Escape from Freedom

Escape from Freedom

by Erich Fromm
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Escape from Freedom 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
TimDonaldson More than 1 year ago
Erich Fromm was a Jew in Germany who earned a PhD in Sociology at 22 years old, then changed his mind and became a Psychoanalyst. He, like Einstein and many other prominent intellectuals and scientists, left Germany in 1934 after the Nazis had taken power, settling at Columbia University in New York. In his first major book 'Escape From Freedom' (1941, 301 pages) Fromm explores the how and why of the fascist appeal to modern man. This book was apparently wildly popular, going through 24 editions in 25 years. To Fromm, freedom is a psychological problem, and he starts with Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor. In 'The Brothers Karamazov', Jesus comes again, to Spain, at the time of the Inquisition. He performs similar miracles to those of the New Testament. The people recognize him and love him, but the church leaders arrest him and sentence him to be burnt to death the next day. The Grand Inquisitor visits him in his cell and tells him the church no longer needs him. It is one of the best known passages in literature because of its ideas about human nature and freedom. Fromm uses the Grand Inquisitor's words as a starting point. "No science will give them bread so long as they remain free. In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet, and say to us, "Make us your slaves, but feed us."" To Fromm, freedom is so painful; the individual self has shortcomings, conflicts, risks, doubts, and unbearable aloneness. Freedom seems an untenable emotion situation for modern man. So people seek one of 3 basic mechanisms to escape from freedom, 1- Authoritarianism 2- Destructiveness 3- Automaton Conformity. In doing this people annihilate their individual self and submerge and participate in something bigger; whether another person, an institution, a company, a religion, the nation, a political movement, or even just a social group. The short term benefits look good, the person now seems proud, self-assured, and confidently "a part of something bigger than himself." They have meaning in life and the security of maybe millions of comrades who agree. (There are a couple other means of escape from freedom, which tend to be more individual psychological problems than one's that the masses go with 4. Withdraw from the world so completely that it loses its threat 5. Inflation of one's own ego and deluded self-image to the point that the world seems small in comparison.) All 3 means of freedom escape were perfectly captured in the 1930s totalitarian flight from freedom, as much of Europe went Fascist, particularly in Nazi Germany. In Nazi Germany the state best manipulated the fact that "man's brain is in the 20th Century, his heart in the stone age." The attraction of that Fascist ideology was not rational or political, it was psychological, arousing and mobilizing diabolical forces which had been believed to be nonexistent, or at least long dead, in humanity. The destructive impulse is a way of showing power, but the lust for power is, of course, rooted in weakness. The more the expansiveness of one's life is curtailed, the more one wants to destroy. Dominating others is a cheap counterfeit for real power, which is being able to do what one wants- but modern man can't even begin to figure out what he wants, so the shortcut is taken. Historically, society gave men security and limits. European and American history centered around the effort to gain freedom from the political, economic, and spiritual shackles that bound men. Freedom gave
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They have their own church sorry meeting hall and offices and a spot at the winter solstice outside exhibit of christmas trees menoras etc anything can become a religion and has given a leader a spokesperson a book of do and dont a meeting place and naturally supporting donations always the two faces the yang and ying the dark side