Saturday, March 23, 2013

Erich Fromm

Born March 23, 1900 in Frankfurt, Germany.

“A mixture of economic interests, ambition, and vanity on the part of the leaders, and a good deal of stupid blundering on all sides brought about the [First World] war. But once it had broken out…it became a religious phenomenon. The state, the nation, national honor, became the idols, and both sides voluntarily sacrificed their children to these idols....In the case of child sacrifice, the father kills the child directly while, in the case of war, both sides have an arrangement to kill each other’s children.”
From The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness

Escape from Freedom is probably the best introduction to Fromm.

But it is perhaps his concept of the Marketing Orientation that is most relevant today. You should read all of this.

"The marketing economy says we have to sell ourselve, make ourselves into an object, commodity.There is an obsession with "packaging," with our facade. The person with the marketing orientation aims to sell himself or herself successfully on the market. This person does not experience himself or herself as an active agent, and to a great degree is alienated from his or her human powers. The sense of self stems from the socioeconomic role one plays. "Human qualities like friendliness, courtesy, kindness are transformed into commodities, into assets of the "personality package" that can bring a higher price on the personality market." A person's sense of his or her own value always depends on extraneous factors, on the fickle judgment of the market about the person's value."

"I am for sale! I will become whoever you want me to be! My value is determined by other people's interest or investment in me!"

Here is an online personality test based on Fromm's personality orientations.

A great interview of Fromm by Mike Wallace in 1958 can be viewed here.

More on Fromm from an online personality theories textbook.

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