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Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm

Overview
Erich Seligmann Fromm (March 23, 1900 – March 18, 1980) was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

 of critical theory
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

.

Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am Main, the only child of Orthodox Jewish
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 parents. He started his academic studies in 1918 at the University of Frankfurt am Main with two semesters of jurisprudence
Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

.
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Quotations

One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.

ABC TV (25 May 1958)

Both dreams and myths are important communications from ourselves to ourselves. If we do not understand the language in which they are written, we miss a great deal of what we know and tell ourselves in those hours when we are not busy manipulating the outside world.

As quoted in The New York Times (5 January 1964)

The kind of relatedness to the world may be noble or trivial, but even being related to the basest kind of pattern is immensely preferable to being alone.

Ch. 1
Encyclopedia
Erich Seligmann Fromm (March 23, 1900 – March 18, 1980) was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

 of critical theory
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

.

Life


Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am Main, the only child of Orthodox Jewish
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 parents. He started his academic studies in 1918 at the University of Frankfurt am Main with two semesters of jurisprudence
Jurisprudence
Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal theorists , hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions...

. During the summer semester of 1919, Fromm studied at the University of Heidelberg, where he switched from studying jurisprudence to sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 under Alfred Weber
Alfred Weber
Alfred Weber was a German economist, sociologist and theoretician of culture whose work was influential in the development of modern economic geography.-Life:...

 (brother of the better known sociologist Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

), the psychiatrist-philosopher Karl Jaspers
Karl Jaspers
Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology, psychiatry and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system...

, and Heinrich Rickert
Heinrich Rickert
Heinrich John Rickert was a German philosopher, one of the leading Neo-Kantians.-Life:He was born in Danzig, Prussia and died in Heidelberg, Germany.-Thought:...

. Fromm received his PhD in sociology from Heidelberg in 1922. During the mid 1920s, he was trained to become a psychoanalyst through Frieda Reichmann's psychoanalytic sanatorium in Heidelberg
Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

. He began his own clinical practice in 1927. In 1930, he joined the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research
Institute for Social Research
The Institute for Social Research is a research organization for sociology and continental philosophy, best known as the institutional home of the Frankfurt School and critical theory....

 and completed his psychoanalytical training. After the Nazi takeover of power in Germany, Fromm moved to Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 and then, in 1934, to Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in New York. Karen Horney
Karen Horney
Karen Horney born Danielsen was a German-American psychoanalyst. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views, particularly his theory of sexuality, as well as the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis and its genetic psychology...

's long-term relationship with Fromm is the subject of her book Self Analysis. They each had a marked influence on the other's thought, with Horney illuminating some aspects of psychoanalysis for Fromm and the latter elucidating sociology for Horney. Their relationship ended in the late 1930s. After leaving Columbia, Fromm helped form the New York branch of the Washington School of Psychiatry in 1943, and in 1946 co-founded the William Alanson White Institute
William Alanson White Institute
The William Alanson White Institute, founded in 1946, is an institution for training psychoanalysts and psychotherapists. It is located in New York City, USA, on the Upper West Side, in the Clara Thompson building....

 of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology. He was on the faculty of Bennington College
Bennington College
Bennington College is a liberal arts college located in Bennington, Vermont, USA. The college was founded in 1932 as a women's college and became co-educational in 1969.-History:-Early years:...

 from 1941 to 1949.

When Fromm moved to Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 in 1949, he became a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico
National Autonomous University of Mexico
The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México is a university in Mexico. UNAM was founded on 22 September 1910 by Justo Sierra as a liberal alternative to the Roman Catholic-sponsored Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous...

 (UNAM) and established a psychoanalytic section at the medical school there. He taught at UNAM until his retirement, in 1965, and at the Mexican Society of Psychoanalysis (SMP) until 1974. Meanwhile, he taught as a professor of psychology at Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Michigan State University is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, USA. Founded in 1855, it was the pioneer land-grant institution and served as a model for future land-grant colleges in the United States under the 1862 Morrill Act.MSU pioneered the studies of packaging,...

 from 1957 to 1961 and as an adjunct professor of psychology at the graduate division of Arts and Sciences at New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 after 1962. In 1974 he moved from Mexico City to Muralto
Muralto
Muralto is a municipality in the district of Locarno, in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland.-Roman settlement:In the second half of the 19th Century, the ruins of a Roman settlement were discovered. However, all the items discovered in these early excavations are either lost or they are kept in...

, Switzerland, and died at his home in 1980, five days before his eightieth birthday. All the while, Fromm maintained his own clinical practice and published a series of books.

Psychological theory


Beginning with his first seminal work of 1941, Escape from Freedom (known in Britain as Fear of Freedom), Fromm's writings were notable as much for their social and political commentary as for their philosophical and psychological underpinnings. Indeed, Escape from Freedom is viewed as one of the founding works of political psychology
Political psychology
Political psychology is an interdisciplinary academic field dedicated to understanding political science, politicians and political behavior. Psychological theories of behavior including; belief, motivation, conflict, perception, cognition, information processing, learning strategies, socialization...

. His second important work, Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics, first published in 1947, continued and enriched the ideas of Escape from Freedom. Taken together, these books outlined Fromm's theory of human character, which was a natural outgrowth of Fromm's theory of human nature. Fromm's most popular book was The Art of Loving
The Art of Loving
The Art of Loving is a book written by psychologist and social philosopher Erich Fromm , which was published as part of the "World Perspectives Series" edited by Ruth Nanda Anshen...

, an international bestseller first published in 1956, which recapitulated and complemented the theoretical principles of human nature found in Escape from Freedom and Man for Himself—principles which were revisited in many of Fromm's other major works.

Central to Fromm's world view
World view
A comprehensive world view is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point-of-view, including natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and...

 was his interpretation of the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, which he began studying as a young man under Rabbi J. Horowitz and later studied under Rabbi Salman Baruch Rabinkow while working towards his doctorate in sociology at the University of Heidelberg and under Nehemia Nobel and Ludwig Krause while studying in Frankfurt. Fromm's grandfather and two great grandfathers on his father's side were rabbis, and a great uncle on his mother's side was a noted Talmudic scholar. However, Fromm turned away from orthodox Judaism in 1926, towards secular interpretations of scriptural ideals.

The cornerstone of Fromm's humanistic philosophy is his interpretation of the biblical
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 story of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

's exile from the Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

. 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, and that biblical scholars generally consider Adam and Eve to have sinned by disobeying God and eating from the Tree of Knowledge
Tree of Knowledge
-Religion and mythology:* Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, a tree in the Garden of Eden, mentioned in the Book of Genesis-Publications:* The Tree of Knowledge, a novel by Pío Baroja* Drvo Znanja, a Croatian magazine...

. However, departing from traditional religious orthodoxy, 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
Human evolution
Human evolution refers to the evolutionary history of the genus Homo, including the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species and as a unique category of hominids and mammals...

 and existential
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

 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
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 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 instinct
Instinct
Instinct or innate behavior is the inherent inclination of a living organism toward a particular behavior.The simplest example of an instinctive behavior is a fixed action pattern, in which a very short to medium length sequence of actions, without variation, are carried out in response to a...

ive, pre-human existence as animals. According to Fromm, the awareness of a disunited human existence is a source of guilt
Guilt
Guilt is the state of being responsible for the commission of an offense. It is also a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that...

 and shame
Shame
Shame is, variously, an affect, emotion, cognition, state, or condition. The roots of the word shame are thought to derive from an older word meaning to cover; as such, covering oneself, literally or figuratively, is a natural expression of shame....

, and the solution to this existential dichotomy is found in the development of one's uniquely human powers of love and reason. However, Fromm distinguished his concept of love from unreflective popular notions as well as Freudian paradoxical love (see criticism by Marcuse below).

Fromm considered love to be an interpersonal creative capacity rather than an emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

, and he distinguished this creative capacity from what he considered to be various forms of narcissistic neuroses
Narcissism
Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait...

 and sado-masochistic tendencies that are commonly held out as proof of "true love." Indeed, Fromm viewed the experience of "falling in love" as evidence of one's failure to understand the true nature of love, which he believed always had the common elements of care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge. Drawing from his knowledge of the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, Fromm pointed to the story of Jonah
Jonah
Jonah is the name given in the Hebrew Bible to a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel in about the 8th century BC, the eponymous central character in the Book of Jonah, famous for being swallowed by a fish or a whale, depending on translation...

, who did not wish to save the residents of Nineveh
Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 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. Fromm outlined three of the most common escape mechanisms: automaton conformity, authoritarianism, and destructiveness. Automaton conformity is changing one's ideal self to conform to a perception of society's preferred type of personality, losing one's true self in the process. Automaton conformity displaces the burden of choice from self to society. Authoritarianism is giving control of oneself to another. By submitting one's freedom to someone else, this act removes the freedom of choice almost entirely. Lastly, destructiveness is 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".

The word biophilia
Biophilia Hypothesis
The biophilia hypothesis suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book entitled Biophilia.- Love of living systems :...

 was frequently used by Fromm as a description of a productive psychological orientation and "state of being". 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
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 Credo
Credo
A credo |Latin]] for "I Believe") is a statement of belief, commonly used for religious belief, such as the Apostles' Creed. The term especially refers to the use of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in the Mass, either as text, Gregorian chant, or other musical settings of the...

:

"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."

Erich Fromm postulated EIGHT basic needs:
Relatedness : Relationships with others, care, respect, knowledge.
Transcendence : Being thrown into the world without their consent, humans have to transcend their nature by destroying or creating people or things. . Humans can destroy through malignant aggression, or killing for reasons other than survival, but they can also create and care about their creations.
Rootedness : Rootedness is the need to establish roots and to feel at home again in the world. Productively, rootedness enables us to grow beyond the security of our mother and establish ties with the outside world. With the nonproductive strategy, we become fixated and afraid to move beyond the security and safety of our mother or a mother substitute.
Sense of Identity : The drive for a sense of identity is expressed nonproductively as conformity to a group and productively as individuality.
Frame of orientation : Understanding the world and our place in it.
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."
Effectiveness : The need to feel accomplished.

Fromm's thesis of the "escape from freedom" is epitomized in the following passage. The "individualized man" referenced by Fromm is man bereft of the "primary ties" of belonging (i.e. nature, family, etc.), also expressed as "freedom from":

"There is only one possible, productive solution for the relationship of individualized man with the world: his active solidarity with all men and his spontaneous activity, love and work, which unite him again with the world, not by primary ties but as a free and independent individual.... However, if the economic, social and political conditions... do not offer a basis for the realization of individuality in the sense just mentioned, while at the same time people have lost those ties which gave them security, this lag makes freedom an unbearable burden. 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." (Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom [N.Y.: Rinehart, 1941], pp. 36–7. The point is repeated on pp. 31, 256–7.)

Six orientations


Fromm also spoke of "orientation of character" in his book Man For Himself, which describes the ways an individual relates to the world and constitutes his general character, and develops from two specific kinds of relatedness to the world: acquiring and assimilating things ("assimilation"), and reacting to people ("socialization"). Fromm considers these character systems the human substitute for instincts in animals. These orientations describe how a man has developed in regard to how he responds to conflicts in his or her life; he also said that people were never pure in any such orientation. These two factors form five types of malignant character, which he calls Receptive, Exploitative, Hoarding, Necrophilous and Marketing. He also described a positive character, which he called Productive.

Fromm's influence on other notable psychologists


Fromm's four non-productive orientations were subject to validation through a psychometric test, The Person Relatedness Test by Elias H. Porter, PhD in collaboration with Carl Rogers, PhD at the University of Chicago's Counseling Center between 1953 and 1955. Fromm's four non-productive orientations also served as basis for the LIFO test, first published in 1967 by Stuart Atkins, Alan Katcher, PhD, and Elias Porter
Elias Porter
Elias Hull Porter was an influential psychologist. While at the University of Chicago Porter was a peer of other notable American psychologists, including Carl Rogers, Thomas Gordon, Abraham Maslow and Will Schutz. His work at Ohio State University and later at the University of Chicago...

, PhD and the Strength Deployment Inventory, first published in 1971 by Chris H. Porter, PhD,

Critique of Freud


Fromm examined the life and work of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 at length. He identified a discrepancy between early and later Freudian theory: namely that prior to World War I, Freud described human drives as a tension between desire and repression, but after the war's conclusion, he framed 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.

He also criticized Freud's dualistic thinking. According to Fromm, Freudian descriptions of human consciousness as struggles between two poles was narrow and limiting. Fromm also condemned him as a misogynist unable to think outside the patriarchal milieu of early 20th century Vienna. However, Fromm expressed a great respect for Freud and his accomplishments, in spite of these criticisms.

Political ideas and activities


Fromm's best known work, Escape from Freedom, focuses on the human urge to seek a source of authority and control upon reaching a freedom that was thought to be an individual’s true desire. Fromm’s critique of the modern political order and capitalist system led him to seek insights from medieval feudalism. In Escape from Freedom, he found favor with the lack of individual freedom, rigid structure, and obligations required on the members of medieval society:
The culmination of Fromm's social and political philosophy was his book The Sane Society, published in 1955, which argued in favor of a humanistic and democratic socialism. Building primarily upon the early works of Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

, 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. Fromm's brand of socialism rejected both Western capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 and Soviet communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, which he saw as dehumanizing and that resulted in a virtually universal modern phenomenon of alienation
Marx's theory of alienation
Marx's theory of alienation , as expressed in the writings of the young Karl Marx , refers to the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to put antagonism between things that are properly in harmony...

. 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 the early 1960s, Fromm published two books dealing with Marxist thoughts (Marx's Concept of Man and Beyond the Chains of Illusion: my Encounter with Marx and Freud). In 1965, working to stimulate the Western and Eastern cooperation between Marxist humanists
Marxist humanism
Marxist humanism is a branch of Marxism that primarily focuses on Marx's earlier writings, especially the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 in which Marx espoused his theory of alienation, as opposed to his later works, which are considered to be concerned more with his structural...

, Fromm published a series of articles entitled Socialist Humanism: An International Symposium. In 1966, the American Humanist Association
American Humanist Association
The American Humanist Association is an educational organization in the United States that advances Humanism. "Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that...

 named him Humanist of the Year.

For a period, Fromm was also active in US politics. He joined the Socialist Party of America
Socialist Party of America
The Socialist Party of America was a multi-tendency democratic-socialist political party in the United States, formed in 1901 by a merger between the three-year-old Social Democratic Party of America and disaffected elements of the Socialist Labor Party which had split from the main organization...

 in the mid-1950s, and did his best to help them provide an alternative viewpoint to the prevailing McCarthyism
McCarthyism
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by...

 of the time. This alternative viewpoint was best expressed in his 1961 paper May Man Prevail? An Inquiry into the Facts and Fictions of Foreign Policy. However, as a co-founder of SANE
Peace Action
Peace Action is a peace organization formed through the merger of The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign...

, Fromm's strongest political activism was in the international peace movement
Peace movement
A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war , minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of achieving world peace...

, fighting against the nuclear arms race
Nuclear arms race
The nuclear arms race was a competition for supremacy in nuclear warfare between the United States, the Soviet Union, and their respective allies during the Cold War...

 and US involvement in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. After supporting Senator Eugene McCarthy
Eugene McCarthy
Eugene Joseph "Gene" McCarthy was an American politician, poet, and a long-time member of the United States Congress from Minnesota. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1971.In the 1968 presidential election, McCarthy was the first...

's losing bid for the Democratic presidential nomination
1968 Democratic National Convention
The 1968 Democratic National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois, from August 26 to August 29, 1968. Because Democratic President Lyndon Johnson had announced he would not seek a second term, the purpose of the convention was to...

, Fromm more or less retreated from the American political scene, although he did write a paper in 1974 entitled Remarks on the Policy of Détente for a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Criticism


In Eros and Civilization Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse
Herbert Marcuse was a German Jewish philosopher, sociologist and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory...

 condemns Fromm, that in the beginning he was a radical theorist who later turned to conformity. Marcuse also argued that Fromm, as well as his close colleagues Sullivan and Karen Horney, removed Freud's libido theory and other radical concepts, which thus reduced psychoanalysis to a set of idealist ethics, which only embrace the status quo. Fromm's response, in both The Sane Society and in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, argues that Freud indeed deserves substantial credit for recognizing the central importance of the subconscious, but also that he tended to reify his own concepts that depicted the self as the passive outcome of instinct and social control, with very minimal volition or variability. Fromm argues that later scholars such as Marcuse accepted these concepts as dogma, whereas social-psychology requires a more dynamic theoretical and empirical approach.

Early work in German

  • Das jüdische Gesetz. Ein Beitrag zur Soziologie des Diaspora
    Diaspora
    A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

    -Judentums.
    , Promotion, 1922. ISBN 3-453-09896-X
  • Über Methode und Aufgaben einer analytischen Sozialpsychologie. Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, Bd. 1, 1932, S. 28–54.
  • Die psychoanalytische Charakterologie und ihre Bedeutung für die Sozialpsychologie. Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, Bd. 1, 1932, S. 253–277.
  • Sozialpsychologischer Teil. In: Studien über Autorität und Familie. Forschungsberichte aus dem Institut für Sozialforschung. Alcan, Paris 1936, S. 77–135.
  • Zweite Abteilung: Erhebungen (Erich Fromm u.a.). In: Studien über Autorität und Familie. Forschungsberichte aus dem Institut für Sozialforschung. Alcan, Paris 1936, S. 229–469.

  • Die Furcht vor der Freiheit, 1941 (In English, "Fear/Dread of Freedom"). ISBN 3-423-35024-5
  • Psychoanalyse & Ethik, 1946. ISBN 3-423-35011-3
  • Psychoanalyse & Religion, 1949. ISBN 3-423-34105-X (The Dwight H. Terry Lectureship 1949/1950)

Later works in English

  • Escape from Freedom (US), The Fear of Freedom (UK) (1941) ISBN 978-0805031492
  • Man for himself, an inquiry into the psychology of ethics (1947) ISBN 978-0805014037
  • Psychoanalysis and Religion
    Psychoanalysis and Religion
    Psychoanalysis and Religion is a 1950 psychoanalytic treatise that attempts to explain the purpose and goals of psychoanalysis in relation to ethics and religion...

    (1950) ISBN 978-0300000894
  • Forgotten language; an introduction to the understanding of dreams, fairy tales, and myths (1951) ISBN 978-0030184369
  • The Sane Society (1955) ISBN 978-0415605861
  • The Art of Loving
    The Art of Loving
    The Art of Loving is a book written by psychologist and social philosopher Erich Fromm , which was published as part of the "World Perspectives Series" edited by Ruth Nanda Anshen...

    (1956) ISBN 78-0061129735
  • Sigmund Freud's mission; an analysis of his personality and influence (1959)
  • Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis (1960) ISBN 978-0285647473
  • May Man Prevail? An inquiry into the facts and fictions of foreign policy (1961) ISBN 978-0385000352
  • Marx's Concept of Man (1961) ISBN 978-0826477910
  • Beyond the Chains of Illusion: my encounter with Marx and Freud (1962) ISBN 978-0826418975
  • The Dogma of Christ and Other Essays on Religion, Psychology and Culture (1963) ISBN 978-0415289993
  • The Heart of Man, its genius for good and evil (1964) ISBN 978-0060907952
  • Socialist Humanism (1965)
  • You Shall Be as Gods: a radical interpretation of the Old Testament and its tradition (1966) ISBN 978-0805016055
  • The Revolution of Hope, toward a humanized technology (1968) ISBN 9781590561836
  • The Nature of Man (1968) ISBN 978-0865620827
  • The Crisis of Psychoanalysis (1970) ISBN 978-0449307922
  • Social character in a Mexican village; a sociopsychoanalytic study (Fromm & Maccoby) (1970) ISBN 978-1560008767
  • The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1973) ISBN 978-0805016048
  • To Have or to Be?
    To Have or to Be?
    In his book, “To have or to be”, Erich Fromm has differentiated between having and being. The writer mentions how the modern society has become materialistic and prefers ‘having’ than ‘being’. The author has mentioned about the great promise of unlimited happiness, freedom, material abundance, and...

    (1976) ISBN 978-0805016048
  • Greatness and Limitation of Freud's Thought (1979) ISBN 978-0060113896
  • On Disobedience and other essays
    On Disobedience and other essays
    On Disobedience and other essays, published in 1981 by Harper & Row, is a book written by psychologist and social philosopher Erich Fromm...

    (1981) ISBN 978-0816405008
  • The Art of Being (1993) ISBN 978-0826406736
  • The Art of Listening (1994) ISBN 978-0826411327
  • On Being Human (1997) ISBN 978-0826410054

See also



External links