Erich Fromm: The Alienation of Modern Man






We are a society of notoriously unhappy people: lonely, anxious, depressed, destructive, dependent - people who are glad when we have killed the time we are trying so hard to save.


Erich Fromm

To Have or To Be?


*


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

The Sane Society


*


Man does not only sell commodities, he sells himself and feels himself to be a commodity.


Erich Fromm

The Fear of Freedom


*


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.


Erich Fromm

The Sane Society


*


Modern capitalism needs men who cooperate smoothly and in large numbers; who want to consume more and more; and whose tastes are standardized and can be easily influenced and anticipated... What is the outcome ? Modern man is alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature. He has been transformed into a commodity, experiences his life forces as an investment which must bring him the maximum profit obtainable under existing market conditions.


Erich Fromm

The Art of Loving


*


Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want.


Erich Fromm

The Fear of Freedom


*


We are not on the way to greater individualism, but are becoming an increasingly manipulated mass civilization.


Erich Fromm

The Revolution of Hope


*


A vast sector of modern advertising ... does not appeal to reason but to emotion; like any other kind of hypnoid suggestion, it tries to impress its objects emotionally and then make them submit intellectually.


Erich Fromm

To Have or To Be ?






A society whose principles are acquisition, profit, and property produces a social character oriented around having, and once the dominant pattern is established, nobody wants to be an outsider, or indeed an outcast; in order to avoid this risk everybody adapts to the majority.


Erich Fromm

To Have or To Be ?


*


It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas and feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing on reason or mental health.


Erich Fromm

The Sane Society


*


A person who has not been completely alienated, who has remained sensitive and able to feel, who has not lost the sense of dignity, who is not yet 'for sale', who can still suffer over the suffering of others, who has not acquired fully the having mode of existence - briefly, a person who has remained a person and not become a thing - cannot help feeling lonely, powerless, isolated in present-day society.


Erich Fromm

The Art of Being


*

If other people do not understand our behavior - so what ? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being 'asocial' or 'irrational' in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves.


Erich Fromm

The Art of Being


*


There is nothing of which we are more ashamed than of not being ourselves. And there is nothing which brings us greater joy and happiness than to think, feel, and say what is ours.


Erich Fromm

Escape from Freedom


*


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


Erich Fromm

The Art of Loving


*


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.


Erich Fromm

Man for Himself


*


The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born when we die.


Erich Fromm

The Sane Society



* * *