Erich Fromm (Born March 23, 1900, Frankfurt am Main, Germany—died March 18, 1980, Muralto, Switzerland) is well known not only as a psychoanalyst and social psychologist but also as an important representative of 20th century humanism. Erich Fromm’s humanistic psychoanalysis looks at people from the perspective of psychology, history, and anthropology. Influenced by Freud and Horney, Fromm developed a more culturally oriented theory than Freud and a much broader theory than Horney. Fromm believed that humans have been torn away from their prehistoric union with nature and left with no powerful instincts to adapt to a changing world. But because humans have acquired the ability to reason, they can think about their isolated condition—a situation Fromm called the human dilemma. The strength of Fromm’s theory is his lucid writings on a broad range of human issues. As a scientific theory, however, Fromm’s theory rates very low on its ability to generate research and to lend itself to falsification; it rates low on usefulness to the practitioner, internal consistency, and parsimony. Because it is quite broad in scope, Fromm’s theory rates high on organizing existing knowledge. Fromm describes three ways in which we tend to escape from freedom:- 1. Authoritarianism
Freedom is achieved by merging oneself with others, that happens by becoming a part of the authoritarian system. This includes, either being submissive and compliant to the power of others. Being passive about someone's authority over you. Or being the authority yourself and imposing your system over others and leading them on a path. Either way, you elude your separate identity. Extreme version of authoritarianism was referred to as Masochism or Sadism by Fromm, each compelled to play their descrete role, with Sadist's evident power over the Masochist, he isn't free to choose his actions either. 2. Destructiveness
Authoritarians tend to eliminate themselves in the face of their agonizing existence. Crime, vandalism, terrorism, etc are feeble attempts of the people to escape freedom. He inverted Freud's death instinct and stated that self destructiveness is frustrated destructiveness and not the other way around. If a person's desires are supressed by people or circumstances, he tends to avert it inwards. Most commonly, commit suicide. 3. Automaton conformity
Authoritarians camouflage themselves amidst the heirarchy. He is not himself and tries to be like his surroundings so that he no longer has to take responsibility of his actions and appears to the the 'Social Chameleon' Fromm wrote as part of his Humanist Credo:
"I believe that the man choosing progress can find a new unity through the development of all his human forces, which are produced in three orientations. These can be presented separately or together: biophilia, love for humanity and nature, and independence and freedom." He developed eight basic needs of man:-
Care, knowledge, relationships with others and respect.
Being thrown into the world without their consent, humans have to transcend their nature by destroying or creating people or things. Humans can destroy through malignant aggression, or killing for reasons other than survival, but they can also create and care about their creations. 3. Rootedness
Rootedness is the need to establish roots and to feel at home again in the world. Productively, rootedness enables us to grow beyond the security of our mother and establish ties with the outside world. With the nonproductive strategy, we become fixated and afraid to move beyond the security and safety of our mother or a mother substitute. 4. Sense of Identity
The drive for a sense of identity is expressed nonproductively as conformity to a group and productively as individuality. 5. Frame of orientation
Understanding the world and our place in it.
6. Excitation and Stimulation
Actively striving for a goal rather than simply responding.
Citations: 1- http://psychemdb.blogspot.com/2012/01/erich-fromms-psychoanalytic-theory.html
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