Is Disobedience a Psychological and Moral Problem?

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Is Disobedience a Psychological and Moral Problem?

In his essay “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem,” Erich Fromm asks a question that he considers very important, “Why is man so prone to obey and why is it so difficult for him to disobey?” (405) He claims that disobedience is the right thing to do but obedience without questioning is bad. He claims that the history of human beings started because of acts of disobedience. He further claims that human beings continue to progress on Earth because of disobedience. He states the disobedience and the willpower to say no and doubt are some of things that may prevent human beings form destroying the Earth. While Erich Fromm’s essay is certainly interesting to read, some of his ideas and statements are outrageous. It is because of these claims I have to partially disagree with the general idea with his essay. In the following paragraphs I will be showing, contrary to Fromm’s idea, that both disobedience and obedience are good and bad.

In his essay “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem,” Erich Fromm discuses in depth the differences between disobedience and obedience. He asks why an individual finds it hard to disobey, or why an individual very easily obeys. He also writes about the different types of obedience and disobedience and the effects of these two acts on the human world. Fromm states “Human history began with an act of Deonandan 2

disobedience, and it is not unlikely that it will be terminated by an act of obedience.” (402) He seems to believe that obeying without question might have serious consequences for human beings. He also states that if an individual decides to disobey, that individual must be willing to be alone. That individual must be willing to be one in a million when he or she disobeys. He goes on to state that there are different types of obedience; heteronymous and autonomous. While heteronymous obedience is obedience to another, autonomous is obedience to...
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