Summary on "Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem"

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Erich Fromm is “one of the twentieth century’s distinguished writers and thinkers” (240). This is made apparent in his essay, “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem,” in which he describes the various types of obediences and disobediences and how they are either contributive or detrimental to humanity. Fromm argues that “human history began with an act of disobedience, and that it is not unlikely that it will be terminated by an act of obedience” (246). Since the beginning of human history, concepts such as individuality, authority, and totalitarianism, have been placed side by side often for comparison and tested by the events that they provoked. The two factors that have both aided and create difficulties for human progression are obedience and disobedience. Although Fromm uses religious and mythological figures to demonstrate this, his essay reminds us of past historical figures (such as Martin Luther King Jr., Adolf Hitler, and Saddam Hussein) and possible future events that have and will show us that disobedience may be all that stands between a future for mankind and the end of civilization. The article “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem” by Erich Fromm mainly concerns the ways in which disobedience helps society. Fromm does mention that disobedience is not always beneficial, but for the most part Fromm notes on the ways disobedience has actually contributed to the furthering of the human race. Throughout the essay, Fromm mentions multiple times words concerning religion, specifically Christianity. Almost all of these statements go against standard religious beliefs which could pose a threat to a clear reading of his article by a religious audience

Frumm, Erich. “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem” Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum Eds. Larence Behrems and Leonard Rosen. New York: Pearson, 2009
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