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Erich Fromm Quotes
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Erich Fromm Quote: “Rationalizing is not a tool for penetration of reality but a post-factum attempt to harmonize one’s own wishes with existing reality.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “When the theory of evolution destroyed the picture of God as the supreme Creator, confidence in God as the all-powerful Father of man fell with it, although many were able to combine a belief in God with the acceptance of the Darwinian theory.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “In the sphere of material things giving means being rich. Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Freedom is not something we have, there is no such thing as freedom. Freedom is a quality of our personality: we are more or less free to resist pressure, more or less free to do what we want and to be ourselves. Freedom is always a question of increasing freedom one has, or decreasing it.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “It seems that great minds a hundred years ago saw what would happen today or tomorrow, while we to whom it is happening blind ourselves in order not to be disturbed in our daily routine.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “The outer chains have simply been put inside of man. The desires and thoughts that the suggestion apparatus of society fills him with, chain him more thoroughly than outer chains.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “In the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “It is time to cease to argue about God, and instead to unite in the unmasking of contemporary forms of idolatry.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Lack of concentration makes one tired, while concentration wakes one up.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “In the sphere of human relations, faith is an indispensable quality of any significant friendship or love. “Having faith” in another person means to be certain of the reliability and unchangeability of his fundamental attitudes, of the core of his personality, of his love. By this I do not mean that a person may not change his opinions, but that his basic motivations remain the same; that, for instance, his respect for life and human dignity is part of himself, not subject to change.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “The task of critique is not to denounce the ideals, but to show their transformation into ideologies, and to challenge the ideology in the name of the betrayed ideal.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Reality imposes its law on man, laws that he can only escape in dreams or in states of trance – or in insanity.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Once they are through the process of education, most people lose the capacity of wondering, of being surprised. They feel they ought to know everything, and hence that it is a sign of ignorance to be surprised or puzzled by anything.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Every society by its own practice of living and by the mode of relatedness, of feelings, and perceiving, develops a system of categories which determines the forms of awareness.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Man absolutely cannot live by himself.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Man’s happiness today consists in “having fun.” Having fun lies in the satisfaction of consuming and “taking in” commodities, sights, food, drinks, cigarettes, people, lectures, books, movies – all are consumed, swallowed. The world is one great object for our appetite, a big apple, a big bottle, a big breast; we are the sucklers, the eternally expectant ones, the hopeful ones – and the eternally disappointed ones.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “To transcend nature, to be alienated from nature and from another human being, finds man naked, ashamed. He is alone and free, yet powerless and afraid.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Human nature, though being the product of historical evolution, has certain inherent mechanisms and laws, to discover which is the task of psychology.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “To be concentrated means to live fully in the present, in the here and now, and not to think of the next thing to be done, while I am doing something right now.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Man’s nature, his passions, and anxieties are a cultural product; as a matter of fact, man himself is the most important creation and achievement of the continuous human effort, the record of which we call history.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “The member of a primitive clan might express his identity in the formula “I am we”; he cannot yet conceive of himself as an “individual,” existing apart from his group.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “They were more free, but they were more alone.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “But man is not only made by history – history is made by man.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “We consume, as we produce, without any concrete relatedness to the objects with which we deal; We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that we know how to manipulate or to consume them.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “But in many individuals in whom separateness is not relieved in other ways, the search for the sexual orgasm assumes a function which makes it not very different from alcoholism and drug addiction. It becomes a desperate attempt to escape the anxiety engendered by separateness, and it results in an ever-increasing sense of separateness, since the sexual act without love never bridges the gap between two human beings, except momentarily. All.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “An individual may be alone in a physical sense for many years and yet he may be related to ideas, values, or at least social patterns that give him a feeling of communion and “belonging.” On the other hand, he may live among people and yet be overcome with an utter feeling of isolation, the outcome of which, if it transcends a certain limit, is the state of insanity which schizophrenic disturbances present.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “It is desirable to avoid trivial and evil company altogether – unless one can assert oneself fully, and thus make the other doubt his own position.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Man seeks for drama and excitement; when he cannot get satisfaction on a higher level, he creates for himself the drama of destruction.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “When a person feels that he has not been able to make sense of his own life, he tries to make sense of it in terms of the life of his children. But one is bound to fail within oneself and for the children. The former because the problem of existence can be solved by each one only for himself, and not by proxy; the latter because one lacks in the very qualities which one needs to guide the children in their own search for an answer.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “We have been compelled to recognize that millions in Germany were as eager to surrender their freedom as their fathers were to fight for it; that instead of wanting freedom, they sought for ways of escape from it; that other millions were indifferent and did not believe the defense of freedom to be worth fighting and dying for.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Only in being productively active can man make sense of his life.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “If one is not productive in other spheres, one is not productive in the love either.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “One of the most obvious explanations is that the leaders undertake many actions that make it possible for them to pretend they are doing something effective to avoid a catastrophe: endless conferences, resolutions, disarmament talks, all give the impression that the problems are recognized and something is being done to resolve them.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Both dreams and myths are important communications from ourselves to ourselves.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Unrestricted satisfaction of all desires is not conducive to well-being, nor is it the way to happiness or even to maximum pleasure.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “It is a tragedy that most of us die before we have begun to live.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “The supreme principle of socialism is that man takes precedence over things, life over property, and hence, work over capital; that power follows creation, and not possession; that man must not be governed by circumstances, but circumstances must be governed by man.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “The value judgments we make determine our actions, and upon their validity rests our mental health and happiness.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “There were always men who looked beyond the dimensions of their own society- and while they may have been called fools or criminals in their time they are the roster of great men as far as the record of human history is concerned- and visualized something which can be called universally human and which is not identical with what a particular society assumes human nature to be. There were always men who were bold and imaginative enough to see beyond the frontiers of their own existence.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Any society, in order to survive, must mold the character of its members in such a way that they want to do what they have to do; their social function must become internalized and transformed into something they feel driven to do, rather than something they are obliged to do.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Those who unconsciously despair yet put on the mask of optimism are not necessarily wise. But those who have not given up hope can succeed only if they are hardheaded realists, shed all illusions, and fully appreciate the difficulties.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “The approach of normative humanism is based on the assumption that, as in any other problem, there are right and wrong, satisfactory and unsatisfactory solutions to the problem of human existence.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “The doubt itself will not disappear as long as man does not overcome his isolation and as long as his place in the world has not become a meaningful one in terms of his human needs.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows ‘what he wants,’ while he actually wants what he is supposed to want. In order to accept this it is necessary to realize that to know what one really wants is not comparatively easy, as most people think, but one of the most difficult problems any human being has to solve. It is a task we frantically try to avoid by accepting ready-made goals as though they were our own.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Authority is not a quality one person ‘has,’ in the sense that he has property or physical qualities. Authority refers to an interpersonal relation in which one person looks upon another as somebody superior to him.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Indeed, with the experience of self disappears the experience of identity – and when this happens, man could become insane if he did not save himself by acquiring a secondary sense of self; he does that by experiencing himself as being approved of, worthwhile, successful, useful – briefly, as a salable commodity which is he because he is looked upon by others as an entity, not unique but fitting into one of the current patterns.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “A free person owes an explanation only to himself, to his reason and his conscious, and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Human existence begins when the lack of fixation of action by instincts exceeds a certain point; when the adaptation to nature loses its coercive character; when the way to act is no longer fixed by hereditarily given mechanisms. In other words, human existence and freedom are from the beginning inseparable. Freedom is here used not in its positive sense of “freedom to” but in its negative sense of “freedom from”, namely freedom from instinctual determination of his actions.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “To be sure, thinking without a knowledge of facts remains empty and fictitious; but “information” alone can be just as much of an obstacle to thinking as the lack of it.”
Erich Fromm Quote: “Selfishness is not identical with self-love but with its very opposite. Selfishness is one kind of greediness. Like all greediness, it contains an insatiability, as a consequence of which there is never any real satisfaction. Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.”
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