Sort by: Author Title [ Type  (Desc)] Year
Filters: Author is Erich Fromm  [Clear All Filters]
Fromm, E. (1973).  The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness.
"Power can mean power over people, or it can mean power to do things...Many writers, unfortunately, make use of this ambiguous meaning of the words 'power' and 'control', and in order to smuggle in the praise of 'power over' they identify it with 'power to'. Moreover, lack of control does not mean lack of any kind of organization, but only of those kinds in which the control is exploitative and the controlled cannot control the controllers." (p. 394) "Being powerless and hence in danger of being enslaved, or having power and hence in danger of becoming dehumanized, are two evils. Which is to be shunned the most is a matter of religious and moral or political conviction." (p. 395) "Those whose narcissism refers to their group rather than to themselves as individuals are as sensitive as the individual narcissist, and they react with rage to any wound, real or imaginary, inflicted upon their group. If anything, they react more intensely and certainly more consciously. An individual, unless he is mentally very sick, may have at least some doubts about his personal narcissistic image. The member of the group has none, since his narcissism is shared by the majority." (p. 231) "The individual loses his active, responsible role in the social process; he becomes completely 'adjusted' and learns that any behavior, act, thought, or feeling which does not fit into the general scheme puts him at a severe disadvantage; in fact he is what is is supposed to be. If he insists on being himself, he risks, in police states, his freedom or even his life; in some democracies, he risks not being promoted, or more rarely, he risks even his job, and perhaps most importantly, he risks feeling isolated, without communication with anybody." (p. 53) "On the other hand, the psychic pain can be as intense or even more so than the physical. I do not need to give examples for this mental sadism. Parents inflict it on their children, professors on their students, superiors on their inferiors--in other words, it is employed in any situation where there is someone who cannot defend himself against the sadist. (If the teacher is helpless, the students often turn into sadists.) Mental sadism may be disguised in many seemingly harmless ways: a question, a smile, a confusing remark. Who does not know an 'artist' in this kind of sadism, the one who finds just the right word or the right gesture to embarass or humiliate another in this innocent way. Naturally, this kind of sadism is often all the more effective if the humiliation is inflicted in front of others." (p. 318)
Fromm, E. (1994).  Escape From Freedom.
"The inability to act spontaneously, to express what one genuinely feels and thinks, and the resulting necessity to present a pseudo self to others and oneself, are the root of the feeling of inferiority and weakness. Whether or not we are aware of it, there is nothing of which we are more ashamed than of not being ourselves, and there is nothing that gives us greater pride and happiness than to think, to feel, and to say what is ours." (p. 288) "Returning now to the discussion of the authoritarian character, the most important feature to be mentioned is its attitude towards power. For the authoritarian character there exist, so to speak, two sexes: the powerful ones and the powerless ones. His love, admiration and readiness for submission are automatically aroused by power, whether of a person or of an institution. Power fascinates him not for any values for which a specific power may stand, but just because it is power. Just as his 'love' is automatically aroused by power, so powerless people arouse his contempt. The very sight of a powerless person makes him want to attack, dominate, humiliate him. Whereas a different kind of character is appalled by the idea of attacking one who is helpless, the authoritarian character feels the more aroused the more helpless his object has become" (p. 190)
Fromm, E. (1968).  The Heart of Man: Its Genius for Good and Evil.
"The very need to achieve something creative makes it necessary to leave the closed circle of group solipsism and to be interested in the object it wants to achieve." (p. 94) "What the majority of people consider to be 'reasonable' is that about which there is agreement, if not among all, at least among a substantial number of people; 'reasonable', for most people, has nothing to do with reason, but with consensus." (p. 96)
Fromm, E. (1970).  Man For Himself: An Inquiry Into the Psychology of Ethics.
"Since modern man experiences himself as both the seller and the commodity to be sold on the market, his self-esteem depends on conditions beyond his control. If he is 'successful,' he is valuable; if he is not, he is worthless." (p. 72)
Fromm, E. (1955).  The Sane Society.
"[Man] is part of the machine, rather than its master as an active agent. The machine, instead of being in his service to do work for him which once had to be performed by sheer physical energy, has become his master. Instead of the machine being the substitute for human energy, man has become a substitute for the machine. His work can be defined as the performance of acts which cannot yet be performed by machines." (p. 180) "Aside from money, prestige, status and the power that goes with it are assumed to be the main incentives for work. There is no need to prove that the craving for prestige and power constitutes the most powerful incentive for work today among the middle and upper classes; in fact, the importance of money is largely that of representing prestige, at least as much as security and comfort. But the role which the need for prestige plays also among workers, clerks and the lower echelons of the industrial and business bureaucracy is often ignored. The name-plate of the Pullman porter, the bank teller, etcetera, are significant psychological boosts to his sense of importance; as are the personal telephone, larger office space for the higher ranks. These prestige factors play a role also among industrial workers." (p. 293) "Concluding these remarks on workers' participation, I want to stress again, even at the risk of being repetitious, that all suggestions in the direction of the humanization of work do not have the aim of increasing economic output nor is their goal a greater satisfaction with work per se. They make sense only in a totally different social structure, in which economic activity is a part--a subordinate part--of social life. One cannot separate work activity from political activity, from the use of leisure time and from personal life. If work were to become interesting without the other spheres of life becoming human, no real change would occur. In fact, it could not become interesting. It is the very evil of present-day culture that it separates and compartmentalizes the various spheres of living. The way to sanity lies in overcoming this split and in arriving at a new unification and integration within society and within the individual human being." (p. 325)