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The Sane Society

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Social psychologist Erich Fromm’s seminal exploration of the profound ills of modern society and how best to overcome themOne of Fromm’s main interests was to analyze social systems and their impact on the mental health of the individual In this study he reaches fur. A Brilliant work a brilliant treasure from a brilliant mind I prefer not to write a review Just read it

Download ë PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ¾ Erich Fromm

Cusses historical and contemporary alternatives particularly communitarian systems Finally he presents new ideas for a re organization of economics politics and culture that would support the individual’s mental health and our profound human needs for love and freedom. greediness ambition and so forth are forms of insanity although usually one does not think of them as 'illness' Benedictus Baruch de SpinozaErich Fromm was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1900 into a cultivated and religious milieu As an adolescent he was particularly attracted to the Messianic visions of universal peace and harmony in Jewish thought and later belonged to the same circle as the existential theologian Martin Buber After an extensive study of psychology and sociology at the universities of Heidelberg Frankfurt and Munich he obtained psychoanalytic training at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute Although unlike most analysts he had no medical training Fromm began a clinical practice in 1926 which he was to continue for the rest of his lifeThe Sane Society 1955 is a continuation of author's previous works and I assume reasons of feeling so reluctant to rate it high now is perhaps I'm missing the other two For readers who follows I think reading Mr Fromm's previous works first is the best to do I'll for sure be back to write detailed review as I was contemporary with former Yugoslavian state that he claims as example form any future modern society could be considering as human much livable than modern capitalism has to offerFor now I'd and I must to express my appreciation and astonishment about the author's massive staggering knowledge in field of human psychology However in same time I must admit I feel profound inconsistencies when it comes to fit psychology into the social aspect of matter When he describes the system that has potential to save us from further alienation it is as he discards all the facts he knows about human nature and suddenly appears to me as an utopistic dreamer Still I like dreamers just who serve the benefits of humanity and there is nothing to bother about except one fact The Sane Society is dated 1955 and now is 2015 and I'm reading it I'm scientific book reader and honestly I don't read outdated books and not just me this masterpiece is still and appears to be actual today and perhaps in future as well The fact this book is not forgotten and it is still actual read that is something we should be worried about Himig Ng Sinag: MGA Piling Tula usually one does not think of them as 'illness' Benedictus Baruch de SpinozaErich Fromm was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1900 into a cultivated and religious milieu As an adolescent he was particularly attracted to the Messianic visions of The Test universal peace and harmony in Jewish thought and later belonged to the same circle as the existential theologian Martin Buber After an extensive study of psychology and sociology at the The Test: Taken By The Men Who Raised Me universities of Heidelberg Frankfurt and Munich he obtained psychoanalytic training at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute Although Teacher Evaluation in Music: A Guide for Music Teachers in the Us unlike most analysts he had no medical training Fromm began a clinical practice in 1926 which he was to continue for the rest of his lifeThe Sane Society 1955 is a continuation of author's previous works and I assume reasons of feeling so reluctant to rate it high now is perhaps I'm missing the other two For readers who follows I think reading Mr Fromm's previous works first is the best to do I'll for sure be back to write detailed review as I was contemporary with former Yugoslavian state that he claims as example form any future modern society could be considering as human much livable than modern capitalism has to offerFor now I'd and I must to express my appreciation and astonishment about the author's massive staggering knowledge in field of human psychology However in same time I must admit I feel profound inconsistencies when it comes to fit psychology into the social aspect of matter When he describes the system that has potential to save Reticence us from further alienation it is as he discards all the facts he knows about human nature and suddenly appears to me as an Peloponnesian War utopistic dreamer Still I like dreamers just who serve the benefits of humanity and there is nothing to bother about except one fact The Sane Society is dated 1955 and now is 2015 and I'm reading it I'm scientific book reader and honestly I don't read outdated books and not just me this masterpiece is still and appears to be actual today and perhaps in future as well The fact this book is not forgotten and it is still actual read that is something we should be worried about

Erich Fromm ¾ 6 Download

Ther and asks “ Can a society be sick” He finds that it can arguing that Western culture is immersed in a “pathology of normalcy” that affects the mental health of individuals In The Sane Society Fromm examines the alienating effects of modern capitalism and dis. It's been 25 years since I first read this book and 45 years since it was first published It's interesting to reflect on why this book resonated so profoundly when I was a teenager I must have already shared many of its views but I remember having a revelatory feeling as I read it as if truly learning something about human nature and the world we live in I suppose that's an ancient paradox about education we can't learn something that is utterly foreign to us yet by definition learning means incorporating something new As a teenager I did thoroughly incorporate Fromm's critiue and it changed my life something I don't say lightly It led me to specific sorts of political activism bioregionalism it was called then; localism is the current perhaps diluted incarnation and it actually prevented me from becoming enthralled with postmodernism throughout college at that time postmodernism was almost mandatory for intellectuals; I'll never forget one of my philosophy teachers suinting at me appraisingly then saying I get it you're a humanist as if having discovered a uaint relic of a bygone era in his very office It solidified my respect for psychoanalytic thought and it led me to connect with a spiritual tradition that has in turn shaped my life for the past 12 years So my first encounter with this book was not a trifling moment in my life and it was high time I looked at it again It's interesting to reflect too on the fact that even when this book was published its ideas were familiar had been examined and dramatized by writers and artists already for a century as Fromm himself points out There was something about the 50s though that produced a lot of such literature The sense of threat the fear of dehumanization must have been felt acutely in that era They hadn't become bored by it; they hadn't become ironic about it; perhaps they felt it was possible to reverse the forces behind it It was still an outrage still something that could inspire a truly political act With this most recent reading I did uestion whether conformity was then and is now really the specter capitalism's functional dictator that Fromm believed it to be When I think about people I've known personally none seems so driven by the need to conform that they've actually lost their uniueness It's only when we abstract that people appear to be conforming and that's just a function of statistical thinking Alienation on the other hand can only have increased but that seems a matter of the scale of our society and its heightened selling and technological sophistication not a matter of the particular economic system we have which isn't purely capitalist anyway The best chapters in this book remain the early ones the ones where Fromm lays out his beliefs about human nature and asks what kinds of social structures best support the development of our best selves Postmodernism might not have uite the same power as it did in the 90s but Fromm's belief that there is such thing as human nature with specific attributes and needs and that some cultures do a better job of nurturing its development will still be challenging for many to acceptI had to admit this time around that his actual arguments were not very strong There is little by way of empirical evidence or deductive reasoning and much by way of simply uoting other thinkers to support his views So again I wonder how I was so taken by these ideas upon first encountering them as a teenager It seems that they synthesize and give orderly representation to what one might simply feel when witnessing certain events around one or when absorbing certain powerful pieces of art So one will only be excited by this book I think if one comes to it already having felt the yearning for a society that is in dialogue with one's soul so to speak rather than just one's pocketbook And really who hasn't felt that yearning A Season of Ten Thousand Noses utterly foreign to Silent Thunder us yet by definition learning means incorporating something new As a teenager I did thoroughly incorporate Fromm's critiue and it changed my life something I don't say lightly It led me to specific sorts of political activism bioregionalism it was called then; localism is the current perhaps diluted incarnation and it actually prevented me from becoming enthralled with postmodernism throughout college at that time postmodernism was almost mandatory for intellectuals; I'll never forget one of my philosophy teachers suinting at me appraisingly then saying I get it you're a humanist as if having discovered a Si Dindo Pundido uaint relic of a bygone era in his very office It solidified my respect for psychoanalytic thought and it led me to connect with a spiritual tradition that has in turn shaped my life for the past 12 years So my first encounter with this book was not a trifling moment in my life and it was high time I looked at it again It's interesting to reflect too on the fact that even when this book was published its ideas were familiar had been examined and dramatized by writers and artists already for a century as Fromm himself points out There was something about the 50s though that produced a lot of such literature The sense of threat the fear of dehumanization must have been felt acutely in that era They hadn't become bored by it; they hadn't become ironic about it; perhaps they felt it was possible to reverse the forces behind it It was still an outrage still something that could inspire a truly political act With this most recent reading I did Si Dindo Pundido uestion whether conformity was then and is now really the specter capitalism's functional dictator that Fromm believed it to be When I think about people I've known personally none seems so driven by the need to conform that they've actually lost their Wizards Tale III uniueness It's only when we abstract that people appear to be conforming and that's just a function of statistical thinking Alienation on the other hand can only have increased but that seems a matter of the scale of our society and its heightened selling and technological sophistication not a matter of the particular economic system we have which isn't purely capitalist anyway The best chapters in this book remain the early ones the ones where Fromm lays out his beliefs about human nature and asks what kinds of social structures best support the development of our best selves Postmodernism might not have Wizard's Tale III: A Spell To Eternity uite the same power as it did in the 90s but Fromm's belief that there is such thing as human nature with specific attributes and needs and that some cultures do a better job of nurturing its development will still be challenging for many to acceptI had to admit this time around that his actual arguments were not very strong There is little by way of empirical evidence or deductive reasoning and much by way of simply The Friend uoting other thinkers to support his views So again I wonder how I was so taken by these ideas The Hate U Give upon first encountering them as a teenager It seems that they synthesize and give orderly representation to what one might simply feel when witnessing certain events around one or when absorbing certain powerful pieces of art So one will only be excited by this book I think if one comes to it already having felt the yearning for a society that is in dialogue with one's soul so to speak rather than just one's pocketbook And really who hasn't felt that yearning


10 thoughts on “The Sane Society

  1. says:

    This book has been a psychological survival manual for me I will always be indebted to Fromm for providing me with a way to hold on to hope in the spiritual progress of the human experiment in what is often a spiritually barren world After all without that hope life doesn't really amount to much despite all the rewards recognition and shiny trinkets one might hoard to shore up against facing one's emptiness He's given me better arguments than I could have forged on my own against falling into spiritual despair in the face of a world that often seems inhuman I guess I just didn't have the kind of insane courage to hope against all hope that is reuired in order to look for those arguments You need that kind of courage and people possessing it in order to defend the claims of the human spirit in a civilization built upon making these seem irrelevant even ridiculous Perhaps the heart of Fromm's vision in this book can be summed up thus “The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed we should be fully born when we die although it is the tragic fate of most individuals to die before they are born” This work is ultimately about the core tension that patterns the developmental struggle most of us likely experience and namely the tension between the reuirements of our full unfolding on the one hand and the reuirements ill fitting and culturally reproduced identity construals place on us on the other The uestion as we experience it within current cultural limitations is not nor can ever be one of finding ways to full psychological realization ie being fully born but one of minimizing the psychological mutilation we suffer in trying to adapt to barely adaptive cultural constructs It is in Fromm's words a uestion of ways to postpone death before birth At critical junctures in my life when I was tempted to just cave in to make the life struggle a little easier to bear by amputating inconvenient parts of myself in order to smoothly fall into line with the reuirements of the world I could actually fall back on his arguments and find thereby again and again a renewal of the will to persist in the struggle to protect the claims of my better self For it is invariably the claims of this better self with its incessant nagging somewhere at the back of our minds clamouring as it does for space to stretch and grow that we're often persuaded reuire junking for easy peace of mind Why is it always that the situation is so rigged that in order to succeed we must set the most vital parts of ourselves ablaze on the pyre of society?The two idols that most compel the sacrifice are Success and our need for Belonging The former persuades us that if we are to succeed in the world we must take the axe and ruthlessly chop off everything that doesn't fit into the pre established slot that we're aiming to fill With our Selves that is And if we manage to muster the endurance to sustain the suffering and privation that inevitably beset any who try and sidestep this idol the pressing claims of our own spirit to find belonging and fulfillment in a community of others in the end get us The wisdom here is that should we stubbornly persist in clinging to this higher self's claims we will pay the price in isolation This is a hard price to pay for any human beingNow the admittedly risky alternative of looking into recovering the deeper meaning of Success and Community Belonging is not usually recognized Fromm acts as the Socratic gadfly by urging us to undertake just such a recovery and rethinking of the fundamental values of human life When something inside you is nagging at you that something vital is “missing” in life he urges you not to despair if you find no outer echo for that longing in the convenience store world that you see around you We've surely all been in this dark pit at some point in our developmental struggle and we fall there precisely in our most mundane workaday moments while faced with the neon candy bar glare of store windows It is hard to believe in the face of this gross matter of factness that we have a higher self that we should be true to There just seems to be no room for that in this world And the conversations with people are perhaps the most sadly alienating of all Any notion of a higher life making claims on us seems nothing than a wispy fantasy The world that you see takes you so far from your most vibrantly revelatory instincts into reality The discovery that the values that represent the highest human reality are not necessarily the values that you see reflected around you in your current socio cultural environment is deeply disorienting It's a Twilight Zone sort of feeling I feel tremendous sympathy for kids who have yet to experience the shock the strange sense of vertigo that this grim discovery brings Fromm's work is at its most empowering when it asks us to side with that tenuous intuition that there is to life than this He reminds us in so many ways that a community that reuires that you junk your developmental reuirements and places spiritual amputation as a prereuisite for participation is not worth aspiring to enter The meaningful participation you yearn for is unattainable anyhow to spiritual amputees Your real Community is the community of individuals who share with you an understanding of the values that accurately reflect and sustain human unfolding And your real Success is your capacity to sustain the courage and the hope to stand by the claims of your own better self and to as best as you can try to live by them in however circumscribed a sphere you happen to have your being in Without a sustained link to our higher self there can be no authentic success belonging not to mention love or sense of meaning In this Fromm recalls Kierkegaard subversive insight into the real meaning of success “The greatest hazard of all losing one's self can occur very uietly in the world as if it were nothing at all No other loss can occur so uietly; any other loss – an arm a leg five dollars a wife etc is sure to be noticed” This alone can occasion a possibly life changing perspective shiftThat a view is widespread or held in high regard in a culture is no proof of its substantiveness In his most audacious move yet Fromm shows how the conditions of social life in a given locale may well include ignorance vice and collective pathology“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane” So much for orienting ourselves by culturally coded measures of the real So we're tasked to go back to the beginnings of things as unburdened by the clutter of so much cultural dead weight as we can make ourselves and rethink the fundamental meanings on which we build our lives Fromm's work whatever its failures does help us take a step in that direction And it is liberating work Rethinking as a culture the meaning of Love Community Reason Success Wisdom is liberating work And in it lies he argues psychology's proper task and greatest gift to human culture Fromm persuades us that the proper subject and goal of psychology must be protecting man's higher nature against the distortive identity constructs our societies would have us cram our selves into “It is the task of the science of man to arrive eventually at a correct description of what deserves to be called human nature What has often been called human nature is but one of its many manifestations and often a pathological one and the function of such mistaken definition usually has been to defend a particular type of society as being the necessary one” The great cultural tragedy of our day is that whatever of human rightful unfolding we can salvage it is inevitably circumscribed to the private perhaps even the merely subjective domains A humane education of the spirit such as his work encourages can go a long way to securing inner freedom and perhaps some modicum of authentic freedom and meaningful participation within the social micro unit of the family though the latter too is being junked on the altar of our two chosen gods Economy and Technology But it alone cannot provide us with the ultimate fulfillment that only meaningful work towards a common good can provide How this primal sense of polity and community is to be restored is one of the big uestions of our time Without it Fromm well recognizes there can be no full individual unfolding either It is meaningful participation within a working humane society alone that can provide adeuate matrix for the unfolding of relational beings such as we are It is ultimately a societal and infrastructural as opposed to a merely cultural and educational problem This is where Fromm's psycho centric cultural analysis inevitably falls shortAn analysis of our defunct memes is not an adeuate substitute for the fundamental structural analysis of the institutions to which whatever memes we may develop must inevitably adapt Consciously restructuring the institutions of society so that they come to work for human growth rather than against it is the task That such an endeavour seems utopian from our vantage point in itself speaks volumes about where we're at One can but dream of a life in which work is truly rewarding us by helping us realize our potential in which we can bring to participation in society all we have and in which the fate of most of us is not premature psychological death come entry into a highly specialized work force that provides greater fragmentation and furthers alienation Why should growth end with the mid 20s?Ultimately his work does provide a hope however circumscribed that the higher life of growth is not some naive pipedream of innocent schoolchildren not yet awakened to the reality of things It should be mandatory reading for young adults who are soon facing entry into the great societal meat machine It will serve them well as an encouragement to trust in their instinct to try and hold on to their own lights no matter how all negating the world they face is And for older readers it can be a potent reminder of in Eliot's words the Life they may have felt compelled to give up in living In any case it's best to be clear on this one matter supporting something other than spiritual growth is supporting death and thereby rendering all our actions and pursuits even if we should succeed in attaining them utterly meaningless Having some perspective about real priorities instead of just going with the flow thinking one might just somehow slide past the nauseating feeling of emptiness can perhaps enable constructive action before of life slips past ever people irretrievably If you take from this work only one thing take this Authentic success is to be found in our ongoing pursuit of realization and our true identity is to be sought in an ever deepening understanding of that most fundamental relationship which grounds our being and transcends all our partial relations enveloping us in the most primal and encompassing community there is the community of Being And here's the most inspiring light that we can hold up to the fear that besets such venturing from false security“Each new step into his new human existence is frightening It always means to give up a secure state which was relatively known for one which is new which one has not yet mastered Undoubtedly if the infant could think at the moment of the severance of the umbilical cord he would experience the fear of dying A loving fate protects us from this first panic But at any new step at any new stage of our birth we are afraid again We are never free from two conflicting tendencies one to emerge from the womb from the animal form of existence into a human existence from bondage to freedom; another to return to the womb to nature to certainty and security”


  2. says:

    A Brilliant work a brilliant treasure from a brilliant mind I prefer not to write a review Just read it


  3. says:

    One of the most important books ever written BY FAR by one of the top psychiatristssocial commentators of the 20th Century I read it as part of my reading list for my graduate exams at UCSB That was a while ago but the main issue sticks prominently in one's head Can a person truly be sane healthy in body mind and soul in a society which is insane? In other words most criteria for judging a person mentally healthy or not are based upon the individual's effective adaptation or not to society's ethics and values In most cases that suffices But what if the society is Nazi Germany? In an insane society are not those who FAIL to adapt the healthiest among us? And is any society perfectly sane healthy? What about the United States with its horrific levels of violence and tens of millions of poor its CIA that undermines oeaceful democratically elected governments around the world? In such a society what does it mean to go along with the program? Is that homeless guy throwing his bedroll under the freeway overpass or that eccentric bag lady with all her belongings in a shopping cart are these the healthiest the most sane of us all? Stir It Up The CIA Targets Jamaica Bob Marley and the Progressive Manley Government


  4. says:

    Superb book which hides under its sober language an anguished cry of outrage at the incredible violence done to our psyches under capitalism The author who was a disciple of Freud and a practising psychologist delineates what he considers to be a 'sane society' that is to say a healthy society from a psychoanalytic perspective how our society is missing this ideal by a long long way ; and finally what can be done to reverse this trend and bring about a state of affairs where such incredible violence no longer passes under the guise of 'normalcy'Of course the book is slightly utopian and I am sure that the author intended it as such if simply to draw attention to the contrast between what is desirable and what is actually occurring ; and as a writer once said 'Utopia may not exist ; but I would not be happy to live in a world where it wasn't at least marked on a map'


  5. says:

    In the Sane Society Fromm reiterates and expands upon his earlier works1 Escape From Freedom; a critical synthesis of Marx and Freud and a treatise on what Fromm calls social psychology but what would in my opinion be accurately called socialist psychoanalysis2 Man for Himself; a treatise on modern humanistic existential ethics in which Fromm braids insights from Nietzsche and other existentialists into his psycho social theory of ‘how to live’ In the Sane Society Fromm continues his critiue of Freud for his myopic focus on individual neurosis and lack of understanding of how social milieu and economic and political systems effect and even shape the individual’s sense of self feelings of well being creative potential values and relationshipsIn a nutshell Fromm is reiterating the idea that what Freud called neurosis may in fact be a healthy response to a ‘sick’ system Fromm continues his critiue of Marx for being tone deaf to the actual rather than idealized needs and motivations of human beings Fromm acknowledges that individualism is one of modernity’s great achievements and competition and striving for innovation are innate human psychological needs Essentially Fromm is claiming that forcing people into an artificially collectivistic ideology that does not fully satisfy their natural individualistic drives is the psycho social euivalent of foot binding Fromm continues his critiue of capitalism claiming that it objectifies and dehumanizes us by promoting the willful commodification of ourselves and others basically reducing us to wage slaves that toil endlessly out of materialistic vanity andor in avoidance of the pure terror of being homeless or broke and alone in old age But he’s not any less critical of Soviet style communism claiming that psychologically speaking it’s essentially the same thing as corperate capitalism with the only difference being that huge oppressive bureaucracy and police surveillance force consent in the USSR where as money driven Madison Avenue manufactures consent in America via social pressure and manipulative psychological persuasion Fromm could be talking about 2020 in his descriptions of the psychology of media and information driven workFromm keenly observes that concentrated activity is invigorating and multitasking or non concentrated activity is drainingFromm observes that mindless daydreaming is not invigorating but is in fact it’s a signature of lacking connection with life and the here and now He continues by observing that modern informational life splits our attentions and drives us to distraction and dissociation Fromm seems to predict what life is like in 2020 and why mindfulness is such an important and prominent contemporary interest Fromm discusses life satisfaction from a psychodynamic perspective Fromm observes that it is common to feel satisfied on the conscious level and unconsciously repress feelings of dissatisfaction particularly in our culture where being dissatisfied with life is highly stigmatized and elicits judgments of failure and feelings of shameAs if you’re doing something wrong for feeling like life could be than meaningless work and endless consumption of goods and pleasantriesThis could not be apparent in the age of social media Getting right down to the point here For Fromm the Sane Society is one in which psychological well being sanity is the focus Not ideology not money not guns guts and god not looking good not being cool But simply sanity and wellness in mind body relationship and yes even spirit although he’s not talking about anything supernatural or magical when he makes allusions to the import of spiritual and religious life Basically Fromm is promoting a fair Marx natural Darwin intrinsically motivated Nietzsche psychologically healthy Freud and awake Buddha way of beingFromm argues that Soviet era Communism and late century American democracy were similar than distinct in so far as both cultures promoted a kind of oppressive denatured robotic conformity in its citizens Fromm proposes a type of decentralized locally distributed psychologically informed modern European style humanitarian socialism as a third way where by people are guaranteed a basic subsistence education healthcare etc so that everyone can spend time focused on personal exploration growth connection and innovation


  6. says:

    It's been 25 years since I first read this book and 45 years since it was first published It's interesting to reflect on why this book resonated so profoundly when I was a teenager I must have already shared many of its views but I remember having a revelatory feeling as I read it as if truly learning something about human nature and the world we live in I suppose that's an ancient paradox about education we can't learn something that is utterly foreign to us yet by definition learning means incorporating something new As a teenager I did thoroughly incorporate Fromm's critiue and it changed my life something I don't say lightly It led me to specific sorts of political activism bioregionalism it was called then; localism is the current perhaps diluted incarnation and it actually prevented me from becoming enthralled with postmodernism throughout college at that time postmodernism was almost mandatory for intellectuals; I'll never forget one of my philosophy teachers suinting at me appraisingly then saying I get it you're a humanist as if having discovered a uaint relic of a bygone era in his very office It solidified my respect for psychoanalytic thought and it led me to connect with a spiritual tradition that has in turn shaped my life for the past 12 years So my first encounter with this book was not a trifling moment in my life and it was high time I looked at it again It's interesting to reflect too on the fact that even when this book was published its ideas were familiar had been examined and dramatized by writers and artists already for a century as Fromm himself points out There was something about the 50s though that produced a lot of such literature The sense of threat the fear of dehumanization must have been felt acutely in that era They hadn't become bored by it; they hadn't become ironic about it; perhaps they felt it was possible to reverse the forces behind it It was still an outrage still something that could inspire a truly political act With this most recent reading I did uestion whether conformity was then and is now really the specter capitalism's functional dictator that Fromm believed it to be When I think about people I've known personally none seems so driven by the need to conform that they've actually lost their uniueness It's only when we abstract that people appear to be conforming and that's just a function of statistical thinking Alienation on the other hand can only have increased but that seems a matter of the scale of our society and its heightened selling and technological sophistication not a matter of the particular economic system we have which isn't purely capitalist anyway The best chapters in this book remain the early ones the ones where Fromm lays out his beliefs about human nature and asks what kinds of social structures best support the development of our best selves Postmodernism might not have uite the same power as it did in the 90s but Fromm's belief that there is such thing as human nature with specific attributes and needs and that some cultures do a better job of nurturing its development will still be challenging for many to acceptI had to admit this time around that his actual arguments were not very strong There is little by way of empirical evidence or deductive reasoning and much by way of simply uoting other thinkers to support his views So again I wonder how I was so taken by these ideas upon first ? encountering them as a teenager It seems that they synthesize and give orderly representation to what one might simply feel when witnessing certain events around one or when absorbing certain powerful pieces of art So one will only be excited by this book I think if one comes to it already having felt the yearning for a society that is in dialogue with one's soul so to speak rather than just one's pocketbook And really who hasn't felt that yearning?


  7. says:

    Erich Fromm a rational humanist successor of Freud is historically a victim of his own temperance He's not got much of a name in the psychology game any and through the screen of 2016 his diagnoses can come off as incredibly pedestrian and obvious and his solutions as the stuff pipe dreams are made of With his previous work Escape from Freedom I chose to judge it based off how I thought someone in the 1940s when it was published might view it as opposed to how I actually felt In EFF I agreed with the thesis and found his historical analysis illuminating yet I was left with a 'so what?' feeling due to his argument sounding almost cliche by today's standards and due to the impracticality and halfheartedness of his answers admittedly I read Fromm for his diagnoses than his answers as I find 'solutions' to issues so complicated as imposing and ineffective So this gives rise to the uestion 'how do you judge a work that feels like it has or less been completely embedded in the collective consciousness of the modern man and thus comes across as negligible?' The most clear answer to me is to judge how well the argument is argued Hence the three stars maybe even a bit lessThe book's basic thesis is that capitalist America is a sick society and not a society with an abundance of sick maladjusted 'insane' citizens Capitalism Fromm notes is a fundamentally exploitative relationship between individuals which results in the oppressor's indifference to the oppressed and either a growing hatred or irrational admiration of the oppressed for their oppressors He tracks the history of capitalism over the past few centuries and highlights the shift from the blatant and brutal crueltynegligence towards the individual in slavery era America and early Jungle esue 20th century where people got digits and limbs accidentally hacked off in factories to the rise of complete reliance on conformity and consensus belieffear of alienation as the motivator of the individual While working conditions pay and benefits gave unprecedented power to the average Joe Joe finds himself as not really that satisfied and maybe even a little blue despite his new car and dishwasher and color TV Joe feels small maybe like he only wants things because other people have got 'em and maybe we're all just doing what we're told to but not told to do That our economic machine depends on a system of mass production and mass consumption and with the help of our wonderful credit system we can spend just as much as we want and not have to think about whether being in debt might be a bad thing Joe suspects it might be Bus to train to 9 5 at a job pushing papers getting paid a heck of a lot than the fellow exerting 100x energy thanks to his diploma which his parents forced him to get The opiates of Marilyn Monroe and DiMaggio and I Love Lucy not really doing the trick any Joe wonders to himself if he might be abnormal for feeling unfulfilled but he says nothing because no one else is talking about it Fromm argues that Joe feels this way because the capitalist system fails to nurture the mental health of the individual which he defines as follows Mental health in the humanist sense is characterized by the ability to love and to create by the emergence from the incestuous ties to family and nature by a sense of identity based on one's powers by the development of objectivity and reason Thus the blame rests on the society not the individualWe can't love our fellow man because we feel we're in competition with him We can't create because we're cogs We can't develop a sense of identity via our own power because the individual in a conformist society is naturally powerless We can't develop objectivity and reason because we're so self concerned Basically Fromm thinks the individual is screwed on an emotional level unless he lives in a Socialist society which he controversially in the 50s HUAC climate believed to be the best politicaleconomic institution in regards to the individual's sanity This is where the book takes a hard left Since the effectiveness of large scale CommunismSocialism has been pretty much debunked at this point and proven just as corruptible and easily misguided as just about any other institution the entire second half of The Sane Society comes off as pointless Unlike Escape from Freedom which relegated its 'solutions' to the last like three pages Fromm spends about the last 200 of this work giving us unfeasible and very tedious answers So to me about half of this book is relevant but even the relevant half doesn't uite match the concision and insight of EFF and his historical examples aren't as interesting for the most part Still sections like the 'Human Situation Key to Humanistic Psychoanalysis' I found fascinating as he breaks down the essence of what it means to be a human half animal half God hopelessly stuck in the middle with clarity and wit While The Sane Society is very much a product of our times and is concerned with spiritual crises of the individual under capitalism it is dated in ways that would turn most off to its bloated worship of the ideal and well meaning but ultimately just as flawed as everything else Socialist movement I think perhaps Fromm gives too much credit to the human race who have a tendency to spoil the party for everyone


  8. says:

    greediness ambition and so forth are forms of insanity although usually one does not think of them as 'illness' Benedictus Baruch de SpinozaErich Fromm was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1900 into a cultivated and religious milieu As an adolescent he was particularly attracted to the Messianic visions of universal peace and harmony in Jewish thought and later belonged to the same circle as the existential theologian Martin Buber After an extensive study of psychology and sociology at the universities of Heidelberg Frankfurt and Munich he obtained psychoanalytic training at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute Although unlike most analysts he had no medical training Fromm began a clinical practice in 1926 which he was to continue for the rest of his lifeThe Sane Society 1955 is a continuation of author's previous works and I assume reasons of feeling so reluctant to rate it high now is perhaps I'm missing the other two For readers who follows I think reading Mr Fromm's previous works first is the best to do I'll for sure be back to write detailed review as I was contemporary with former Yugoslavian state that he claims as example form any future modern society could be considering as human much livable than modern capitalism has to offerFor now I'd and I must to express my appreciation and astonishment about the author's massive staggering knowledge in field of human psychology However in same time I must admit I feel profound inconsistencies when it comes to fit psychology into the social aspect of matter When he describes the system that has potential to save us from further alienation it is as he discards all the facts he knows about human nature and suddenly appears to me as an utopistic dreamer Still I like dreamers just who serve the benefits of humanity and there is nothing to bother about except one fact The Sane Society is dated 1955 and now is 2015 and I'm reading it I'm scientific book reader and honestly I don't read outdated books and not just me this masterpiece is still and appears to be actual today and perhaps in future as well The fact this book is not forgotten and it is still actual read that is something we should be worried about


  9. says:

    How can a book like this exist since 1955? I've been hearing all these arguments my entire life who knew they started even earlier then that well technically they started around MarxFromm's central premise is that an entire society can have lost its sanity and as an example for that kind of insane society he uses 1950s capitalism with a few side excursions into Soviet style Communism I wonder what he would think of neoliberalism probably the same things but even disgust In capitalism you are alienated from everything You are alienated from political decision making you can vote but that has very little influence on what is happening on the state level Why should you keep informed then? Why would you vote in the first place?Similar for labor he often echos and uotes Marx while expanding greatly on what Marx said by not focusing on capital alone but also on the world of the worker's psychology and society The majority of workers is alienated from work since they have no input on what's being done or made they have no influence on company decisions they have Marx only access to a tiny portion of the productThe use of man by man is expressive of the system of values underlying the capitalistic system Capital the dead past employs labor— the living vitality and power of the present In the capitalistic hierarchy of values capital stands higher than labor amassed things higher than the manifestations of life Capital employs labor and not labor capital The person who owns capital commands the person who “only” owns his life human skill vitality and creative productivity “Things” are higher than man The conflict between capital and labor is much than the conflict between two classes than their fight for a greater share of the social product It is the conflict between two principles of value that between the world of things and their amassment and the world of life and its productivityAlienation has also crept into interpersonal relationships People are not interested in each other as people but as commodities You don't work on yourself to improve yourself but to increase your employability I'm reminded on the main arguments against taking up asylum seekers the usual argument in Australia is that they cost tax money completely ignoring that these people are humansHis sense of value depends on his success on whether he can sell himself favorably whether he can make of himself than he started out with whether he is a success His body his mind and his soul are his capital and his task in life is to invest it favorably to make a profit of himself Human ualities like friendliness courtesy kindness are transformed into commodities into assets of the “personality package” conducive to a higher price on the personality marketWhere to go from here? I've read many of those criticisms before but then again the majority I read were from the 80s not from 30 years before that how to transform into a sane society? Tony Judt recently wrote a book called Ill Fares the Land with many similar criticisms and concludes that a return to full social democracy think Europe would fix most things To Fromm that is not enough we need to change things in several spheres in the social sphere in the sphere of work in the sphere of democracy all at once patching things up in one corner won't help man It doesn't matter whether a factory is run by The People or by a capitalist if the workers are still alienated from the laborWhat I loved specifically is that Fromm never tries to go 'back' to some imagined state like so many other critics of capitalisms are proposing examples Ishmael An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit The One Straw Revolution or whatever Pentti Linkola is on about These imagined returns are to me the ultimate in laziness if we all just go back to 'that one past state I imagined and was not a part of' usually a pre industrial society then all of the problems will fix themselves To me that often implies that a lot of people will starve To him Communism is also not a solution to him that's just robotism with the same levels of alienation Since Fromm is all about alienation he wants to involve people in all kinds of spheres he calls this system Humanistic Communitarian Socialism In this system the state is reasonably strong but many local groups of citizens come together for discussions and their discussions and suggestions are sent to the next level which in turn sends it up to the next level etc and the state's actions are based on all of those small committees this is actually reasonably now with the Internet the Pirate Party has experimented with basic democracy like that The same goes for work industrialism is retained but decision making is not Many small discussion groups get together and their discussions and suggestions are collated into the company's strategy It is the state's task to not only educate the children but keep a lifelong interest in the education and growth of its citizens Art needs to be revived and put back into the hands of everyday people What's also interesting is that he proposes a 'universal subsistence guarantee' a variant of the currently highly discussed universal basic income his variant is closer to regular unemployment money as it expires after a few years so people don't just sit around and do nothing To him and I highly agree such a guarantee is the first step towards human self development You cannot work on your self and take risks if your income has you stuck in a specific situation If the state guarantees a certain income you can risk you can switch life directions you can switch jobs you can go back to educate yourselfAnyway I could write but this is highly highly recommendedHere are some uotesOn modern politics perhaps remember again this is from 1955They use television to build up political personalities as they use it to build up a soap; what matters is the effect in sales or votes not the rationality or usefulness of what is presented This phenomenon found a remarkably frank expression in recent statements about the future of the Republican Party They are to the effect that since one cannot hope the majority of voters will vote for the Republican Party one must find a personality who wants to represent the Party—then he will get the votes In principle this is not different from the endorsement of a cigarette by a famous sportsman or movie actorOn current discussion practices think modern liberals applicable towards the current discussion on whether you should discuss with the new Nazis in the first place What matters is to transform value judgment into matters of opinion whether it is listening to “The Magic Flute” as against diaper talk or whether it is being a Republican as against being a Democrat All that matters is that nothing is too serious that one exchanges views and that one is ready to accept any opinion or conviction if there is such a thing as being as good as the other On the market of opinions everybody is supposed to have a commodity of the same value and it is indecent and not fair to doubt itCan you rebel against this society?Authority in the middle of the twentieth century has changed its character; it is not overt authority but anonymous invisible alienated authority Nobody makes a demand neither a person nor an idea nor a moral law Yet we all conform as much or than people in an intensely authoritarian society would Indeed nobody is an authority except “It” What is It? Profit economic necessities the market common sense public opinion what “one” does thinks feels The laws of anonymous authority are as invisible as the laws of the market—and just as unassailable Who can attack the invisible? Who can rebel against Nobody? Free man is by necessity insecure; thinking man by necessity uncertain The majority of us believe in God take it for granted that God exists The rest who do not believe take it for granted that God does not exist Either way God is taken for granted Neither belief nor disbelief cause any sleepless nights nor any serious concern And to summariseThe aim of life is to live it intensely to be fully born to be fully awake To emerge from the ideas of infantile grandiosity into the conviction of one’s real though limited strength; to be able to accept the paradox that every one of us is the most important thing there is in the universe—and at the same time not important than a fly or a blade of grass To be able to love life and yet to accept death without terror; to tolerate uncertainty about the most important uestions with which life confronts us—and yet to have faith in our thought and feeling inasmuch as they are truly ours To be able to be alone and at the same time one with a loved person with every brother on this earth with all that is alive; to follow the voice of our conscience the voice that calls us to ourselves yet not to indulge in self hate when the voice of conscience was not loud enough to be heard and followed The mentally healthy person is the person who lives by love reason and faith who respects life his own and that of his fellow manI highly recommend to read The Art of Loving first even though it came out a year later In it Fromm develops his concept of love in much detail the few mentions of 'love' in The Sane Society could get confusing without knowing about Fromm's wider concept of lovePS There's a fun thing happening in Fromm's use of English since he seems to have written this first in English then translated to German Fromm often uses English's duplicity for the word 'man' as it can mean 'male human' and 'human in general on a higher scale' in English In his original German no such duplicity exists one is Mann the other is Menschheit It's interesting that he incorporated this English peculiarity in his writing


  10. says:

    For the most part I loved Fromm's analysis of contemporary industrialized Western society I did though see his views on homosexuality and international relations as troubling; I found his critiue of Sigmund Freud affirming and highly relevant As I've found though with many who take a critical view of the current state of affairs Fromm here seems far less imaginative in his prescriptions and suggestions for how to move society beyond the alienation repression boredom anomie and suicide he sees it as entailing He spends a good third of his book writing on 'man in capitalistic society' attempting to show how the socio economic structure of such results in the insanity he sees as so prevalent yet taking after RH Tawney and other moderate social democrats he seems to advocate a society in which workers have a greater place in decision making processes at best he seems to prescribe even if in my view it doesn't follow from his premises capitalism without the capitalists to allude to one of Murray Bookchin's concerns with moderate socialist movements In this sense Fromm seems to suffer from the decided lack of imagination on the part of many 'leftists' of his day it's hardly different now to focus on achieving 'concrete' possibilities; the result a vision of increased comfort within alienation to paraphrase Raoul Vaneigem instead of a call for the doing away with such alienation which I would say could follow from his analysis before he takes a different path in the last third of the book is then hardly surprising The rejection of the contemplation of utopian possibilities here is however no less depressing for that


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