The greatest challenge is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Quotes: psychoanalyst, Erich Fromm

 Change The Way You See Yourself and the World
Below are some quotes from the German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and humanistic philosopher Erich Fromm.

“I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me.”

“Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.”

“To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.”

“Care and responsibility are constituent elements of love, but without respect for and knowledge of the beloved person, love deteriorates into domination and possessiveness.”

“Robots do not rebel.”

“The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.”

“Man may be defined as the animal that can say “I,” that can be aware of himself as a separate entity.”

“Selfish persons are incapable of loving others, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.”

“Reason is man’s faculty for grasping the world by thought, in contradiction to intelligence, which is man’s ability to manipulate the world with the help of thought. Reason is man’s instrument for arriving at the truth, intelligence is man’s instrument for manipulating the world more successfully; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man.”

“Love is often nothing but a favorable exchange between two people who get the most of what they can expect, considering their value on the personality market.”

“The narcissistic, the domineering, the possessive woman can succeed in being a “loving” mother as long as the child is small. Only the really loving woman, the woman who is happier in giving than in taking, who is firmly rooted in her own existence, can be a loving mother when the child is in the process of separation.”

“Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one’s country which is not part of one’s love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.”

“If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?”

“The sadistic person is as dependent on the submissive person as the latter is on the former; neither can live without the other.”

“In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.”

“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.”

“Respect is not fear and awe; it denotes, in accordance with the root of the word (respicere = to look at), the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his individuality and uniqueness.”

“In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead; in the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead.”

“Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve and from which he cannot escape.”

“What most people in our culture mean by being lovable is essentially a mixture between being popular and having sex appeal.”

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

“If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to all others, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism.”

“Immature love says: “I love you because I need you.” Mature love says: “I need you because I love you.”

“Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.”

“Even good deeds by the enemy are considered a sign of particular devilishness, meant to deceive us and the world, while our bad deeds are necessary and justified by our noble goals which they serve.”

“Society must be organized in such a way that man’s social, loving nature is not separated from his social existence, but becomes one with it. If it is true, as I have tried to show, that love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence, then any society which excludes, relatively, the development of love, must in the long run perish of its own contradiction with the basic necessities of human nature.”

“The same polarity of the male and female principle exists in nature; not only, as is obvious in animals and plants, but in the polarity of the two fundamental functions, that of receiving and penetrating. It is the polarity of earth and rain, of the river and the ocean, of night and day, of darkness and light, of matter and spirit.”

“The existential split in man would be unbearable could he not establish a sense of unity within himself and with the natural and human world outside.”

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”

“The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots.”

“Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an ordination of character which determines the relatedness of the person to the whole world as a whole, not toward one object of love.”

“Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others.”

“I believe that man is the product of natural evolution that is born from the conflict of being a prisoner and separated from nature, and from the need to find unity and harmony with it.”

“All men are in need of help and depend on one another. Human solidarity is the necessary condition for the unfolding of any one individual.”

“To love one person productively means to be related to his human core, to him as representing mankind. Love for one individual, in so far as it is divorced from love for man, can refer only to the superficial and to the accidental; of necessity it remains shallow.”

“Men are born equal but they are also born different.”

“The only truly affluent are those who do not want more than they have.”

“To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.”

“The sick individual finds himself at home with all other similarly sick individuals. The whole culture is geared to this kind of pathology. The result is that the average individual does not experience the separateness and isolation the fully schizophrenic person feels. He feels at ease among those who suffer from the same deformation; in fact, it is the fully sane person who feels isolated in the insane society — and he may suffer so much from the incapacity to communicate that it is he who may become psychotic. In the context of this study the crucial question is whether the hypothesis of a quasi-autistic or of low-grade schizophrenic disturbance would help us to explain some of the violence spreading today.”

“The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.”

“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.”

“Love is an action, the practice of human power, which can be practiced only in freedom and never as a result of compulsion.”

“The revolutionary and critical thinker is in a certain way always outside of his society while of course he is at the same time also in it.”

“Attractive’ usually means a nice package of qualities which are popular and sought after on the personality market.”

“That millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.”

“Neurosis can be understood best as the battle between tendencies within an individual; deep character analysis leads, if successful, to the progressive solution.”

“I believe that none can ‘save’ his fellow man by making a choice for him. To help him, he can indicate the possible alternatives, with sincerity and love, without being sentimental and without illusion. The knowledge and awareness of the freeing alternatives can reawaken in an individual all his hidden energies and put him on the path to choosing respect for ‘life’ instead of for ‘death.'”

“Just as love is an orientation which refers to all objects and is incompatible with the restriction to one object, so is reason a human faculty which must embrace the whole of the world with which man is confronted.”

“There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself.”

“Reason flows from the blending of rational thought and feeling. If the two functions are torn apart, thinking deteriorates into schizoid intellectual activity and feeling deteriorates into neurotic life-damaging passions.”

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.”

“As we ascend the social ladder, viciousness wears a thicker mask.”

“Man is born as a freak of nature, being within nature and yet transcending it.”

“I believe that love is the main key to open the doors to the “growth” of man. Love and union with someone or something outside of oneself, union that allows one to put oneself into relationship with others, to feel one with others, without limiting the sense of integrity and independence.”

“The mature response to the problem of existence is love.”

“Modern man, if he dared to be articulate about his concept of heaven, would describe a vision which would look like the biggest department store in the world, showing new things and gadgets, and himself having plenty of money with which to buy them. He would wander around open-mouthed in this heaven of gadgets and commodities, provided only that there were ever more and newer things to buy, and perhaps that his neighbors were just a little less privileged than he.”

“Love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved person. Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.”

“There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers.”

“Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.”

“Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines.”

“As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found – in himself.”

“In erotic love, two people who were separate become one. In motherly love, two people who were one become separate. The mother must not only tolerate, she must wish and support the child’s separation.”

“Destructiveness is the outcome of unlived lives.”