to the world by: 1 acquiring and assimilating things—"Assimilation", and 2 reacting to people—"Socialization". Fromm lists four types of nonproductive character orientation, which he called receptive, exploitative, hoarding, and marketing, and one positive character orientation, which he called productive.
Receptive and exploitative orientations are basically how an individual may relate to other people and are socialization attributes of character. The marketing orientation arises in response to the human situation in the modern era. The current needs of the market determine value. It is a relativistic ethic. In contrast, the productive orientation is an objective ethic.
Despite the existential struggles of humanity, each human has the potential for love, reason and productive work in life. Fromm writes, "It is the paradox of human existence that man must simultaneously seek for closeness and for independence; for oneness with others and at the same time for the preservation of his uniqueness and particularity.
Porter, PhD. Fromm identified a discrepancy between early and later Freudian theory: namely that, prior to World War I, Freud had described human drives as a tension between desire and repression, but after the end of the war, began framing human drives as a struggle between biologically universal Life and Death Eros and Thanatos instincts.
Fromm charged Freud and his followers with never acknowledging the contradictions between the two theories. According to Fromm, Freudian descriptions of human consciousness as struggles between two poles were narrow and limiting.
Fromm also condemned Freud as a misogynist unable to think outside the patriarchal milieu of early 20th century Vienna. However, in spite of these criticisms, Fromm nonetheless expressed a great respect for Freud and his accomplishments.
Fromm contended that Freud was one of the "architects of the modern age", alongside Albert Einstein and Karl Marx , but emphasized that he considered Marx both far more historically important than Freud and a finer thinker.
In Escape from Freedom, he found value in the lack of individual freedom, rigid structure, and obligations required on the members of medieval society: What characterizes medieval in contrast to modern society is its lack of individual freedom…But altogether a person was not free in the modern sense, neither was he alone and isolated. In having a distinct, unchangeable, and unquestionable place in the social world from the moment of birth, man was rooted in a structuralized whole, and thus life had a meaning which left no place, and no need for doubt…There was comparatively little competition.
One was born into a certain economic position which guaranteed a livelihood determined by tradition, just as it carried economic obligations to those higher in the social hierarchy. Building primarily upon the early works of Karl Marx , Fromm sought to re-emphasise the ideal of freedom, missing from most Soviet Marxism and more frequently found in the writings of libertarian socialists and liberal theoreticians.
He became one of the founders of socialist humanism , promoting the early writings of Marx and his humanist messages to the US and Western European public. In , working to stimulate the Western and Eastern cooperation between Marxist humanists, Fromm published a series of articles entitled Socialist Humanism: An International Symposium.
For a period, Fromm was also active in U. He joined the Socialist Party of America in the mids, and did his best to help them provide an alternative viewpoint to McCarthyist trends in some US political thought.
This alternative viewpoint was best expressed in his paper May Man Prevail? Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Fromm was awarded Nelly Sachs Prize in Criticism[ edit ] In Eros and Civilization , Herbert Marcuse is critical of Fromm: In the beginning, he was a radical theorist, but later he turned to conformity.
Fromm argues that later scholars such as Marcuse accepted these concepts as dogma, whereas social psychology requires a more dynamic theoretical and empirical approach. Erich Fromm: His Life and Ideas. Translators Ian Portman, Manuela Kunkel.
Erich Fromm - The Anatomy Of Human Destructiveness
During the summer semester of , Fromm studied at the University of Heidelberg , where he began studying sociology under Alfred Weber brother of the better known sociologist Max Weber , psychiatrist-philosopher Karl Jaspers , and Heinrich Rickert. Fromm received his PhD in sociology from Heidelberg in They married in , but separated shortly after and divorced in He began his own clinical practice in
The job had been obtained for me, and others of our friends, by Mike and Tom Miley whose mother, Helen, was working as the business manager there. After graduating from seminary she was kind enough to employ me again until I found more regular work. The position at the club was a peach. My duties consisted of guarding the service entrance, the most onerous part of which was having to arrive before the other workers did early in the morning.
The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness