Escape From Freedom

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
TitleEscape From Freedom
Publication TypeBook
Pub Year1994
AuthorsFromm, E.
Keywordsauthoritarian character, false self, helplessness, humiliation, power
Notes "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)
Full Text